Five Ways to Wellbeing

We have seen many articles talking about programmes and the need for employers and employees to look after their wellbeing - but very little on how you should do it. So we'd like to share New Wave Learning's guide to the Five Ways To Wellbeing.

There is no escaping how difficult this year has been for all of us. It is starting to seem like there is light at the end of the tunnel, but that end is still unknown. As the world starts to re-open we'd like to share our guide to the 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' to help you navigate.

1. Take Notice

Taking notice is the first step to any practical action to improve your wellbeing. Taking note underpins all the other steps to wellbeing that we will cover later.

You might be wondering what we mean by 'take notice'. Taking notice is where we actively bring our mind and attention to ourselves and the world around us. It is a place where we are present in a moment, aware of our thoughts and feelings and savouring those moments.

There are different ways we can implement the idea of taking notice in our daily lives;

I - The Little Things

When was the last time you looked out of your window? Can you remember any of the details around you? 

Take a moment now to look outside. Think about the view you are seeing. What has changed since the last time you took notice? Are there any new flowers growing, or even some moss growing on a neighbours wall?

We are often too busy at our desks and on our phones to notice the little things that change all around us. Whole seasons can pass us by without us stopping to take note of the wonders around us.

Taking notice and being present in the moment can have huge effects on your mental wellbeing.

Schedule some time away from your desk. Go for a walk and look out for the little things. You might see a beautiful building or find a new footpath you didn't know existed. Whatever you discover, take in this moment, smell the spring flowers and enjoy the birds' song or the breeze against buildings.

Even after this time spent noticing the little things, we are busy. It is normal to forget the peace of this time. It is a great practice to keep a gratitude book. Note down the things that have inspired you, moved you or made you smile. Having a record of these and reflecting on your experiences will help you discover what matters to you. And being reminded of all the great experiences helps bring a great outlook and positive attitude to your day.

II - Within Ourselves

How do you feel right now? Do you feel like you are in a rut? Are you tired, run-down? Have you been pushing yourself too hard? Perhaps you are energised, excited and looking forward to the next challenge.

A crucial step to wellbeing is for you to take notice of how you feel and why. A great way to think about this is as if you were driving. You are aware of everything going on around you, but you also know your speed and adjust that depending on how comfortable you feel. Your wellbeing is just like this - sometimes you need to slow down; other times, you will want to speed-up. 

Take some time at different points throughout your day to notice how you are feeling. You will start to see patterns in your wellbeing that you can use to help you focus on the things you know will make you feel good.

Taking notice is all about being present in your actions and interactions. When you start to take notice, the road to wellbeing begins to become clearer.

2. Give

When you think of giving, you might think about Christmas or birthdays and the wonderful time you have wrapping and unwrapping presents. But giving isn't just about physical gifts; it is a powerful tool that you can use to improve your wellbeing.

Anne Frank reminded us all that 'No one has ever become poor by giving.' Giving is more than just a physical item. Giving your time and knowledge to help others is often worth more than any material good.

When you give the gift of yourself, you will quickly feel recognised and see just how much value a small moment can make to another person. A simple smile can light up a strangers day as you pass them on a walk.

Giving is an active pursuit, and you can look for big and small ways to give.

Take a moment to think about your gifts; what do you do that you could offer to other people? Perhaps you enjoy painting, you could share these with another person. Maybe you love to exercise and could help a neighbour with their heavy shopping. You might be feeling joyful; just having a conversation with a security guard or someone working behind the checkout when you are shopping can be a kind gift.

You may even feel ready to give on a larger scale and can volunteer with a local charity or for a community event. Someone has to look after kids sports teams at school!

As you begin to give, you will see a ripple effect. People that you pass a gift to will pass it back and on to others. Giving creates a wonderful bond between you and those you give to.

'Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.' Robin Sharma

3. Connect

Connecting is all about being there for others. You can connect with your colleagues, talking and listening through challenges. You connect with your children, partner or friends when you make them feel valued.

The greatest thing about connecting is that it is reciprocal. You cannot connect with someone else without them also connecting to you. When we connect, we share a bond, and we share the positive benefits.

When you work to make a connection, it is important to remember that we are all different. So you will have to explore different ways to connect with other individuals. This exploration can be rewarding in itself, as you take a moment to think about a friend and how they would enjoy you reaching out to them.

So as you work through your tasks today, take some time to think about the people in your life. You might not have seen them in a year, or you might have spoken to them last week. Think about how you can connect with them to show them that you value them in your life. You will give their mental wellbeing a boost as well as your own.

4. Keep Learning

Research has shown that learning throughout adulthood and into later life can have a hugely positive effect on your wellbeing.

When you think of learning, you might imagine classrooms and pupils in school. But think about learning in the broadest possible sense. Learning is gaining new knowledge, developing skill and having new experiences. 

When you learn, you enrich your life.

The practice of learning often involves setting goals for yourself. Working towards these goals helps increase your self-esteem as you overcome challenges and achieve what you have set out to do.

Once you have started to gain your new skill, naturally, your confidence develops, and as you deal with each challenge learning something new brings, you begin to feel more equipped to deal with any new challenge that might come your way.

Take a moment to think about things you would like to learn. Perhaps you've always wanted to speak a different language, or you are enthralled by Masterchef and want to try a new recipe. Anything, big or small, that you are excited about trying will help reduce your stress, inspire your creativity and give you a great new skill to show for it.

5. Be Active

The wellbeing of our minds and our bodies are intertwined. Just moving can make you feel good.

When we are active, Serotonin is released into our bodies; this is the feel-good hormone. It reduces our risk of depression, makes us better able to cope and increases our self-esteem.

Being active doesn't have to be sweating in a gym - although this is a great way to keep your body healthy, reduce stress and burn off a few calories. Being active can just be about finding ways to increase how much we move; some simple changes to our daily lives can have a significant impact.

Improving your activity can link to each of the other areas of wellbeing. You can take notice on a walk. You can give by helping a neighbour or friend. You can connect with a friend while learning a new skill in the form of a hobby.

Bringing activity to your work life is one of the simplest ways to help your wellbeing. Instead of having your next catch-up on a video call, why not invite your colleague to go for a walk at the same time, so the two of you can walk and talk on the phone.

Enjoy yourself!

You might have seen there is a pattern to all of the stages of wellbeing. Each of them can and will dovetail and crossover into the other.

Take these simple steps and make them your own. Once you begin to take a moment for the little things, your wellness journey will take its path. Who knows, this time next year, you might be scaling Everest for a charity or delighting your friends with an incredible meal you have perfected. 

Remember your journey to wellness happens on a practical and active path. Nothing will improve if you don’t act after reading this or you switch straight back to watching videos on your phone. Your wellness is entirely down to you, and however it takes shape; make sure you notice everything you enjoy and the smiles on the faces around you!