Five Ways to Wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are steps you can take to improve your wellbeing, which will make you feel more positive and able to get more out of life. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple and effective strategies that help improve mental health and general wellbeing:
- Connect – reach out to the people around you (friends, family and colleagues)
- Keep learning – experiment with something new, or revisit an old hobby
- Take notice – appreciate the small moments in life and be present with people
- Be active – maintain physical health by walking, running, cycling or dancing
- Give – do something nice for a friend/stranger, volunteer, or join a community group
Current research tells that the practice of good wellbeing can be achieved in small chunks throughout the day. Physician and author Dr Rangan Chatterjee (2019) states that 5 minutes is really enough time to make a difference.
To make a start, try introducing new daily/weekly wellbeing activities into your routine. To encourage wellbeing in teams, try one the activities listed in the The Five Ways to Wellbeing to Wellbeing at Work Toolkit.
Be Present: Take time out for you
The largest tech firms of 2019 report that the average smart device owner spends 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone, whether that be messaging, scrolling, shopping, reading or Googling. Take time to reflect on how this amount of screen time can impact on your workday, and put things in place to avoid being managed by your distractions.
- Manage expectations upfront about your flexible working patterns – add your working hours to your email signature, or share your working preferences with colleagues.
- Create ‘digital detox breaks’ to be fully present in the conversation with colleagues, friends and family members, at work and at home.
- Block your lunch breaks in your diary, move away from your workspace and allow yourself some time dedicated to you – nobody else.
Connect: Schedule social gatherings
Connecting with others is vital to our wellbeing, and there’s plenty that we can do to maintain our social connections. Why not schedule a regular slot for some social team time, whether that be virtual coffee break or quiz night?
Set some ground rules:
- Open up the space for people to talk about their general wellbeing and not work-related tasks.
- Make sure colleagues know that their participation is optional; they don’t need to feel under pressure to share.
- Stick to a regular time slot and plan for a closing time.
Give: Support the people around you
Helping others is associated with increased feelings of wellbeing. The act of giving back can be achieved in many ways, whether that’s supporting your friends, family and neighbours or volunteering your services with the wider community.
- Donate your time to support and regenerate your local community by volunteering via do-it.org.
- Do a random act of kindness for a friend, colleague or neighbour.
- Support our Queen Mary community by joining one of our networks or mentoring our staff and students.
Keep Learning: Join our Wellbeing Workshops
Learning about anything can improve your mental well-being by boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem. Try learning to cook something new, take up a new hobby or take on a new role e.g. offer to mentor a new member of staff.
Organisational & Professional Development and Researcher Development (for researchers and PhD supervisors) offer mental health wellbeing for individuals and general wellbeing for managers aimed at supporting teams and your own wellbeing.
Workshops explore the dimensions of wellbeing, common causes of work-related stress and discussions around preventing and managing workplace stressors.
Enrol by searching for ‘wellbeing’ on the CPD booking system.
Be Active: Move for your mental health
According to Dr Srini Pillay (2016), Harvard Health Publishing, simply moving benefits your overall mental health. Regular physical movement is associated with elevated mood and increased levels proven exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain, which decreases stress and even depression.
- Start your own local walk or run club.
- Suggest taking conference calls over the phone so you can walk and talk at the same time.
- Choose walking or cycling over using public transport.
- Join our QMULSU Get Active activities programme