Spiritual wellbeing is often a misunderstood concept. It refers not to any particular religious or spiritual practice or ideology but to the human need for meaning, purpose and connection to something greater than ourselves. This aspect of our wellbeing may be met through the practice of a religious faith, through a deeply felt connection to nature or through a passion for our professional vocation. It is a very diverse and often individualised aspect to health, but some would argue it is the most important, giving context and meaning to all other parts of ourselves and our life experiences. In this section we will provide some guidance on the following topics.
- connection to self, others and the environment around us
- engaging with spiritual or religious practices and communities
- finding and maintaining purpose and meaning.
Connection to self, others and the environment around us
Times of change and disruption often result in some degree of questioning of "what is the meaning of all this?" Or "why is this happening?" It is easy to get caught up in the immediate moment in the headlines and the worry. So, at such times it is a healthy and useful thing to do to reorient yourself to your place in the world and your purpose beyond the needs of the COVID-19 events. That may be taking a few minutes reminding yourself of your long term research, study or professional goals and reconnecting with a larger body of work, it may be introducing or reintroducing a daily prayer or meditation practice, or being very deliberate to go out in nature to observe, appreciate and honour it. Make time each day - it doesn't have to be a long time if you can't spare it, to reconnect with the larger world.
Engaging with spiritual or religious practices and communities
For those who have a particular religious or spiritual community or practice, many organisations have moved to online service provision for their members and offer a range or means to continue to engage with your faith community or your spiritual practice. Consider getting in touch with your local church, or other community hub to find out what they have been able to put in place locally or look online for online events and community practices to engage in during this time. Maintaining contact with your community is a very healthy and important thing to do not only to stay connected to but also to maintain your usual daily or weekly routines and your sense of self.
Finding and maintaining purpose and meaning
As noted above, the search for meaning is an essential human endeavour and can result in as many different conclusions as there are people in the world! During times of change and upheaval, we often ask "why?" and when we are disconnected from our usual activities, and distractions, the larger questions of life may arise. For some this is a wonderful opportunity to indulge in some deep thinking, prayer or meditation about ourselves and our world, for others it is overwhelming, uncomfortable and unwelcome. Be kind and respectful to yourself and others about what this time gives or offers you in regards to your spiritual health, but consider that this time may be an excellent opportunity to try on some new approaches to life and living, to explore some different ways of thinking about the world and find a good fit for yourself.