Five tips to mental wellbeing
Research has shown that there are five things that you can do to really boost your wellbeing. They're the wellbeing equivalent of your ‘five fruit and veg a day'.
These five things - connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give - can help you to manage life’s ups and downs.
Try them and see. They can make a big difference.
In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, please make sure you socially distance when you are out and about. For more information, read our public health advice and about the current restrictions in Lambeth.
Connect with the people around you - this can be your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Think of these as cornerstones in your life. If you spend time developing these connections, they will sustain you.
More ideas for connecting include:
- calling a friend, or meeting face-to-face rather than using social media (don't forget to social distance!)
- putting aside a few minutes to find out how someone really is
- speaking to someone new
- joining a group or club (these may currently be limited due to coronavirus restrictions)
- attending an event. Free social events happening across the borough are listed on Love Lambeth. If you're an older person, you can find free local events and groups on Age UK Lambeth.
2. Be active
You don't have to go to the gym to be active. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Do some gardening. Dance. Activity doesn’t need to be intense - even stretching can be effective.
Exercise is not just good for our physical health, it is also great for our mental wellbeing. It can help protect us against depression, low mood and anxiety.
Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life:
- Try and do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Put on your favourite song and dance.
- Do some gardening.
- Meet others with gardening interests by finding an Incredible Edible Lambeth community garden.
- How about walking? Walking is simple, free and clears your head. You just need a comfy pair of shoes. If you want to walk with other people, join a local walking group.
- Located on estates, try one of Lambeth's free outdoor gyms.
- Try a new sport. We have a range of sports facilities offered through leisure centres.
- Make the most of the outdoors. We have over 60 parks and children’s play areas.
3. Take notice
Try to be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you.
Be curious. Note the changing seasons. Are you rushing through life without taking the time to notice things around you?
Savour the moment – whether you are walking somewhere, eating lunch or talking to friends. Some people call this awareness 'mindfulness'.
More ideas for taking notice:
- When you are out and about, stop and look at the things that you normally rush past.
- Eat slowly and enjoy the taste of every mouthful.
- Listen to some music.
- Notice your thoughts and feelings and be mindful. This can be practised anywhere.
- Make meditation and mindfulness simple by downloading the free Headspace app.
4. Keep learning
Try something new, or rediscover an old interest. Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and newfound confidence.
So, why not sign up for that cookery course? Why not learn to play the piano? Or figure out how to fix your bike, or cook your favourite food?
Learning keeps us mentally healthy into older age.
More ideas for learning include:
- reading a poem each day this week
- taking up a new challenge and keeping it going for at least six weeks
- learning about history - in Brixton, entry is free to the national Black cultural archives
- visiting the library
- trying a new recipe - you could download the One You Easy Meals app
- learning some new skills by enrolling at Lambeth College.
Even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a 'thank you', or a kind word to a friend or a stranger.
Things like volunteering at your local community centre can improve your mental wellbeing, as well as helping you build new social networks, no matter what age you are.
More ideas for giving include: