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Written by Claire Bennett – Mental Health Practitioner
Why do we have awareness days focused on our health and wellbeing? World Mental Health Day (October), World Wellbeing Week (June) and Stress Awareness Month (April), are just a few of the big awareness events recognised throughout the year, but surely our health and wellbeing should be our number one concern every day of our lives?
I think it’s because we need to have our attention drawn to topics every now and then. It is so easy with the fast pace that most of us live our lives these days to get so caught up in the whirlwind that is our day-to-day. So, taking some time to stop and focus on our own wellbeing becomes a never or rare event. For workplaces, this can lead to staff burnout, as well as increased levels of stress and anxiety. It’s easy to not think about your wellbeing and how managing it might look like for you, so here are a few ideas that anyone can use in their daily lives to boost their wellbeing. Incorporate these ideas into your organisation’s messaging and encourage your staff to take time to stop and think about wellbeing every day – not just when the calendar tells us to.
Music can have a powerful effect on wellbeing. It can boost your mood, remind you of a particular time in your life, make you want to dance around or help you unwind and relax into sleep. Some people like to listen to calming, relaxing and loud music as a coping mechanism when they are feeling low. Others find listening to music with friends or while they go for a walk helpful.
Talking to someone can be such a release – getting thoughts out of your head can do so much good for the mind, body, and soul.
Here are some ideas of how you can connect and release some of the emotions or thoughts you may be bottling up:
Getting the right amount and quality of sleep is an important part of looking after your mental wellbeing, but it can be hard when you are feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Some top tips for a good night’s sleep include:
Try these tips over the next few weeks and see how you feel.
Exercise can be hugely beneficial to how you feel. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, a low mood or stress, some physical activity can be a really good way to help boost your mental wellbeing.
Physical and mental wellbeing go hand in hand. Even 10 minutes of brisk walking increases our alertness, energy, and positive mood. Exercise can help aid a good night’s sleep and regular physical activity has been suggested to reduce stress and enhance self-esteem.
You don’t have to commit yourself to a 5k run every week to start exercising. Simple exercises such as walking, yoga, or even a good session of housework can get your blood pumping and help you start feeling the physical and mental benefits.
Our furry friends can be powerful forms of stress relief, lowering not only blood pressure but also harmful stress hormones such as Cortisol, which is linked to depression and anxiety. Instead, animals help to increase beneficial hormones such as Oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation.
Not everyone has pets, or they may be allergic to certain animals, but there are lots of options for getting some fuss in with a furry friend. There are a whole host of animal cafes around the UK, giving you the opportunity to meet some well-socialised animals whilst enjoying some cake and a coffee. For an even more entertaining option, you might consider hosting a bring your pet to work day!
Sometimes writing down how you feel can help you take control of your feelings when you can’t find the words to speak them out loud.
Here are some ideas to give you a start:
These are just some ideas to get you started. Take some time for yourself and start to plan your new wellbeing routine, or capture the tweaks you may want to make to an existing routine. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
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