Spiritual and occupational wellbeing during and after COVID lockdowns: find out how in a few easy ways

Feeling slightly disconnected? Feeling that your occupation and or your spiritual wellbeing are out of alignment?

Read further to find out a few tips to improve your occupational and spiritual wellbeing before and after COVID (and leading to Christmas).

Hello there. As many of who have been following, this year I have been exploring the various areas of our wellness and wellbeing, ranging from the emotional to the physical and everything in between. I hold a holistic view toward wellness and wellbeing, and therefore it should come as no surprise that over the past year I have explored all of the areas in our lives, as one thing will always effect the other. Understanding this is the first step in understanding how to balance the pieces in our lives without everything falling down like a Jenga tower.

Person playing using a Jenga tower

If this is your first time, here are the links to the previous posts:

Wellness during a pandemic: supporting you in 5 easy steps
Emotional wellness during Covid-19: 3 tips to staying well
Social wellbeing and COVID-19: supporting your wellness in 3 easy steps
Intellectual wellbeing and COVID-19: supporting your intellectual wellness in 2 easy steps
Environmental wellbeing and during (and after) COVID lockdowns: find out now in 3 easy ways
Physical wellbeing and during (and after) COVID lockdowns: find out now in 4 easy ways
Financial wellbeing during and after COVID lockdowns: find out how in 4 easy ways

If you would like to leave a like and or a comment it would be appreciated, as feedback is a great way for me to know what my readers are thinking, but this is completely up to you.

With that said, I guess it’s a good chance to turn our attention now to the focus of today’s blog. For those who have been following, I normally cover one aspect of wellness and wellbeing at a time, however as I am mindful that the year is drawing to a close, it would be nice to draw the chapter on this series. Don’t worry though, as Wellness by Greg will continue into 2022, just with new topics, ideas, and blogs.

Let’s have a look at occupational wellbeing then, shall we?

Picture of photographer

When we talk about occupation, it refers to the thing that you do, your job, your vocation. Occupational wellness and wellbeing is when we are able to gain personal satisfaction and enrichment from our own work or the work that we do.

For many of us, we may dream of being our own boss, but for many, the reality is that we work for someone, be it a person or a company. For many of us, where we begin to feel unfulfilled in our work and where we begin to experience a deficit in this area of our wellbeing, is when we are not paying attention to not only today but tomorrow as well.

As yourself: do I have a good work/life balance? Do I look forward to my work? Am I happy with my current growth/path?

Do you have a good work/life balance?

In your current job, do you find that you have enough time to spend with yourself and your family outside of work? For many during and after COVID lockdowns, this has proven especially difficult. COVID has caused many of us to be working from home, which has blurred the lines between work and life.

For many of us during this time, where we have started (in the living room) is where we end up at the end of the day, in the same pair of clothes, possibly working overtime. When we finish, we are still in ‘work mode’, and not having that different work environment has also made it difficult for many of us during lockdown to mentally cool off and detach between work and home, with some of the work stressors being dragged across into our home life.

Not having that balance and sense of wellbeing may cause our work and performance to begin to become affected.

How do I get this balance if I am working from home, you may ask?

Perhaps on your lunch break have a walk up and down the road.

Be disciplined and selfish with your time. Be aware that your time for work and time not to work are two different things, and run to different times. If you start at 9 in the morning and finish at 5 in the afternoon, stop at 5, close the computer, go for a walk. Force yourself to get out of the house.

While it can be so easy to go straight to the sofa and turn on the TV, forcing yourself out of the house will force your brain to focus on other things, which will help it to relax and unwind.

The other big questions posed are if you look forward to your work and whether you are happy with where you are and where you are going. Well, these questions are really for you and you alone to know and to answer. If you are not happy, what would you rather be doing? And how would you get there? Would you go back to university? If you are not happy with your growth, do you have a relationship with your employer where you are able to map a forward-focused development plan?

There are many companies these days that focus heavily on the continued professional development (CPD) of their employees. If you are currently attending job interviews and are invited to ask questions, asking about their CPD status will look good for you, as it shows you are thinking about your development and future, and they know you would be more committed over other candidates to stay and develop with them. Asking questions will also be good for you and them, as it will also give you an idea of what training opportunities may be available through the company and what a future with them may look like.

Now that we have had a look at occupational wellbeing and wellness, let’s have a look at spiritual wellbeing.

Picture of a Buddha figure from a temple in Bali

As with occupational wellbeing, achieving wellbeing and balance follows a similar path: a path of finding balance.

For those who have followed from the start of the series, you may recognize a similarity in path suggestions. With finding emotional wellness, I suggested breathing, being kind to yourself, keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings. With social wellness, I suggested reaching out and having a connection with others, be it face to face or online.

In discussing intellectual wellbeing, I discussed looking at ways to stimulate and inspire the intellectual process, such as developing a craft or reading something. I have managed to get through ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway, which is a beautifully written short story.

A man on the bow of a sailboat overlooks checking the seas and the weather.

When looking at environmental wellbeing, similarly with occupational wellbeing, I suggested to try and make a space in the home to use as office space, even if it is a corner, and to try to establish and hold that balance between work life and home life. I also suggested going for a walk, opening a window to get some fresh or lighting a scented candle, things which are readily available and fairly inexpensive.

Later while looking at physical wellbeing, I looked at things like developing a routine and trying an online exercise class. Finally before getting to where we are now, when looking at financial wellbeing, I suggested setting a budget, decluttering and rewarding yourself with a bath as opposed to buying something.

Which brings us to spiritual wellbeing and wellness.

When we think of spiritual wellbeing and wellness, we are thinking about the connection that you have to your authentic self.

According to Schmidt (2021), reaching spiritual wellness is not just about religion and faith, but about finding and understanding ones’ purpose.

As you can see, much of what helps us to meet these wellbeing aims is to make connections with the space, things and people around you. It involves connecting with who you truly are, and this means being honest with yourself and what you want out of life. If you find yourself doing things that don’t feel right and not true to you, chances are you become down and less motivated to do these things.

Gaining a deeper sense of self and purpose starts with being genuine and sincere. If you are doing something because you feel that you have to or for a secondary gain, chances are doing this thing will leave you feeling hollow afterward.

Show thanks and gratitude. Show thanks for the things that you already have. They don’t have to be big. It could be the fact that you have a warm bed to wake up in, or the fact that you have food in the fridge. Try and think of one thing a day that you are grateful for. When we are find things to grateful for in our day to day, we begin to appreciate and experience being more in the present.

Another way is to meditate and pray. Prayer is not for everyone and I respect that. Meditation is a great way to centre yourself and help yourself calm and balance. It may not be for everyone, but if you would like to try, there are several apps available and meditation classes. If you are still weary of going out pre- and post COVID, there are good online resources. A good place to start is YouTube:

YouTube video for Headspace advert

Also, if you have ten minutes, have a look at this video. It is a fantastic video to help you meditate, calm and reset.

Picture of man meditating

Meditation is a fantastic way of balancing the mind.

Reviewing and coming full circle from spiritual back to emotional, it can be suggested that many are connected.

It can therefore be suggested that having and making connections is a key part of reaching a sense of wellness and wellbeing.

The Wellness Cycle (by Greg L)

As you can see by the wellness cycle above which I have drafted, wellness is comprised of multiple facets, and each has an influence on the other, for example, with an improved emotional outlook, you are able to function better on a social and occupational level. Similarly, looking after your physical wellness will help look after your emotional and intellectual wellbeing. Being able to function better on an intellectual level and improving your environment may also help to improve your vocation (occupational) and hence finances (financial).

In an ideal world, true balance is found when all the areas of wellness are met, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

Rather, try and see if you can focus on one part of your wellness, and when you feel confident and the pieces of the puzzle are aligned, try and have a go at the other piece of the wellness cycle. It is a process and everyone will take it at their own pace.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and if you know of anyone who may benefit from / appreciate the blog, please recommend it to them as well. 

Thank you as well to those who have been following. It has been a pleasure having you, and I hope to see more of you coming into the new year. 2021 has come with unique challenges for many, much of it COVID related. COVID for many of us has changed life as we know it and for many of us we are having to adjust into a new way of thinking and life. Moving into 2022, I will continue to focus on wellness and wellbeing, and will gently move away from COVID to explore other topics and subjects as whilst I am aware that COVID is a part of our every day reality, it is also nice to have a break and focus on other things from time to time.

And if you are feeling low and struggling with your mental health, please know that during this difficult time of the pandemic, that there is still help out there and help available. Talk to your GP. Freephone Samaritans 116 123.

Please look after yourselves leading to Christmas. If you know of others who are struggling at this time, reach out and see how they are. If you need help, its ok to ask for help. Christmas is not about the gifts. Its about the people. Remember that.

There is help out there. You are not alone.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely time wherever you are on the planet.
And remember: love yourself. And others.

Schmidt, A. (2021). Spiritual Well-being – 9 Great ways to boost your spiritual health. Available: https://skillandcare.com/spiritual-well-being/. Last accessed 29th November 2021.

A bit about the author:

Picture of the author

I am a guy who just over 40, who is sharing a journey of wellness and wellbeing.

I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. 

Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programs. I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. 

In 2018 I successfully undertook Clinical reasoning in the Physical Assessments course, and in 2020 I commenced further training in Nurse Prescribing to train toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and will be looking forward to supporting those in the community with mental health support and medicinal support.

In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development.

I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing. In my current role, I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual.

Don’t think of me as a motivational coach or speaker.

Think of me more as a wellness guide, as I use my mental health training and experience to suggest and advise ways to enhance your wellness and wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health though, please seek advice from a medical professional such as your GP.

I believe that it is a journey. It is a process. It will take time. But we will get there.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely time wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: love yourself. And others.

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