A Spotlight on Recipes for Wellbeing
“Recipes for Wellbeing was set up as a not-for-profit association with the intention of shifting the culture of changemaking from one that leads to burnout to one that includes a focus on wholebeing and enables changemakers and their teams to create positive change in the world”. – Greta Rossi, Co-Founder, Recipes for Wellbeing
Greta Rossi, Co-Founder, Recipes for Wellbeing
Changemakers are driven by an intrinsic motivation to improve the lives of others and to be stewards of our planet. They choose purpose over pay-checks.
Can you share the intention behind creating Recipes for Wellbeing and what communities the Recipes for Wellbeing serve?
Recipes for Wellbeing first emerged in 2016 as a spontaneous collaboration between changemakers interested in exploring practices to cultivate their wellbeing. Two years later, three of these changemakers – Alessia Cervone, Greta Rossi, and Tariq Al-Olaimy – decided to set up a not-for-profit association with the intention of shifting the culture of changemaking from one that leads to burnout to one that includes a focus on wholebeing and enables changemakers and their teams to thrive and to create positive change in the world.
The communities we serve are changemaker communities. Changemakers are those acting for a purpose that serves other people and the planet. They often sacrifice their wellbeing to change the world.
We believe that their changemaking work should no longer come at the expense of their wellbeing. If you wonder whether this is an issue at all, we invite you to check out the results of The Possibilists in-depth study on changemakers, which highlight that “59% of young changemakers have experienced some degree of burnout since they started work on their initiatives” (The Possibilists 2021 Report, P17). What’s more, “66% of young changemakers cannot compensate themselves at all or can only pay themselves a small token amount” (P13), “59% say they are juggling various responsibilities and are stretched too thin” (P12).
Recipes for Wellbeing focuses on four categories: Mind, Body, Heart, and Spirit – can you share the intention behind focusing on these aspects and their role in deepening our understanding of wellbeing?
We know there are both internal and external conditions influencing our wellbeing. For instance, The Possibilists study in 2021 revealed how young changemakers “do not perceive their broader (national) contexts as being particularly supportive of their work and efforts to grow their initiatives” (P19). In particular, systemic inequalities (64%), the state of the economy in their home country (62%), and the financial opportunities in their country (61%) were the issues most cited as negatively affecting their work (P19).
At Recipes for Wellbeing, we focus mainly on the internal conditions to transform them into leverage points to change external conditions. We have identified the following four internal wholebeing dimensions.
- Mind: Wholebeing for the mind concerns the well-functioning of our minds so that we can cope with stressful situations and work fruitfully, whilst also realising our creative potential to make a contribution to the world. It is not about an absence of mental disorder or ill-health, but about acknowledging and accepting all thoughts.
- Heart: Wholebeing for the heart is about fostering compassionate, balanced, and supportive relationships with ourselves, other people, and the world to cope with the emotional burden of our changemaking work. It is not about an absence of difficult feelings or emotions, but about experiencing and integrating the full range of human emotions.
- Body: Wholebeing for the body is about cultivating a kind relationship with our body and supporting its well-functioning by developing healthy eating habits, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding preventable diseases. It is not about an absence of physical disorder or illness, but about embracing and appreciating our body as it is.
- Soul: Wholebeing for the soul is about discovering and nurturing a strong connection with our unique and deepest identity, as well as with the larger consciousness that animates the cosmos and everything in it. For some, wholebeing for the soul is deeply connected with religious affiliation, whereas for others it is about surrendering to the flow of the universe.
However, we do not stop there.
In fact, in the past couple of years, we started to look at the intersection between wellbeing and specific systems and topics, ranging from community wellbeing to digital wellbeing and gender & wellbeing. Finally, it is important to stress that we do not focus on individual wellbeing alone (like many other wellbeing initiatives do), but we look at the intersection of three interconnected and interdependent ecologies:
- Individual: Wholebeing comes from a deepening centre, a clarity about who we are, what we need, and what is required for us to survive and thrive in our environment. As individuals we only exist in community, and we are also Nature.
- Community: Wholebeing comes from expanding our circle of compassion to accept and embrace that we are not isolated from others and that when our community thrives, we can thrive too. Our human communities only exist in community with the more than human world.
- Nature: Wholebeing comes from re-discovering and re-kindling a more harmonious relationship with the human world, and a reconnection back to the Earth community of which human communities are an intrinsic part of.
Can you share more about your recently launched recipes?
One of the main wellbeing offers we have for changemakers is our Online Wellbeing Commons – a freely accessible library with over 210 “wellbeing recipes”. These are activities for individuals and teams to cultivate wellbeing across the various dimensions, systems, and ecologies. This library has benefitted from numerous donations from wellbeing experts and practitioners all over the world, and in the past few weeks, we have added over 40 new recipes (marked by the “new” badge next to them).
Among the new recipes, you can find a variety of wellbeing practices, from activities related to burnout such as “4 tips to avoid WFH burnout” to tips for financial wellbeing with “Healthy money habits”; from ways to support LGBTQIA2S+ folks with “LGBTQIA2S+ allies in the workplace” to tips for the perfectionists amongst us with “Coping with unhealthy perfectionism”; and from creative activities to process emotions such as “Catharsis through clay” to practices to be more mindful parents such as “The parenting plate”. Not to mention our newest category, already featuring seven activities for community wellbeing.
If you would like to donate a wellbeing recipe, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Building a peaceful, democratic and inclusive country is a long term challenge which requires systemic changes to face the roots of our problems.
How do you feed yourself? I am a foodie, hands down. I do not eat out of hunger alone; rather, I take enormous pleasure in savouring all the flavours in the meal in front of me.
“To care for the teacher is to love the learner” Lao Tzu, founder of Daoism
Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world. Watching our students grow and blossom is the reward for our efforts.
“Our project started with research—deep conversations with people working for and leading social change.”