In school we use 5 Ways to Wellbeing. We refer to it in class on a regular basis and the children understand that some of the activities that they do are linked to one of the 5 ways. We also hold a termly ‘Wellbeing Week’ where we focus on each of the five areas over the five days.
Research has found that taking action in the following 5 areas can improve positive mental health and wellbeing. Although not intended to be ‘quick fixes’, the suggestions below could help you to nurture your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your family.
Positive, happy, respectful relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can help you to build a sense of belonging, give you an opportunity to share positive experiences, opinions and goals and provide emotional support or allow you to support others with any issues, including mental health.
To connect more with people, you could:
- Try and make time to sit together and eat when everyone is at home;
- Arrange a zoom quiz or gathering with close family and friends;
- Dig out an old board game and have a games night without electronics;
- Put aside some time each week to call someone you haven’t checked in with in a while;
- Join a social media group that shares an interest of yours;
- Write letters to family and friends that you aren’t able to see much of in the current pandemic.
2. Be Active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, evidence also shows that it can really improve your mental health and wellbeing by raising your self-esteem and helping you to set goals and feel motivated to achieve them. It also causes chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.
To become more active, you could:
3. Keep Learning
Learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by boosting your confidence and self-esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose and achievement and possible helping you to connect with others with the same interests.
To begin learning a new skill, you could:
- Try learning to cook something new – there are lots of free recipes online and on social media channels, or you could ask friends and family members to share their favourite recipes.
- Start a new DIY project – Pinterest is a free app that is full of cheap and simple DIY projects for around the home and garden
- Download a free or affordable app to help you start to learn a new language
- Try a brand new hobby such as painting, sewing, starting a jigsaw, writing a short story or starting a blog, vlog, or your own Instagram account to share your interests with others
- Learn more about recycling and reducing the use of plastic and pass on your knowledge to friends and family (and school!)
Acts of giving and kindness towards others can improve your wellbeing by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth and helping you connect with people around you. The acts of kindness can be big or small, all that matters is that you feel connected to the act and the person or people it helps. To give to others you could:
- Allocate time in your week to check in with someone who lives alone or is struggling;
- Offer your skills or advice to someone who needs help with a project;
- Share what is working well in your home, with your job or with your children with others that may need support;
- Check out your local volunteering service to offer your time to help others https://flintshire.volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm
- Raise money or awareness with your family and close friends for a specific charity or awareness event.
5. Take notice
We can all find it hard to stop in our busy lives and think about what is important to us. But paying more attention to the present moment, which includes your thoughts, feelings and emotions, your own body and your surroundings (both immediate and world-wide) can improve your mental wellbeing. This awareness can be called ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness can help you to stop and appreciate the smaller things in life and make you appreciate what you do have. There are many ways to being practicing mindfulness and connect more with yourself and the world around you, from intricate colouring in, to sitting quietly in your favourite space in the home or garden, to meditating at the start or end of your day. Your children can probably tell you about some of the mindful activities they have tried in school too!