In 2014 Alaina had a minor accident while getting compost, sustaining an injury to her lower back. The injury put her on crutches and prevented her from working, her rheumatoid arthritis flared up, and it wasn’t long before she was not only couch-bound, but also feeling depressed.
She turned to social media for support, and was soon talking to joyologist Pat Armistead, who persuaded her (with fabulous support from family) to travel to Christchurch for the 2014 Laughter Wellness Conference.
There, Alaina heard about the Mental Health Foundation’s month-long, online interactive Wellbeing Game. In October 2014, she joined an online group with other participants from the conference and entered with the team in the Wellbeing Game.
“I loved it!” she says. “The daily commitment to The Wellbeing Game gave me a focus for the day. I had to think about what I’d done and what I was going to do.”
Alaina started a journal to track her progress in the game. “I journaled my Five Ways to Wellbeing everyday, even if it was one minute to midnight,” she says. “Be Active was a bit of a struggle for me, but I decided that if I couldn’t physically move my mood, I would move the mood in my head instead.”
Both the conference and The Wellbeing Game have changed the way Alaina looks at her world and helped to shift her mindset.
“I’m a much happier, calmer person now,” she says. “I’m more mindful and meditate everyday.”
After The Wellbeing Game finished, she really missed it and contacted the MHF to find out how she could keep playing. With some advice and resources, Alaina has devised her own version: GIA 5.
“G is gratitude - what am I grateful for; I is intention - what my focus for the day is; A is for affirmation - I try and find at least five affirmations a day; and five is for the Five Ways to Wellbeing - I think about what I have done and what I can do next.”
She plans to help other people find a way to live from their heart and to be well from the inside out. “After all, you can think yourself into a hole or you can think yourself out of it!”
What’s more, as Alaina continues to rebuild her life, she can’t wait for The Wellbeing Game to begin again this October.