As World Wellbeing Week comes to an end, a good few people in the wellbeing world come up with their top tips for improving mental wellbeing
Kate Smith, Slow You Down Wellbeing:
As mental wellbeing is interconnected with physical wellbeing, ‘take 5’ from the stresses of the day and give yourself a relaxing head massage to relax the mind as well as the body. Close your eyes and with splayed hands, place your fingertips on your temples at your hairline. Depress your fingers into your scalp until you reach that comfortable level of pressure for you, and then slowly begin sliding your fingers from the hairline up to the top of your head maintaining the same depth of pressure. Reaching the top of your head, interlock your fingers and change the pressure from fingertips to the heel of your hands. Slowly depress the heels into the scalp, again until you feel a comfortable pressure for you. Hold this pressure for 5 seconds and then slowly release your hands away from your head.
Continue this gentle pressure sequence with your heels all over the scalp targeting the areas that feel tight and tender. (For an added release of tension, take a deep breath in as you hold the heel pressure and exhale as you start to release away from the scalp). Finish your head massage by making light fingertip pressure circles around the scalp paying particular attention to temples, around the ears as well as at the base of the skull. For a deeper pressure, use your knuckles instead of fingertips when pressure circling.
Mark Ahier, Baking for Wellbeing:
About five years ago I was struggling with anxiety and depression. It had been going on for years, I didn’t think anything was going to change and I was going to be like this for the rest of my life. I lacked motivation and wasn’t doing much apart from getting up, getting washed and going to work, and that was a real struggle. I knew I needed to do something to change things but had lost hope. I wanted to be able to do something for my family so I decided I would try to cook a meal. I picked a simple recipe, The recipe told me what to buy and with clear instructions I didn’t have to think too much, which was good as decision making was difficult. The meal turned out OK. I decided I would do it regularly.
Over time I gained confidence and expanded what I would cook and bake. I started deviating from the recipes and experimenting. I gave myself credit for doing it and didn’t beat myself up if it didn’t go quite right. I realised after a few months that I had learnt a new skill. It taught me that things are not fixed, that you can change yourself and your circumstances this gave me hope and was really the start of my recovery. My confidence to try new things is much greater since I started baking and cooking. I don’t think it matters that it was cooking and baking any new activity would have done it. It was just something I started to enjoy, and I allowed myself time to enjoy it without feeling guilty. I continue to bake, and it gives me great joy.
It links well with the 5 ways to Wellbeing: Connect – Cooking and baking can bring people together though the activity itself and through sharing what you have made; Be Active – It’s not like going for a run but you are on your feet not on the sofa; Take notice/be in the present moment – cooking and baking is great for ‘Mindfulness’ using all of our senses; Learn – you can learn from books, TV, online but I like to learn from other people. A phrase I like is ‘there are lots of right ways of doing something’; Give – my favourite thing is sharing what I have made with others.
Kathy Narayn-Webb, Hair and Wellbeing Stylist:
Don’t hold onto negative emotions as they can fester and snowball. A great way to clear out thoughts is to write things down or talk (rant if needed!) into voice memos on your phone. Whether you’re more comfortable writing or talking-it-out, both options are effective at helping to clear confused thoughts, challenge negative feelings, reset emotions and get clarity and perspective. Also, both are available whenever you need to let-off steam. You can also be as open and honest as you want – plus, when needed, both can help you get closer to a resolution. The main thing is that these are effective available tools that can help you to challenge and let go of negative and unhelpful emotions: giving yourself more time to think about the things that bring you joy and fulfilment!
Kate Pigeon-Owen, Wellbeing International:
Here at Wellbeing International we believe that your sleep and quality of sleep should be at the top of your wellbeing priorities. Restorative sleep means you have the energy to get the most out of your life, feel creative and happy. If you are tired then small changes can have a big impact, here are a few tips.
Drop us a line if you would like to know how we can help you sleep well. We offer companies an hour’s webinar on ‘How to Awaken Refreshed’.
Lisa McNulty, Wellbeing In Nature Facilitator for Green Light Trust:
Embrace Your Inner Artist: Unlocking mental wellbeing In our fast-paced and often stressful lives, it’s crucial to find ways to nurture our mental wellbeing. One powerful and fulfilling method is to embrace your inner artist. Engaging in creative activities allows us to tap into our imagination, express our emotions, and find a sense of joy and accomplishment. Whether it’s painting, writing, dancing, or any other artistic endeavour, dedicating time to explore and unleash your creative potential can have transformative effects on your mental health. When we embrace our inner artist, we give ourselves permission to let go of judgment and self-criticism. Artistic expression becomes a sanctuary where we can freely explore our thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. It provides an outlet for stress and helps us cultivate mindfulness, as we immerse ourselves in the present moment. Engaging in artistic endeavours can also foster a sense of community and connection, whether by joining a local art class or sharing our creations with others online. By embracing your inner artist, you not only enhance your mental wellbeing but also tap into a boundless source of personal growth and self-discovery.
Call to Action: Embrace your inner artist today! Set aside dedicated time this week to engage in a creative activity that resonates with you. It could be as simple as sketching in a journal, writing a short story, experimenting with photography, or dancing to your favourite music. Release any expectations of perfection and instead focus on the process and the joy of creation. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment and savour the experience of expressing yourself through art. Share your journey with others, whether through sharing your creations or joining creative communities. Embrace your inner artist and nurture your mental wellbeing through the transformative power of creativity.
Gemma Sandwell, Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Practitioner:
My top tip to improve mental wellbeing is to slow down and listen to your body; what does it need today? Could be as simple as a glass of water. Mindfulness practices can help us to train our brain and body to see the little signs that we need something before it becomes a big thing.
Chantal Dawson, Grow my Wellbeing:
Indoor plants don’t just look good in a space, they make us feel good too. Many studies have shown how plants can reduce stress levels, boost our moods and clean the air around us by removing toxins. Top 7 benefits to keeping and caring for houseplants: Plants can purify the air and improve our air quality; The colour green evokes a feeling of calm and abundance; A sense of achievement and pride seeing your new plant grow; A positive purpose having to care for another living thing; A true connection to nature smelling earthy soil; A sense of calm hearing a trickle of water; A mindful focus and a connection to nature.
Pippa Lain-Smith and Hannah Freeman, Plain Speaking PR:
We’re a small team, working mainly remotely. Looking out for each other daily is what we do, not just during Wellbeing Week, but always. Chatting, checking in, and admitting when life is getting tough is how we work as a team. That way, we can support each other when things feel overwhelming. Importantly (and we perhaps don’t do this enough) we try to book out time to get together and do something entirely different from the norm. Last month being a great example. On a scorching sunny May morning, we drove down a winding, bumpy road to Hedenham, home of Sunnyfields Apiaries. Getting out of the office, visiting a new place, and being surrounded by peace, quiet and nature was so far removed from the world of work, it worked wonders for our wellbeing. Instantly, our shoulders dropped, and we stopped thinking about PR for just a little while. For the next two hours, in full beekeeping kit, we absorbed head beekeeper Stacy’s vast knowledge about bees and how a hive operates. The gentle hum of the insects, the beautiful countryside and tasting the freshest, purest honey, made it a totally calming and mindful experience. If this week has reminded you to take a break, check out of work, and prioritise your wellbeing or that of your employees, we recommend booking an experience that, even just for a few precious hours, gives you the time and space to just ‘bee’.
Sam Grainger, Critical Care Nurse and Certified Hypnotherapist:
Wellbeing has become a hot topic. It seems the pandemic made people more aware of taking good care of themselves. There is still a long way to go when it comes to mental health provision in the UK but, together, we can help make small changes. What can we do for ourselves to help our own wellbeing? My top tip is: we have to value ourselves, take time to nurture ourselves. My mum use to say this to me and is an old wife’s take but rings true: “you need to love yourself first, to be open to love others.” To look after yourself, there are small things you can do each day which, if they become a daily habit, will improve how you feel. This takes work at first, in a few weeks it will become second nature. Eat well, think well, sleep well and get daily exercise.
Louise Thomas-Minns, Louise Thomas Skin Care:
Write it down! I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go because running businesses along with family life is hectic isn’t it!? So, when I feel overwhelmed, have an idea, need to rant, put things into perspective, get my to do list off my mind or write 3 things I am grateful for I always have somewhere to write it down and always feel a little better for it.
Grace Adam, Artist, Educator and Presenter:
For a free fix, scrolling through my music on my phone and tapping on my favourite tunes is my way to a touch of instant joy! Three minutes of pure release accessible pretty much anywhere. Even heart-breaking stories of betrayal work for me. I smile. In a moment, my serotonin levels receive a boost, and my immune system thanks me. I recommend tapping your tunes.
David Robertson, Director of Jader Ltd:
I have found that, to aid a healthier being, one needs to find those that are one’s friends, and help them as you would help yourself, or want to be helped. In this life, one cannot have enough friends to share in the laughter and the tears. I suppose that I have done well, as I have many friends. Some of whom are as yet unknown to me.
Kim Uzzell, Financial Wellbeing Coach:
Wellbeing is for life, not just for Summer! Did you know it is #worldwellbeingweek ? No? Well, it is….but like all these awareness weeks, wellbeing isn’t just something to be considering for a random week in midsummer. Wellbeing isn’t just a “one and done” thing – it is ongoing. Your teams have challenges to deal with that change throughout the year. YOU as a business owner, senior associate or other leader have challenges that change throughout the year. At the Financial Wellbeing Academy we are passionate about delivering excellence in Financial wellbeing support for your teams throughout the year. By offering regular support on a range of topics that will encourage better budgeting, easier money conversations, informed financial decision making, we can ease financial anxiety, reduce workplace stress, improve financial resilience and help build better financial futures all round. Now isn’t THAT worth more than just one week!
Featured image: Kate Smith, Slow You Down Wellbeing