Well-being starts now

Well-being starts now

When it comes to well-being, my role model is my 95-year-old mom. She was reminiscing yesterday about climbing Half Dome in Yosemite–twice–in her 70s! She has been exercising every day since she was in her 30s, but she didn’t start hiking until she was in her late 50s. 

The first time she hiked with the Sierra Club, she says she had difficulty getting up the incline out of the parking lot.  But she enjoyed the camaraderie of the group, appreciated the beauty of nature, and found her sense of physical well-being increasing. She started hiking with them once or twice a month. She loved the social aspect. My father had recently died, and she is a people person. She discovered a group within the club called the Singleaires, for singles over the age of 40.  She made enduring friendships with many of the members, which improved her emotional well-being

Then she discovered another group within the Sierra Club that maintained trails. She loved going out on the trails, pruning back branches, moving rocks, and placing logs. She began leading some of those hikes, and would go out the weekend before to scout out what needed to be done. She had an increased sense of purpose and meaning in her life, which is essential for well-being.

Through friends in the Sierra Club, she heard about a bicycling group, and joined that. She also took up square dancing. It was there that she met the second love of her life, Ed. As a plumber, he was fit and active, but nothing like mom. She invited him to join her on the hikes, and he jumped in enthusiastically. But one Sunday evening, after they had hiked and biked and danced, he sank into the couch and joked, “Now I know how your first husband died!” Ed’s humor was one of the many things she loved about him–and laughter is another key to well-being.

When it comes to well-being, it’s never too late to start. And look where it can get you!

I talk about my mom in programs on well-being and preventing stress at work. And with well-being, you can start right now, right where you are, seated in your chair.  

By R. Makana Risser Chai

Makana Risser Chai is a trainer, HR consultant and former Silicon Valley attorney who specializes in teaching courses on creating respectful workplaces by preventing harassment, bullying, disrespect, and unconscious bias.