We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life. This might feel difficult or stressful.
Fortunately, there are lots of things that we can do to look after our own wellbeing and to help others who may need some extra support and care.
The Five Ways framework was developed by the New Economics Foundation to help individuals to understand and incorporate wellbeing into their everyday lives.
Try to build these five simple steps into your daily life to help maintain and improve wellbeing and positive mental health during these exceptionally difficult times.
Given the current government guidance this is a little challenging at the moment. However, it is so important to remain connected to friends and family. Feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships are critical for promoting positive mental health. Online platforms can help us to see friends and family, writing letters or picking up the phone can also help us to stay in touch.
Exercise makes you feel good and has been shown to help alleviate depression and anxiety. The gym might be off the cards at the moment but there are lot of online fitness classes you could try in your own home. Or simply go for a run or a walk. Just stepping out into the fresh air can be beneficial for improving mood.
Taking notice can strengthen and broaden our self-awareness which is beneficial for wellbeing. However it is hard not to worry about what is going on around us at the moment and anxiety levels are high. It is good to talk about how we are feeling and reflect on our thoughts and actions. Taking time out of our day to enjoy the environment around us, whether that be a trip to the local park or going somewhere new can be beneficial to our mental health.
Whether you rediscover an old interest or learn something new, learning can improve self-esteem and give a sense of achievement. The practice of setting goals, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. So why not help relieve lockdown boredom and learn something new?
Do something kind for somebody else. Research has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing. If you have some spare time, try volunteering for a local community group and provide support to vulnerable people struggling during the crisis. If you can afford it, donate money to charity or food to a food bank. Just being there for someone can make a world of difference.