Promoting Your Own MHWB - 5 Ways to Wellbeing

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The 5 Ways to Wellbeing

We all know what it's like when everything is going well - our spirits are high, we are full of energy and our mind and body feel free. These feelings, however, can easily slip away when life gets a bit bumpy. 

The good news is that there are loads of easy, free and meaningful things we can do to increase our wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing - Keep Learning, Connect, Take Notice, Give and Be Active are practical steps that anyone can take to help manage stress, boost their wellbeing and keep feeling happy.

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A guide to the 5 Ways to Wellbeing

5 Ways to Wellbeing – Mental Health Ireland

DPT Five Ways – Self Help Booklet 

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Connect

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. Connect with people around you - with your family, with friends, neighbours and colleagues. Think of these connections and relationships as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Nurturing these will support and enrich you every day.

They can:

  • Help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • Give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • Provide emotional support and allow you to support others

Research suggests that:

  • Life goals that are intertwined with a connection to family and friends promotes life satisfaction
  • The happier you are, the stronger your social relationships will be

Suggested Activities

Family Time-  take time each day to be with your family. For example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together

Playdate - arrange a day out with friends (with or without the children). Try and find something fun and different to do.

Turn it off! - try switching off the TV to talk, or play a game with your children, friends or family

Do Lunch - have lunch with a colleague/friend/member of your family

Think of Others - visit a friend or family member who needs support or company

Volunteer – identify a cause that you feel strongly about and explore ways that you can support it. https://www.gov.uk/government/get-involved/take-part/volunteer  . Find out how to volunteer on this Government Website.

Monthly Meet Ups - arrange to meet people regularly, so that there is always something in the calendar to look forward to. Monthly dinner dates with friends or join a local interest group.

Reach Out and Reconnect - Reach out to somebody you’ve lost contact with. Send them a letter or give them a call to let them know you are thinking about them

Meet the Neighbours - Take some time to get to know your neighbours. Invite them around for a cup of tea

Spend time online – message a friend or start a group chat.

Pick up the phone – messaging is great, but sometimes it’s helpful to hear someone’s voice!

Face to face – video chats can be a great way to feel more connected to someone far away.

Agree a Focus – plan with a friend to watch the same movie or tv series so you can catch up about it later.

Find your crowd – use social media to find positive online communities that share your passions.

Put it in the post – send a card or letter to surprise someone you care about.

Take a trip down memory lane – look through old photo albums with your family.

Roll the dice – board games can be a great way to connect with family and you can play online versions with far away friends too.

Explore the app store – mobile games like Heads Up or Words with Friends are great for getting people together.

Connect with consoles – online video games let you hang out, chat and have fun with your friends.

Start a project – making something together can build bonds with a sibling, parent or friend e.g. building, baking or blogging!

Put up pictures – having favourite photos of your friends and family can be a great reminder of the connections in your life.

Share your feelings – take time to talk about the important stuff with your family and friends.

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Be Active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, it can also improve your mental wellbeing. Step outside, go for a walk or run. Dance. Garden. Cycle. Exercise makes us feel good. Find a physical activity you enjoy and one that is suitable to your level of fitness and mobility. Slower-paced activities, like walking, can enhance our mood by allowing us to enjoy our natural surroundings.

Physical activity can:

  • Raise self-esteem
  • Help you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
  • Cause chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood

Research suggests that physical activity:

  • Reduces stress and helps us sleep better
  • Helps us to manage our weight
  • Helps keep our heart strong and reduces our blood pressure

Suggested Activities

Best Foot Forward - go for a walk during your lunch break, or walk to work.

Join a Sports Club – lots of clubs are keen to encourage new participants, regardless of their ability level or experience. Find one that works for you. Maybe this is the time to try something completely new?

Yoga – there are loads of video guides online for how to get into this mindful workout craze. The children particularly love Cosmic Yoga!

Clean up – even a bit of hoovering, dusting and tidying up can get you moving and feeling good.

Dance like no one’s watching – put on your favourite song and move to the beat!

Step to it – if you have stairs in your house or building run up and down them and you’ll quickly get your heart pumping.

Planking challenge – look online to learn this super easy way to work your core.

Take a few minutes – there are lots of youtube videos and apps with daily workout routines lasting for 5-10 minutes that leave you feeling like you’ve just hit the gym.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/ NHS Fitness Studio Exercise Videos

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Bake some bread – kneading dough will give your arms a proper workout.

Ad break – when you’re watching tv, use the breaks to get up and move your body e.g. stretches, star jumps or squats. Challenge yourself to see how many you can do, or set yourself a target of 10 every ad break.

Stand up – switch it up from sitting down by simply standing more when you can e.g. if you’re on the phone, having a chat with you family in the kitchen and even while playing video games.

For more information, click on the following links to NHS Live Well Guidelines:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults-aged-19-to-64/         Physical Activity Guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-older-adults/      

Physical Activity Guidelines for older adults

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Take Notice

Most of the time we’re busy thinking about the past or the future, but it’s also important to pause and pay attention to the here and now.  Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way that you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Research suggests that:

  • Savouring our experiences can help us recognise and restore our life priorities
  • Being aware of what's going on in the moment can enhance our sense of wellbeing
  • Self-awareness allows us to make choices based on our values and motivations
  • Being aware of our experiences helps us appreciate what matters to us.

Suggested Activities (See our mindfulness section on the website)

Just breathe – 5 deep breaths can be enough to make you feel a lot calmer and there are lots of breathing exercises online that you can also use to do this.

Listen closely – play some music, close your eyes and try to focus on individual instruments and lyrics.

Mindfulness apps – ‘Calm’, ‘Headspace’ and ‘Stop, Breathe, Think’ all have free mindfulness and relaxation activities that you can try.

Freshen up – even if it’s a little chilly outside, it can be helpful to open the windows and take a deep breath of fresh air.

Room with a view – try sketching the view from your window and you might be surprised by what you’ve never noticed before.

Drawing memories – if you don’t like the view, have a look through your camera roll and try drawing or painting from your favourite photos.

Chop, chop – cooking can be a great way to clear your mind by focussing on the sensations, sounds and smells of food.

Write it down – journaling can be a great way to reflect on how you’re feeling and clear worries from your mind.

Memory box – create a special place to store cards, photos and souvenirs to celebrate all your treasured memories.

Notice nature – even in towns and cities we can all benefit from the calming powers of nature e.g. look after houseplants, spend time in the garden if you have one or even just play recordings of natural sounds like birdsong and the ocean.

Time for slime – slime or play dough can be useful tools for relaxing and there are loads of online tutorials on how you can make your own at home. Manipulating objects, such as stress balls, can have the same effect and be a little less messy!

Make gratitude a habit – we can sometimes find it hard to notice the positives in our lives so keep a diary or scrapbook where you can list the things you’re grateful for

Reflection – think back over the day and find at least 3 positives to acknowledge. These can be very small, or huge achievements – it’s not the size that is important.

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Keep Learning

Research shows that learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing. It makes us feel more confident and we get a huge amount of pleasure when we recognise that we can do something that we couldn’t do before, or that we now know something that we didn’t know previously. Recognising our own achievements makes us feel proud of ourselves; it boosts our self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.  Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.

Research suggests that:

  • Learning new things has a positive impact on our mental wellbeing
  • In older people, opportunities to work or learn can help to lift people out of depression
  • Setting goals for ourselves is associated with higher levels of wellbeing

Suggested Activities

Watch and learn – documentaries can be a great way to discover new things and there are lots of interesting ones on streaming sites

Get crafty – have a go at arts and crafts that you’ve never tried before like origami, knitting or upcycling. There are lots of ‘How to…’ videos available online.

Curious cooking – look up a recipe that you’ve never tried before and give it a go!

Learn about your loved ones – ask your family about their lives and you might be surprised by all the things you never knew.

Play along – if you have a musical instrument there are lots of video tutorials online so that you can try to learn your favourite songs.

Visit virtually – lots of the world’s most famous museums offer free online tours of their collections so you can see their treasures from your home!

Quiz time – there are loads of sites, apps and games that you can use to test you and your friends e.g. Sporcle, Quiz Up, Kahoot, Quizlet and Memrise.

Be the quiz master – once you’ve had a go at these why not try writing your own and host a quiz night for your family.

Learn a language – apps like Babbel and Duolingo are great for trying out that other language you’ve always liked the sound of.

Pick a podcast – there’s a podcast out there for everyone and they can be a great way to keep your brain active while going about your day.

Read around – whether it’s a newspaper article, blog post, novel, short story or poem, reading can open up our world so find a way that works for you.

I don’t know! When your children ask you something and you don’t know the answer, admit it – and then make a point of trying to find out. Not only will this mean you have learnt something new, but it’s a great way to reinforce the positive message to your children that it’s okay not to know something, but isn’t it great to try and find out.

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Give

One of the best ways to feel good in ourselves is to show kindness to others. It could be a small act or larger ones like volunteering in your local community. ‘Giving’ freely to others – words and/or deeds - can make a huge difference to them and improve your wellbeing too.

Research suggest that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
  • Giving you a sense of purpose and self-worth
  • Helping you connect with other people

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”   MAHATMA GANDHi

 

Suggested Activities

Positivity playlist – find the songs that help you feel happy and share them with your friends and family.

De-clutter and donate – have a clear out of things you don’t want or need anymore and see if there is anything that you could donate to a charity shop

Sharing is caring – find videos, memes or articles that make you smile and share these with your friends.

Pamper party – have an evening with your family of relaxing and looking after yourselves e.g. face masks, manicures and treats.

Movie marathon – have everyone in your family pick a favourite film and plan evenings where you can watch them all together.

Thank you notes – write a message to someone you’re grateful to and leave it somewhere they will find it as a surprise.

Tea time – offer to make someone a cup of tea and then linger for a chat - ask them how they’re feeling.

Become a RAKtivist – do one random act of kindness for someone every day

Raise Money – participate in a sponsored event; sponsor someone else; contribute to a project designed to raise finds or resources for someone else

Clean-up – organise a local litter pick to tidy up the area in which you live

Help the Homeless – donate any unused toiletries to a homeless shelter. Many shelters need new toiletries for those dropping in. Items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and even makeup are extremely useful.

Give Blood – Help save lives. For more information, visit https://www.blood.co.uk/

A Few Kind Words – the power of a simple thank you, or telling someone that you hope they have a good day cannot be underestimated.

Volunteer – there are so many options – at the local foodbank, the local scouting groups, supporting youth clubs and activities…

Protect local wildlife  - Over the years, the UK has seen a decline in the numbers of hedgehogs, honey bees, and several types of birds. Why not grow some flowers in your garden that bees love or install a bird feeder or a hedgehog home? For additional tips on how to help wildlife, check out this article from the RSPB.

Spread the news – Make it your mission to spread as much positivity as you can. It can take various forms  and could mean telling a loved one how proud you are of them, motivating and encouraging someone who’s in a tough spot, or leaving flattering comments on someone’s social media images.

British Red Cross – Kindness Activity Pack

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”

LEO BUSCAGLIA

We are our own worst enemies! Ever heard this before? Well, more times than not, it’s true. Our own negative voices in our heads can undermine our sense of wellbeing and be detrimental to promoting positive mental health.

Listen to these mental wellbeing audio guides from the NHS for advice about how to boost your mood.

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/mental-wellbeing-audio-guides/