If you stop and think about it, how often do you take the time to consider your own mental well-being? Even in these more enlightened times, there is still a stigma attached to talking about and taking good care of your own mental health. It’s an oft-neglected part of looking after ourselves, but is just as important a part of a healthy lifestyle as eating healthily and getting enough exercise.
Depression is the biggest cause of disabilities and health problems across the planet and one quarter of us will experience a mental health issue each year. That equates to around 15 million people in the UK and around 250,000 Everyone Active members and colleagues. Mental health affects every family, every friendship circle and every workplace.
During difficult times such as the current coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdown, these issues can be magnified and it’s especially important to keep any eye out for your own mental health – but also that of those around you. Those people that you may work with – whether you only see them on video calls, or actually in person – and those people in your immediate support bubble.
To help you, we’ve put together a list – alongside the New Economics Foundation – of five simple tips to help you and those around you take care of your mental well-being during these difficult times.
How Getting Active will Improve Your Mental Well-being
Staying active has been proven to help reduce your chances of suffering from depression and anxiety. You can workout at home, exercise outside (such as in the park or in the street), or at your local Everyone Active leisure centre. By staying active, you’re also reducing your chances of contracting age-related cognitive issues such as Alzheimers and dementia. Regular activity will also help reduce your chances of contracting other conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, which puts you at more risk of Covid-19 in itself.
Here are a few ideas of how to get more active:
• Rather than take the lift, why not take the stairs?
• Take a lunchtime stroll
• Start cycling more frequently
• Do a digital group fitness class at home using the Everyone Active
• Work out at home
• Go for a run around the block
How to Look After Your Mental Health if You’re Working from Home
Working from home has become increasingly common and some have been struggling slightly with the social isolation that comes with that. It can have a negative impact on your mental well-being. The simple reason for this is that you’re not going outside as often. This means you’re not inhaling as much oxygen. This can have a negative effect on your mental well-being.
One way to help improve your oxygen levels is to have a pot plant in the room where you work. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This can help keep you energised, alert and above all, happy.
Taking a quick stroll during your lunch break is also a good idea. Not only will you get a bit more oxygen into your lungs, but a bit more physical activity is never a bad thing! If you can, keeping a window open while you work is also a good idea as it will help refresh the air in your office and help keep you focused.
How Connecting with People Helps Your Well-being
Evidence suggests that feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to good mental well-being.
With this in mind, try to do something different and make a connection:
• Talk to someone – either face-to-face or over the phone – instead of sending an email
• Speak to someone new
• Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
• Go to the gym with a friend you haven’t seen in a while to connect, as well as be active
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and that savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
• Get a plant for your workspace
• Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
• Learn More About Well-being Issues
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.
Why not learn something new?
• Sign up for a group fitness class you have never done before such as Yoga or Zumba.
• Read the news or a book
• Research something you’ve always wondered about
• Learn a new word
Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has also shown that doing just one act of kindness a week over a six-week period is associated with upping your well-being.