What is wellbeing? Your straight-talking guide to feeling good

From mental and emotional wellbeing, to looking after your body and promoting wellness at work, we’ve tapped experts for the ultimate guide to 360 wellbeing. 


Wellbeing is a much-touted concept nowadays, particularly in the realm of social media where the true meaning of even the simplest of ideas can get somewhat fuzzy. So, we’re here to ask (and answer) the question once and for all – what exactly do we mean by ‘wellbeing’? 



At Rituals, we believe that true wellbeing is achieved when the body, mind, and soul are in harmony. So much so, we’ve created The Art of Soulful Living, a guide and 13-point compass to help you align these key pillars and carve out moments to focus on balance. 


But as with most things, there’s more to unifying the body, mind and soul than first appears. In fact, the balancing act of true wellbeing could be broken down into many more facets of life. As Eloise Skinner, existential therapist and author of But Are You Alive? explains “wellbeing is complex and ever-evolving, but a sustainable sense of personal wellbeing tends to be one that endures over a long period of time, and remains as a foundation even as we're challenged by everyday ups and downs.  


“To be more specific, you might break it down into categories, such as physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, social wellbeing and so on – adding in any other categories that are relevant to your current lifestyle.” 


Lauren Lepley, a wellness expert and high-performance strategist, has a similar definition of wellbeing, considering it to be a state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. Though crucially, she notes, “it’s not a destination but a continuous journey that requires regular attention and effort.” A good state to aim for, says Lepley, is that of ‘aleafia’ – a concept derived from the Arabic word meaning to be in the state or condition of good physical and mental health. 


So, with our experts as our guides, here’s how to improve the most vital areas of your wellbeing to bring balance and alignment to your body, mind and soul.  



“Mental wellbeing refers to a state of psychological wellness,” says Lepley. “It includes having a positive outlook, being able to handle stress, having a good quality of life and a sense of control.”  


If this is an area of focus for you, Lepley advises prioritising self-care activities such as meditation, exercise and spending time with loved ones, plus seeking support from friends, family or a professional therapist or support group when needed. 


Practising mindfulness to help stay present and calm during difficult times can also be very effective, she adds.  


Discover our collection of mindful meditations



Though our emotional and mental wellbeing share a fair amount of overlap, Lepley sees the difference as this, “emotional wellbeing involves managing and regulating our emotions effectively. It includes being able to identify and express what we’re feeling, manage our stress levels, and maintain healthy relationships.” 


Need to do some nurturing here? Start by practising self-compassion and kindness towards yourself on a daily basis, says Lepley. “Engage in activities that bring you feelings of joy and fulfilment, such as hobbies or spending time with friends and family. 


“It’s also important to learn and practise healthy coping skills to manage stress and difficult emotions, such as pausing and reflecting before taking action, so that where possible we are responding, rather than simply reacting.” 


Discover how to use reflection to reveal your authentic self here 



“Though it may sound like fairly basic advice, sleeping well, eating well, drinking enough water, trying to move throughout the day, being outside in nature – all of these are effective contributions to a good sense of physical wellbeing,” says Skinner.  


“Focus less on aesthetic outcome and more on the personal sensation of feeling 'well'. And remember, all of these types of practice are best done over a long period of time, so choose routines and rhythms that feel sustainable for you in the long-term.” 


Want to start moving more? Discover our yoga flows for a mindful workout  



We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work, so it’s vital that we pay close attention to our 9 to 5 wellbeing. “We’re talking here about the state of satisfaction and fulfilment one experiences in their career or job,” says Lepley. “It includes having a healthy work-life blend (not balance), feeling valued and respected at work, and having opportunities for growth and development that are imperative to feeling accomplished.” 


“Set boundaries that can help you maintain a healthy work-life blend that suits you and your role. Ensure you take regular breaks throughout the day and, vitally, actually use your holiday days to avoid burnout!” 


Want more tips for staying healthy at work? Read our guide to 9 to 5 wellness  



“It's interesting to note that the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest-running study of human happiness, found that strong relationships are a central factor in long-term wellbeing,” explains Skinner.  


“Good relationships can be fundamental to developing a sense of overall wellness and it doesn't necessarily have to be traditional family, friendship or partner relationships,” she adds. “Even casual relationships in your everyday life, people you volunteer with, or people who share your passions, those you connect with in a professional context – it can all help you establish a sense of social wellbeing.” 


As with every other aspect of wellbeing, Skinner notes that relationships will evolve over time, so keep checking in with yourself regularly to make sure you are nurturing meaningful relationships in your life. 


Strengthen your relationships and build deeper connections with this 10-minute gratitude meditation