"What wellbeing means to me" SHW colleagues reflect

Published: 23 October 2023

In October 2023, we asked our team what the word and concept of "wellbeing" means to them. Read on for uplifting and thought-provoking contributions from the people we work and study alongside...

To mark the launching of our new "Wellbeing in SHW" newsletter section, School of Health and Wellbeing colleagues have reflected on the factors which influence their own sense of wellbeing. 

Photo of some red apples

The World Health Organisation describes wellbeing as "...a positive state experienced by individuals and societies. Similar to health, it is a resource for daily life and is determined by social, economic and environmental conditions. Wellbeing encompasses quality of life and the ability of people and societies to contribute to the world with a sense of meaning and purpose." And the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy".

But what do the people we work and study alongside understand by the term "wellbeing"? What is important to them in ensuring that they feel healthy and happy, whether at work or in their lives outside of work? And how can we improve both our own and others' overall wellbeing? Read on...

Audrey Dickie (Administrative Assistant, SHW Admin)

"Wellbeing is a lot of different things to me. It's family, love, happiness and friendship. It’s being able to help others when we can, and having the ability to let go, not hanging onto negative thoughts, having the ability to start each day as a new day and work through differences with people, no matter how difficult that may be. It’s an equal, safe, inclusive workplace, a good work life balance where equality, diversity and inclusion are not an afterthought but are built into the foundations of a workplace. It's being fit and healthy and living in a place where we are allowed to have our own thoughts and speak out against injustice and stand up for what is right."  

Jane Goodfellow (Dissemination and Information Officer, SHW Admin)

"Wellbeing for me is living and working in an environment where I sense that I am valued, believe that I am listened to and respected, trust that I am understood (so far as any of us can be fully understood, with all our flaws, foibles and eccentricities!), can comfortably both laugh and cry, and feel I belong. When my emotional wellbeing is taken care of, the other stuff – looking after my physical health, working productively, and cultivating positive relationships, for example – tends to fall into place more easily."

Caroline Haig (Biostatistician, Robertson Centre for Biostatistics)

"Wellbeing for me is about feeling physically strong and energetic, mentally sharp and resilient, and emotionally stable and content. Wellbeing means finding joy and purpose in my daily life and work activities, managing stress effectively, and being in tune with my own needs and values. It means prioritising self-care, self-awareness, and self-compassion to lead a life that feels not only satisfying but also meaningful."

Linsey Ip (Administrative Assistant, Public Health)

"For me, wellbeing is about body and mind – whether you are feeling well (mentally, emotionally and physically) and functioning well (in work or education, or in relationships, for example). In general, my wellbeing relates to how I feel about myself and the life I am living." 

Nicola McMeekin (Research Associate, Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)

"Wellbeing for me is to be pain free and to live as full a life as possible within my physical and mental capabilities. It also means to be supported and accepted as I am and not judged for being me, whether this is at home, work or in any other situation. Finally, having opportunities to share experiences and make memories with the people I love and care about – for example a walk on a beach or watching television together."

Rona Strawbridge (Senior Lecturer, Mental Health and Wellbeing/incoming Athena Swan SAT co-chair)

"From a professional perspective, wellbeing requires a healthy work-life balance, an interesting focus and with mutual respect in all interactions. From a personal perspective, wellbeing is feeling good enough (physically and emotionally) to enjoy hobbies,  friends and work. For me this means prioritising eating well, sleeping well and spending time outdoors (preferably away from the sound of traffic!)." 

Iain Taylor (Research Manager, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)

"Wellbeing for me is feeling a sense of balance and calmness in my life."

Miriam Yentumi (Administrative Assistant, Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)

"Wellbeing, for me, equates with contentment. Being content with what I did that day, the decisions I made and even the mistakes I made all go a long way to giving me a sense of wellbeing. I think when I have that sense of contentment with life and work, though it may not be constant, it goes a long way to contributing to a general sense of wellbeing."

Visitors to the Byres Community Hub (when asked on our "doughnut wall" what wellbeing means to them!)

Photo of the doughnut wall in the Byres Community Hub with contributions from the general public about what wellbeing means to them

All our Athena Swan working groups are actively engaged, one way or another, in supporting, protecting and enhancing staff and student wellbeing. If you're not already a member of one of our groups, do consider joining – there are 10 to choose from – and be part of improving our culture and our environment for the benefit of all. 

Wellbeing in SHW

First published: 23 October 2023