With what feels like an ever more challenging and dangerous world; with its stresses and strains, (Brexit, global warming and that’s before we consider the more immediate concerns that each of us have to contend with on a personal level!); life can be and feel very overwhelming with often significantly negative implications on our mental health and well being. We normally put on a brave face and push through the days, weeks and months as the year passes by – until something makes us stop. When a significant life-changing event occurs, such as a bereavement, end of a relationship or redundancy (and so the list goes on), do we then stop and reevaluate our circumstances, otherwise we just ‘solider on’.
The end of each year and the advent of Christmas and what it signifies along with the approach of a new year often allow us time and space to reflect on the months that have passed with those near and dear to us, we often then make promises to ourselves about changes we would like to make in the new year.
Amongst the list of resolutions for 2020 and your reflections on 2019, it might be worth considering the five elements of well-being researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation, these are;
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
For information and resources on mental health and well being visit http://www.neweconomics.org/projects/entry/five-ways-to-well-being
Written by Nightingale Hospital Nursing Services Manager, Ignatius Chikambi