‘New year, new you’ has long been a motto for January, as we endeavour to cleanse ourselves after the indulgences of the festive season. Dr Mathijs Lucassen, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health and Dr Jitka Vseteckova, Senior Lecturer in Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at The Open University, talk us through their five top tips for wellbeing.
Connect with the people around you, including your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Building these connections will support and enrich your every day life.
Strong relationships can allow us to share our feelings and know that we are understood. They provide us with an opportunity to share our experiences and can give us the emotional support we need, as well as the chance to support others.
Think: Who do you connect with most frequently and which connections matter the most to you?
Go for a walk or run, cycle, play sport or garden. Exercise is good for you. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Regular exercise is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Physical activity is also thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively influence our mood.
Think: What forms of exercise work for you and how can you stay active over the colder winter months?
Be curious and ‘catch sight of the beautiful’. Notice and comment on the unusual. Savour the moment, whether you are walking in a park, eating your 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.
Think: How do you create an awareness of your body’s sensations, thoughts and feelings?
Try something new or rediscover an old interest. Sign up for a course or take on a different responsibility at work. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food.
By setting yourself a new challenge you can enjoy achieving a goal. Learning new things can also make you more confident as well as being fun.
Think: Is there something you would like to learn in 2019?
Do something nice for another person and thank others. You could volunteer your time or join a community group. View yourself, and your happiness, as linked to your wider social networks and community, because this can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Helping others gives us a sense of purpose and builds feelings of self-worth. Plus giving our time also helps us strengthen our relationships and build new ones.
Think: In what ways do I give to others?
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