It's Mental Health Awareness Week and therefore a great time to remind yourself of the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’. Modelled by the New Economics Foundation, these are a set of pillars which are key to improving our mental health, and all are small but effective ways to support your mental health on a daily basis.
The past year has prevented us from seeing our friends, family and colleagues as much as we would like to so, as restrictions ease, think about who you may have lost touch with and make the effort to re-connect. A five minute conversation can be all it takes to make someone's day. If you're working remotely, why not check in with one of your colleagues who you haven't spoken to for a while? It's also important to build new connections and expand your circle of contacts, whether at work or in your local community.
2. Be Active
It's a fact that exercise releases hormones that make you feel good and engaging in regular physical activity is known to lower rates of depression and anxiety across all groups. You don't have to run a marathon or swim the channel, being active can be as simple as getting out for a walk more often or spending time pottering in the garden. Find something that suits you and try to make it part of your routine. Do you work near a park? Grab a colleague and get out for a short walk at lunchtime.
3. Take Notice
Pre-Covid, many of us were too busy to appreciate the things around us. Being 'mindful' has been shown to be associated with a positive mental state, so take time to look at your surroundings, notice the simple pleasures in life and be in the moment. This could be stopping to notice trees as they blossom, savouring a coffee date with a friend or finding a spot to catch the last of the day's sun.
4. Keep Learning
Never stop learning. In adult life, learning seems so much more fulfilling than your memory of school days, so look out for opportunities to try something different, sign up for a course that you've always wanted to do or pick up an inspirational business book. The challenge and enjoyment of learning new things will help support your mental health.
There is evidence that 'giving back' or helping others promotes wellbeing, whatever your age. Whether this is giving up your time to help someone, volunteering in your local community or sending someone a gift to say 'hello' or 'thank you', it can be incredibly rewarding to look outwards. Is one of your colleagues caught up in back to back meetings? Pick them up a sandwich while you're on your lunch break to ensure they don't miss out.
Visit mentalhealth-uk.org/mhaw for more information and tips for incorporating these into your routine.