A Healthier and Happier Planet Starts Within Ourselves
1 May 2018 - Impact Hub

As more of the world’s population increasingly concentrates in cities, urban wellbeing becomes paramount. The Sustainable Development Goals call upon us to think differently about economic growth and social progress. It is not enough if a country is wealthier if its people are unhappy and unhealthy, or lack meaning and connection to their community and environment. There’s a growing call to place wellbeing at the center of development policy and practice, but what about within ourselves and the social sector?

Far too often personal wellbeing is an afterthought.  We normalize stress and burnout. We preach self-care yet do not embody its purpose and practices intentionally within the workplace. Tackling the world’s toughest problems requires resilient social changemakers and healthy organizations. As we promote the SDGs for a healthier and happier planet, we must recognize that wellbeing within our communities must start with us.

Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur believes wellbeing should be at the core of the social sector.  As their Global Goals Fellow, I am building the foundation for a new programmatic pillar focused on urban wellbeing. The fundamental place to start was at home—within Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur and its community to co-create wellbeing. We organized a series of engagements with community members and Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur makers to raise greater awareness about the importance of wellbeing particularly at work. Through a Wellbeing=Welldoing Mixer celebrating the International Day of Happiness, participants emphasized the importance of having a support community. During a Wellbeing Hack for our makers, we reviewed core values, practiced mindfulness and gratitude, and co-created ideas around the Five Ways to Happy Workplaces. The team reflected on how to bring greater wellbeing into their daily lives and developed seven shared practices to further wellbeing on an ongoing basis. For example, team members voted to create an “Appreciation Wall” where each team member has an envelope with their name for colleagues to put “sugar cubes,” or encouraging messages.

Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur’s development of an intentional culture of wellbeing is part of its broader vision to champion wellbeing throughout Malaysia and beyond. Soon Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur will launch a space dedicated to wellbeing called the HappiNest and later this year a Wellbeing Accelerator to foster a community of social impact leaders with the knowledge and tools to strengthen their own wellbeing and transform their organizations. It’s part of a long-term effort to build the capacity to impact and measure urban wellbeing towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur’s call for wellbeing is inspired by The Wellbeing Project, a global initiative focused on shifting the culture of the social change field to one oriented towards inner wellbeing and catalyzing an infrastructure of support for everyone in the field. You too can join the movement and become a leader for wellbeing to help unleash greater potential for social impact. Your local Impact Hub is a great place to start the conversation and build a community committed to wellbeing.

Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur works to create a world where people living in cities are inspired, connected, and empowered to take collaborative action for humanity and the planet. Impact Hub is a co-creator of The Wellbeing Project. Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur Co-Founder Shariha Khalid has been part of the Ecosystem Network cohort since May 2016 and is on her own well-being journey.  Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur’s new Wellbeing Accelerator contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 3 for Health and Wellbeing and is open to participants from around the world. For more information about the accelerator and Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur’s work, visit https://kualalumpur.impacthub.net/.