It’s Mental Health Awareness week and maybe it’s never been such a poignant time to focus on our mental health.
Many of us have felt the impacts of living with sustained global uncertainty and fear over the last year and longer. I feel strongly that much of strong mental health and wellbeing is in our hands. There are things we can do that will create a better foundation. The key is to be building these into our lives each and every day!
What are the 5 facets of wellbeing?
CONNECTING – we know, more than ever, how vital is to nurture connections with friends, family and work colleagues. We are social creatures and we need to interact with other people, talk, laugh, share and hug. When we can’t do that, it creates a big effect on how we are feeling. Look every day for ways to connect with others – it may be a greeting during your walk or shopping trip or regular reaching out through phone calls or video meets. Without connection, we can become lonely, isolated and insular.
GIVING – this is both about giving to ourselves by making sure we are getting sufficient sleep, nutritious foods and taking regular breaks but also about looking to see what we can do for others. When we give in this way, it takes the focus off ourselves, helps give perspective and helps us feel better. Expressing gratitude is also an art of giving and is one of the most well-researched ways to boost positivity.
MOVING – regular exercise creates endorphins and feel-good hormones. If you’re able to combine this with being outside in nature then even better. The benefits of spending time in nature are massive – it will calm you instantly, help you to think more clearly, give you space to process change and even help you solve problems creatively and boost productivity levels! The wellbeing effects of simply walking are also huge.
If nothing else, just look up!
LEARNING – Learning means being open, finding opportunities to learn from every day but it’s also about learning new skills and discovering our strengths and getting into flow. If we can find something that is challenging (but not too challenging) and excites us, this can be tremendously motivating and wonderful too.
TAKING NOTICE – We rush through our days, most of the time on auto-pilot, and that means that many of our responses can be reactionary and based on learned behaviours. Taking notice means getting yourself back into the present moment as much as you can. Daily mindfulness and reflection helps train our brain to be more in the moment. In the present moment there is no anxiety or fear.