The words “health and wellbeing” are batted around more and more frequently today but what does it really mean and how do we attain a higher sense of ‘wellbeing’? ‘Wellbeing’ is defined as the positive state of being comfortable, healthy and/or happy which can relate to an individual or a group’s condition.
Mental health charity Mind note the following as the five key ways to foster greater wellbeing:
- Be active
- Take notice
Below we explore these five key areas further to uncover practical ideas of introducing wellness enhancing aspects into our lives and daily schedules both in and outside of the workplace.
The feeling of isolation and loneliness can quickly become a downward spiral into detachment and loneliness. Feeling a sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter and is most important in seeing value in life. To build your own sense of belonging, work on your acceptance of others, letting go of judgements, nurturing curiosity and embracing opportunities with an open mind.
In the workplace encourage collaboration, a sharing, inclusive culture and an environment in which everyone feels heard, staff are encouraged to voice their opinions and have an impact, and an environment where staff equally feel respected and appreciated.
Make an effort to:
- Genuinely take an interest in others and really listen to what they tell you
- Talk to someone instead of sending an email
- Say thanks and show appreciation of a job well done
- Speak to someone new
- Lend someone a helping hand
It’s widely known that when you exercise or undergo physical activity, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with receptors in your brain that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Regular exercise and activity has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting wellbeing. It can also be a great way to encourage social interactions and meet new people.
Make the time in your schedule to do something your body will thank you for and start seeing the benefits right away – here are a few ideas to get you moving:
- Go for a walk at lunchtime or a stroll in the woods at the weekend
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Join a running club, walking group or sports club – finding a group for your level is getting easier with leisure centres introducing initiatives such as ‘walking netball’ so enquire today
- Do some stretching before you leave for work
- Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing
Mind references studies which have shown that “being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing and savouring ‘the moment’ can help reaffirm your life priorities.” Practicing mindfulness as a regular part of your day is highly effective in helping to slow you down and enable you to be present in any given moment and appreciate what are often referred to as “the small things in life”, yet in reality, are the biggest and most important.
Top tips and ideas:
- Take time to pause, breathe and look around at the people and environment surrounding you
- Check out the mindfulness and meditation app ‘Buddhify’
- Take a different route on your journey to or from work
- Say hello or greet a stranger you walk past
- Pay someone a genuine compliment to show you’ve acknowledged and appreciated them
- Pop a plant on your desk
There’s always something we can learn and continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and enriches our lives giving us greater fulfilment and sense of wellbeing. It’s also another way to slow age-related cognitive decline.
A few ideas to get you started in learning something new today:
- Learn a new language with the great app Duolingo for free
- Learn a new word
- Do a crossword or sudoku
- Start a book club with your friends or work colleagues
- Sign up for a new class or workshop in something you’ve always been interested in but have yet to explore
The act of selflessness seems almost a lost art today. With too many people sadly focussed on the “what’s in it for me”. The butterfly effect of a ‘good deed’ or ‘random act of kindness’ could make the world a better place, as a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology highlighted that even reading about acts of kindness can evoke ‘moral elevation’, never mind being the actual recipient of these acts. The study showed that people who have moral elevation are more likely to perform good deeds themselves thus creating a positive butterfly effect. So why not pay for someone’s bus fare, car park ticket or latte the next time you’re in Starbucks and start the ripple.
Some other great projects you could get involved in at home or encourage in your workplace this Christmas season include:
- Operation Christmas Child – a small shoebox filled with items we generally take for granted can have a big impact and be a big part of changing children’s lives all over the world. Find out more here.
- Be a Santa to a Senior – an annual gift giving scheme in coordination with Home Instead Senior Care; a great way to make a difference and spread Christmas cheer among older people who might not receive a gift at Christmas time. Find out more here.
- TimeBank Christmas volunteering projects – a unique corporate team building initiative that can aid employee wellbeing as well as make a real difference to someone less fortunate. Find our more here.
Making an effort to adopt just a few of these ideas into your daily schedule will help hugely in increasing your own mental health and wellbeing as well as have a positive impact on others around you too, so goodbye “what’s in it for me” and hello “what’s in it for everybody”.