One Size Does Not Fit All

In an age of information overload, it can be difficult to know what advice to take onboard when it comes to personal wellbeing. How do you sift out the helpful from the well-meaning yet misinformed? Furthermore, is it really fair to assume that all advice is applicable to everyone? After all, we are all individuals and can be incredibly different from one another—physically, mentally and emotionally. As such, guidelines for healthy living often suggest an optimal range to aim for (7-9 hours of sleep per night, for example). So how do you identify what’s best for you, when it might not be the same as what works for friends or colleagues?

To a certain extent, a bit of trial and error is likely to be necessary. You may have an idea of what feels right but, until you try it, you simply can’t know for sure. What this therefore requires is a careful balance between being committed to whatever habit you are trying to form—whether this is a physical behaviour or a way of thinking—and having the self-awareness to recognise when it isn’t working out. This process of inward reflection, of checking in with yourself, is crucial in order to assess how well something is serving you. As a result, you may decide to stick with the new habit, to adapt it to suit you better or to try a completely different approach.

The following are just some examples of areas to which this may apply:

  • Sleep patterns: your ideal sleep/wake up times, how many hours you need per night
  • Nutrition: the best mealtimes for you, how frequently you need to snack during the day
  • Physical activity: the types of exercise that feel right for your body (and that you enjoy doing!)
  • Your working schedule: how frequently you need breaks from work in order to keep focused, your ideal working pattern (if you have a choice)
  • What helps you to unwind: for example mindfulness meditation, reading, a walk in nature…
  • Drive and motivation: what gets you motivated, what your values are and what brings you a sense of purpose
  • Relationships: how often you need to socialise (this will likely vary a lot depending on how introverted/extraverted you are)

Whilst these tend to be very personal, many relate to working life—after all, we spend a great portion of our time at work. It is therefore important that employers and managers consider the varying needs of the individuals in their companies/teams and offer support accordingly, avoiding a ‘one size fits all’ approach to working practices and initiatives.

And as individuals, how do we know where to start? If you are thinking about making changes in any of the areas listed above—or any others—it’s advisable not to tackle everything at once. Picking one or two areas to focus on at a time is likely to be far more sustainable. First taking stock of your current levels of wellbeing with a psychometric assessment can provide you with some much-needed direction, highlighting areas with the most room for development. Once you know your focus, you can choose some advice that resonates with you, and give it a try.

For information about how you can use Wraw to identify your wellbeing and resilience needs, get in touch with us by emailing or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


Further reading:

The impact of imposing a schedule that goes against your natural rhythms.

A longer read on differing nutritional needs and the links to mental wellbeing.