Thursday, 7 October 2010

well-being recipes

We’ve thought about life hungry stupidity, ordinary magic and personal medicine. Sue’s reminded us about our coping skills.  Here’s something else we can do to protect ourselves when times are tough – create a well-being recipe.

I started thinking about this a few years ago with friends Lionel Joyce, Emma Foster and Nicki Howard. We each found it amazingly helpful – and enjoyable - to write a list of all the things we know about that help us to feel well and be well.

We each put together a set of ingredients for our own well-being recipes.    

Here are the ingredients for my personal well-being recipe:

o   Being loved, understood - and occasionally made fun of – by my family and friends
o   Being hugged by people who care about me
o   My children and grandchildren flourishing
o   Helping people realise they have more ability and creativity than they thought

 o    Getting lost, then finding a way out
 o   Walking up hills
 o   The view from the top of Trevenque (in the Sierra Nevada in Spain)

o   Diving through ocean waves as they break onto the shore

o   Cycling to work
o   Taking Teddy the dog for a walk, and watching him roll around in the long grass
o   Mowing the lawn
o   Washing dishes (but not drying them)
o   Ironing shirts

o   Reading novels, especially (recently) The Book Thief and Resistance
o   Test match cricket
o   Watching TV detective programmes with Sue

What ingredients would you put in your recipe?

Just creating the recipe helps you feel better.

Make sure there are some simple things on it, things you can do straight away and easily, as well as some big things. Ironing shirts is a great one for me, never fails!

Remember to keep your recipe somewhere safe, so you can find it when you’re getting stressed or down, and need to remind yourself what’s in it. 

Update your recipe every now and then – some ingredients will always be there, others will change. That makes it even more interesting.

It would be great to know about the ingredients for your well-being recipe.   Do share them with us.


  1. - Making lists
    - Clearing a workspace
    - Hugs from/with the people I love
    - and talking to the ones who are far away
    - Knowing they all love me in return
    - Watching or reading a detective thing and solving the case (in dire straits I watch one I've already seen)
    - Collecting a bag of rubbish and throwing it away
    - Collecting a bag of things that aren't rubbish but that we don't need and giving it away to someone who does need it
    - Watching my daughter learn something

    I very much like your blog and look forward to reading more of it. Thank you for writing it.

    (If you ever get desperate, I have a shelf full of shirts I will probably never iron. Fortunately my workplace is crease-friendly.)

  2. I am with Sugar spun I too have a mountain of ironing to be done.
    Oh dear chris you set yourself up for that one!
    My recipe
    The smell of the morning air.
    Rain beating on the window at night whilst i am cuddled up with my kids.
    Every morning when my children wake their smiling faces bliss!
    Watching repeats of father ted and Billy Connolly laughter and more laughter
    Drinking vodka
    Sharing food with others
    Using my spiritual side to help others who need my advice.
    Reading beautiful words such as these below:
    There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
    No disease that enough love will not heal;
    No door that enough love will not open;
    No gulf that enough love will not bridge;
    No wall that enough love will not throw down;
    No sin that enough love will not redeem. . .
    It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake--a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. . . if only you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.

    Emmet Fox
    Giving to others without condition.
    Being grateful for the days when I am well.
    Feeling blessed to be alive and having a loving husband and family .
    One last one laughing at my friend wearing one slipper whilst having a deep intellectual conversation .

  3. cycling at dusk
    reading the bbc sport website
    pull ups
    climbing at the climbing wall when there is noone else around
    putting a wash on
    eating french fancies
    watching almost any film
    speaking to any member of my family about anything
    doing arts and crafts badly, but thinking it's really good
    paula makin me tea after a long day at work

  4. Thank you SugarSpun, Vanessa and Mike - these recipes are just what I was hoping for. Keep them coming. I can see a new career beckoning - taking in ironing!!

  5. Hugs
    Being with my siblings
    Morning snuggles
    Packed lunches made by Paul
    Seeing bats
    Coming home from work and finding the double lock is off, as it means Paul is already home.
    Thinking of things I did as a child and knowing I will do them with my children as well.
    Feeling Pablito kicking about in my belly.
    Crying to films/ TV programs
    Sorting mess
    Watching You've Been Framed or similar
    Having a holiday booked, no matter how far in the future
    A starry sky
    Long baths
    Eating out
    All clothes being clean and put away
    Throwing a party and having as many of my friends and family as possible in one place at the same time
    Parental support
    Belly dancing

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Positive cooking going on here.l had a tear when reading the wonderful recipes. l understand they can't all be the same.But for me l feel i am stiring the mixture around the bowl some ingredients i don't have.But i do remember few years ago my list would have been My bear. and Shelfharm end of.How l have walked on.Still my bear he will be 54 christmas!.Meeting school friends thanks fb.Joining different groups.Enjoying being with listening and understanding people.watching the seasons change.My garden--my room to loose my lonliness from time to time.Walking around Liverpool Chester anywhere really.Carboots. a new made bed.My freedom .My ciggies!!!!

  8. hot bath, fleecy pyjamas and freshly made bed
    going away anywhere so I can come home...
    watching my children laugh (trampoline optional)
    butterlies in the garden
    the smell of new mown grass
    bargain hunting in charity shops (shopping without guilt)
    dim sum...