In 1995 Dave and I moved to Slovenia for a better 'Quality of life'. By comparison with our lifestyle experiences in Manchester and Leicester, Slovenia was then a more relaxed pace of life that was not driven by money and having more. We loved the 'coffee culture', people took time to meet and talk with family and friends, the countryside and weather was beautiful and peaceful, life was less complicated , more relaxing and fun, just what we wanted.
More than 20 years later a lot has changed in Slovenia; far more choice in what to spend your time on, entertainment, types of foods, travel options.... Sounds good? With this has come different and longer working hours for many, processed foods, loans and credit and money as a driving force in our lives, less free time, the need for higher income levels to support higher life costs. However I still see people striving to keep a quality of life they once had more easily but now try harder to keep hold of.
My experiences living in Slovenia and working internationally over the past 20 years have shown me that Quality of Life means different things to different people and is also very dependent on your past experiences and comparisons with what you had and what you have now.
"In my work more and more I am helping people to create and keep the quality of life that matters to them."
In my work more and more I am helping people to manage their time better, find ways to 'protect' family time, reduce stress, cope with many different kinds of daily pressures, improve the quality of their relationships, find meaning and purpose both in work and life and help them to be successful in whatever they choose to do. For me these are all signs of the wish to find, create and keep the quality of life that matters to us.
This has led me to question what are some of the components that we need to learn and manage well in order to have the quality of life we want and I have come up with the following:
- Knowing what we want – often we don't know this as clearly as we need to in order to create what we want
- Having meaning and purpose in life – why do we do what we do, what contribution do we want to make to our world, what do we want in our life to have achieved
- Having quality relationships – the cause of a lot of stress when we don't have this
- Being fit and healthy, physically and emotionally – sometimes hard to find enough time for this in our busy lives or put ourselves first sometimes when we're taking care of our families
- Coping with stress and pressure – it can be hard to combine, the many demands on us and our time sometimes and to cope with changes and volume of work that threaten to eat into more of our personal time
I believe there are many more things than this that also contribute to Quality of Life and many of all programmes, workshops and one-to-one work helps each of us to create the Quality of Life that we want, so do share with us, what Quality of Life means to you and what would help you to have the Quality of Life you want.
Health, well-being, and fitness are something most of us are focused on today. For myself, all my life I have invested time and money on exercise of various kinds, learning meditative and other spiritual practices to manage stress, learning more about nutrition and trying different kinds of diets mostly to lose weight. All of these factors have helped me at different times in my life to varying degrees but still I didn't feel the kind of Quality of life I wanted to feel in this part of my life. Then in the last year something changed that made me approach health as a much more important part of my quality of life.
About 10 years ago I slipped on some ice and hurt my back. During the following years I had times when I felt it was completely healed and times when I had various degrees of pain. I did different things to heal and support it but over the last year or two I realised it was getting worse and I was learning to 'live with' the consequences of having a 'bad back'. At this point I decided it was time to deal with this once and for all.
"I was learning to 'live with' the consequences of having a 'bad back'. At this point I decided it was time to deal with this once and for all."
I asked around for a more 'holistic' place I could go to for help with this and a friend recommended, JH Studio in Menges. Following an initial consultation with Janez I started a programme twice a week that included exercise, nutrition, manual therapy and massage. Less than a year later I am completely pain free as well as fitter and stronger. I have more energy, am sleeping well and have lost 10 kilos.
See my short interview with Janez about this:
So, it's a great result, so what's important about this in terms of quality of life? For me there are 4 things this experience has taught me that I can transfer to other areas of my life:
1. I am reminded that all change starts with thinking differently. New thoughts lead to new actions, which lead to results, which create more new thoughts… and so the positive cycle repeats
2. Motivation is key. It can be a positive focus on something we want or a negative experience bad enough that we want to change it. We often focus on creating the positive goal, but sometimes we need a negative situation to push us forward. The combination of both can be very powerful. If my back had not got worse, I may not have acted to permanently heal it.
3. Determination and persistence are critical. Starting something new can be both exciting and hard work. But staying with it for the long term, incorporating changes in our daily life, no matter what, can be a real challenge. This is where keeping that focus on why we're doing this, both positive and negative and continuing to motivate ourselves, focusing on improvements no matter how small are essential to finally see those results that we want.
4. Having support can be the one thing that keeps you going. Having Janez as my personal coach, encouraging me, acknowledging small successes, giving me feedback when I was off track, and educating me to learn how to not only achieve my goal but be able to sustain and manage my health and fitness throughout my life, was the difference that made the difference for me. This professional support is invaluable, but support from friends, family, being part of group with similar goals can also be the support you need.
I now look at this experience and consider other areas of my life where I can make changes that will also positively improve my quality of life and I have my 4 step process:
1. Think differently. Be creative, open to new ideas.2. Use Towards and away from motivation to find the strength to make it happen.
3. Clarity of focus and determination. Have faith and believe in what's possible, stay on track and see it through.
Please share your lessons learned and results accomplished that have improved your Quality of Life. You might be the spark that helps someone else to take the steps they want to take.