We’re often advised on tips for looking after ourselves physically such as eating 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables or walking a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. But what can we use in our daily lives to create better mental wellbeing?
The 5 ways to wellbeing is a set of ideas in making small changes in your life to improve mental health and wellbeing.
In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme in 2021 being ‘Nature’, we’ve added some nature-related ideas for how these five elements can be implemented into your daily routine in a variety of ways. Find some thoughts below to get you started.
Connecting with people can give you a sense of belonging, offer support and build a community network. In this digital age, having strong connections and relationships with others can help you to feel more valued and give self-worth.
Something that you can do to make a connection:
- Speak to someone you know who you haven’t been in touch with for a while
- Arrange for everyone in your household to eat a meal together
- Take some time out to ask a colleague how they’re feeling
- Get to know your neighbours
- Volunteer with a local charity or community group
Connecting with the natural world may not have quite the same effect, but can be as beneficial. Spending time with pets, sitting with birds or watching bees go about their business can all help us feel more connected to a wider world.
Keeping active is proven to lower rates of depression and anxiety. Exercise doesn’t need to be intense or high impact and can be combined into your daily routine so that you don’t feel like you need to prioritise a time for the activity.
Some ideas for staying active:
- Dance in the kitchen
- Take the stairs rather than lift
- Using public transport? Get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way
- Join a local sports group and Connect with others
- Get involved with a community gardening project and help the natural world at the same time
- Take some time out to stretch at the end of the day
Learning something new can raise self confidence and self esteem, it can also offer a way to interact with people differently and potentially gain a new skill or hobby. Studies have also shown that generating knowledge in something new can also decrease depression in older people.
Some options for learning something new could include:
- Listening to a podcast
- Try a different recipe for dinner
- Take on a new responsibility at work
- Set a daily task of learning a new word and using it once that day
- Join a course at your local community centre or college
- Learn the name of a plant or tree you see every day
- Grow something new from seed on your windowsill
Giving to others has a huge impact on mental wellbeing, increasing feelings of self-worth, purpose and sense of reward. Giving increases dopamine in the brain, promoting positive feelings such as happiness and pleasure.
How you could give something in day to day life:
- Saying thank you to someone after they have done something for you
- Hold the door open for someone
- Bake a cake for your colleagues
- Do a chore around the house for the people you live with
- Volunteering in your community or with Changes Bristol
There are many ways you can give to the environment and the natural world too. Take care with your recycling, walk more instead of driving, or plant bee-loving flowers.
Staying present includes taking notice of yourself, those around you and your surroundings. This action, sometimes known as mindfulness, can decrease anxiety and allow you to take stock of what your values are and is important to you.
Some helpful tips on how to take notice:
- Spend some time in the evening reflecting on something positive from that day
- Go for a walk and take in everything that you can see, hear and smell, especially nature
- Tidy up your home or work space
- Take up a mindful hobby such as knitting, sewing or drawing
- Walk barefoot outdoors (sometimes called “earthing”) and focus on the feeling