Five Steps to Improving Your Mental Wellbeing
With life for everyone feeling a little crazy at the moment, improving your mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Thankfully, NHS research suggests that there are steps everyone can take to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Below are 5 steps healthcare professionals and indeed anyone can take to help make the most out of life at this challenging time.
Step One – Connect with other people
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:
- Help you 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
There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships. Even during lockdown:
- If possible, take time each day to be with your family. For example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
- Arrange a catch up with friends by making the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially in these strange times.
Remember, if you are struggling to connect with others, the NHS apps library offers a wide range of free online community support.
Step Two – Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence shows it can improve your mental wellbeing by:
- Raising your self esteem
- Helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
- Causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
Getting active need not be difficult. Try going for a walk or take your bike out for a spin. The NHS even offers a great ‘Couch to 5k’ podcast to help you get into running and its free to download!
If you aren’t keen on exercising in public, you can train from the comfort of your own home instead. There are some great training videos on YouTube for all ages.
Step Three – Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- Helping you to build a sense of purpose
- Helping you to connect with others
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.
- Cooking – learn to cook something new each day. There are plenty of healthy recipes and tips just waiting to be discovered on sites such as BBC Food.
- Work-related skills – take on more responsibility at work by mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills.
- DIY – stop putting off those simple jobs around the house. Try erecting some shelves or hang those pictures you’ve had lying around for years. There are plenty of free tutorials online.
- New hobbies – taking up a new hobby will give you something to focus on. Learn to paint, take up a new sport or start writing a blog
Step Four – Give to others
Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
- Saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
- Asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
- Spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
- Offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
- Volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home
Step Five – Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
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 you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Find out more
If you are keen to learn more about improving your mental wellbeing or need to speak to someone regarding your mental health, please visit: www.mind.org.uk