Rhian Davies is a Physiotherapist and Clinic Director of one2one Wellbeing Clinic in South Wales. For World Wellbeing Week, we asked Rhian what wellbeing means to her – she shares her thoughts here.
Wellbeing is a word that is used an awful lot to sell things, this whole week is dedicated to it across the world, and yet it is a word that means so many things to so many people, hijacked by advertisers to promote everything from cannabis products to mind and body CDs, while at the same time promoting an unachieveable standard of ‘the perfect lifestyle’.
As the Director of a physiotherapy & wellbeing clinic in South Wales, you’ll be pleased to learn that my definition of wellbeing doesn’t come close to this. To me, wellbeing is not about achieving perfection, it’s about being happy, healthy and content with where you are in life and open and ready to explore new opportunities that will best serve your highest good. I truly believe that the steps to achieve this come from nurturing your mind, your body and your spirit – and self care is a lifelong journey, not a destination.
It’s a path we are all on – and trust me, if it’s a path you sometimes stumble on, I will put my hand up and say ‘Me too!’. However, when I fall down, it’s paying attention to these key areas that get me back on track – I’m sharing in the hope it gives others confidence.
I have always had a very active lifestyle and I love to run. If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that running hasn’t always been an option for me. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune thyroid disorder that would sometimes leave me breathless from just from walking upstairs. Some of my clients will relate to this and may feel that exercise isn’t an option for them. No matter what your age or physical ability, exercise is always an option. It’s all about body movement and you can even do this whilst sat in a chair. You can find examples of gentle seated and standing exercises on our website.
There are so many forms of exercise, whether you like team sports, going to the gym, swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates, roller skating or dancing. It doesn’t need to be competitive, you just need to enjoy what you’re doing and have fun. When I was unwell with my thyroid condition and unable to run or go cycling, I would still carry out some gentle yoga and pilates exercises or go for a short walk. I felt so much better for moving my body and you will too.
Exercise is hugely powerful and essential to my wellbeing. It helps me to destress, clear my head, release any negative emotions, relax and have fun. I use different forms of exercise depending on how I feel on the day. For example, when I’m feeling angry I go for a hard fast run to burn off those negative emotions, when I feel stressed I relax with some yoga. I always encourage my children to be active and we regularly exercise as a family by playing football or tag, walking, swimming, running or going for a bike ride. It’s a great way to spend time together, have fun and stay healthy.
In the West, many of us have have got a little out of step with our diets, focusing on extremes of indulgence or self control rather than on providing our bodies with the fuel that they need.
If you put the wrong fuel into your car, it won’t run, we all understand this – yet when it comes to fuelling our bodies, often we don’t give a second thought to nutrients. Sometimes deficiencies, such as B12, can be caused by the body’s inability to absorb a particular nutrient, but often it’s just down to the fact that our food is calorie-rich and nutrition poor. We need to get back to thinking of food as fuel and lose the mental attitudes that drive cravings and eating disorders – it’s time to focus on what our body needs.
In case you are wondering, I don’t mean ‘go on a diet’, I mean really enjoy your food, find nourishing meals that give your body everything it needs, prepare your food with love and always focus on how good food makes your body feel. Seriously, the right diet shouldn’t feel like a restriction or a punishment, work on creating a healthy relationship with food and enjoy every bite!
The right diet is CRUCIAL to health and wellbeing and I found out how important it was when I suffered with my thyroid condition. Even though my condition is chronic and cannot be ‘cured’, I have been able to take control of my condition by changing my diet and lifestyle. Ever since I made those changes I have been symptom free.
I know first hand how important it is to eat well so was delighted to welcome Dietitian Aisling to the team in January. She’s amazing at what she does, so if you need some guidance on what to eat, or want to set some goals, Aisling is still offering remote appointments via video/telephone.
Cultivating a Healthy Mind
It’s no secret that I’ve had to battle through my own challenges with mental health. Life isn’t always easy, and when it throws you a curve ball, it’s sometimes hard to maintain your mental balance.
The good news is, both exercise and good nutrition will help the mind cope with negative experiences. However, there are other techniques which can really help you disperse stress and achieve a positive outlook (even in a dire situation).
I personally find meditation and mindfulness are essential for wellbeing. Our mindfulness teacher Suzanne has taught me so much about living mindfully and this has really helped me cope with new challenges (like COVID-19) and find a more positive outlook on the toughest days.
Mindfulness tools can help make an instant change to your frame of mind, leaving you feeling more calm and more positive. This helps you to tackle challenges in a healthier way.
Writing about wellbeing this week reminds me of the way we see a client’s journey progress with us. Clients will often start with physiotherapy to help them recover from injury, then join an exercise class, or move towards mindfulness, counselling or nutrition advice. All of us at one2one support and encourage our clients to be the best version of themselves. We’re witnesses to transformed lives, to healing, to health transformation on a daily basis and it feels amazing to be part of this journey.
I feel very blessed to work with such an incredible team who are so passionate about their work. The way all our individual therapies collectively contribute to helping clients is truly life affirming. It’s so good to be back at work helping clients; we’ve missed each and everyone of you. We can’t wait until the whole one2one family is back together doing what we do best!