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Five ways to wellbeing – looking after your mental health

Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK
21 January 2021
Looking after your mental wellbeing is more important now than ever before. Here I’ll share the Five Ways to Wellbeing. This is a simple and effective framework you can use to help take care of your mental health.

1. Connect

Connection with others is so important for wellbeing. Technology can help us to stay connected in lots of ways when we can’t meet face to face.

  • Schedule regular phone and video calls throughout the day.
  • Keep in touch with loved ones by message or email.
  • Join in with online quizzes and games.
  • Have a virtual movie night with friends.

But if you have video call fatigue from being on calls and meetings all day, it’s ok to say no to even more time on screen. You could bring back the art of letter writing and post a letter to a friend to help you feel more connected.

2. Be active

Physical activity is important for your mental wellbeing. It releases feel-good hormones and can help you sleep better too.

Winter can reduce our motivation to get outside, but the daylight hours can boost your mood.

  • Invest in some warm, windproof and waterproof clothing.
  • If you’re going out when it’s dark, wear reflective clothing so you can be clearly seen.
  • Set yourself a new goal so you have something to work towards. For example, running 5km, getting better at push-ups or trying your first virtual home workout.

Try our easy to follow HIIT workout or rise and shine yoga routine to get started.

3. Take notice

Focus on the present moment. This can help you feel calmer and cope better with difficult thoughts.

  • Take a few moments out of your day to sit quietly and focus on your breath.
  • Notice what it feels like to pause and really pay attention to the sensation of breathing and in and out.
  • Try practising gratitude. Notice the little things that you enjoy. This might be the wildlife from your window, a delicious meal or your favourite TV show.

4. Keep learning

Learning can help with self-confidence and provide a sense of purpose and achievement.

If you have children at home, you may be learning together by:

  • supporting them with their schoolwork
  • doing a new activity together such as cooking, baking or drawing

There are so many ways to learn; books, audiobooks, podcasts, documentaries and online learning. Here are some ideas for inspiration.

  • Try cooking a new recipe.
  • Get crafty – knitting, crochet or origami for example.
  • Read a book outside of your normal preferred genre.
  • Learn a DIY skill.
  • Try some sketching or painting.

5. Give

Giving helps you feel good and helps you feel connected to others. There are many ways you can give to others without being able to meet with or see people.

  • Following the government guidelines means you’re helping people by preventing the spread of coronavirus.
  • You can sign up to various services such as phoning people who may be alone or vulnerable for a check in and a chat.
  • Think of ways you can give to the people in your household and do something nice for them.
  • Give your time and attention by calling someone you know who may really enjoy the company.

If you need mental health support now

  • The Samaritans are there to support you too if you’re struggling. You can contact them via phone or email, and their website has lots of helpful resources.
  • The Mind website also has tools to help you understand how to help yourself.
  • Relate is another resource you may want to turn to for relationship worries.
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is free to call on: 0808 2000 247.
  • NHS Services has a list of where to get urgent help for mental health.
  • Citizen’s Advice have information on organisations that can offer help and support for domestic abuse.
  • If you’re older and on your own and would like to talk to someone, Age UK has a number you can call for a chat on 0800 169 65 65.

Our health insurance allows you to skip a GP referral in some cases, and speak to a mental health practitioner. Learn more today.

Fatmata Kamara
Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK

    • Five ways to mental wellbeing. Government Office for Science. GOV UK. www.gov.uk, published 22 October 2008
    • Practical ways to help older people. Age UK. www.ageuk.org.uk, last updated 29 July 2020
    • If you're worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. The Samaritans. www.samaritans.org, updated 3 November 2020
    • Physical activity and your mental health. Mind. www.mind.org.uk, published March 2019
    • UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines. GOV UK. www.gov.uk, published 7 September 2019
    • Vitamin D and health. SACN. www.gov.uk, published 2016
    • Connection to nature: evidence briefing. Natural England access to evidence information note EIN015. publications.naturalengland.org.uk, published 14 July 2016
    • Nature and mental health. Mind. www.mind.org.uk, last reviewed May 2018
    • Coronavirus and your wellbeing. Mind. www.mind.org.uk, updated November 2020
    • Mindfulness. Mental Health Foundation. www.mentalhealth.org.uk, accessed 20 November 2020
    • Gratitude – why practice it? Greater Good Science Center. greatergood.berkeley.edu, accessed 20 November 2020
    • Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. World Health Organization. www.who.int, published 18 March 2020

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