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The Five Ways to Wellbeing

24th March 2020

The five ways to wellbeing were created to improve an individual’s wellbeing. Evidence has shown that introducing these 5 ways into your life can positively impact on your mental health and wellbeing and increase your happiness.

Connecting

Social connection is good for our health. A strong social connection can lead to an increased chance of longevity and can strengthen your immune system and potentially lengthening your life. Connecting with people can also lower levels of anxiety and increase a person’s self-esteem.

With many people working from home and practicing social distancing these days, inhibiting or suppressing social connection can stifle productivity and performance. Organisations who establish and encourage social networking within the workplace often will see their workforce flourish. Therefore, organisations should encourage their employees to strike a balance between their work life and personal life. This can be achieved through the following ways:

  • Promotion of the organisation’s family-friendly policies and flexible working policies. These policies can encourage employees to establish and maintain a suitable work-life balance that allows them to connect with friends and family
  • Allow your employees to spend quality time with their families by not sending emails at weekends. If you feel the need to send emails at weekends, put a delay on them so they reach the recipients during work hours
  • Introduce social walks at lunchtime to encourage employees to meet other people from across different departments. This will also have the bonus of encouraging your workforce to be more active.

From a personal point of view, individuals should consider:

  • Striking up a conversation with someone new (All of your friends started as new friends.)
  • Keep in touch with friends and family using social media. Phone or use facetime for added connectivity
  • Keep in touch with elderly relatives who may be feeling isolated. Give them a call or post them a card if you want.

Be active

It is in the best interest of employers to encourage their employees to be more physically active. Participating in regular physical activity ensures that people remain strong, healthy and functioning properly. Physical activity has also been identified as a reliever of stress, anxiety and depression.

A healthier, more active workforce will be more productive, will have lower absence rates and have a more positive outlook of their health. As such, the employer should be encouraging their workforce to be more active by providing opportunities in the workplace:

  • Introduce physical activity challenges across your organisation. To maximise participation link in with seasonal trends such as new year resolutions, summer holidays etc.
  • Redesign the workplace environment to promote physical activity. Implement standing desks or even better, treadmill desks, to encourage employees to change their posture. Remove bins and printers to a central point to encourage movement.
  • Encourage employees to have lunch away from their desk.

From a personal point of view. Individuals should consider:

  • Go for a 20-minute walk.
  • Cycle to work.
  • Join a gym class, such as martial arts or yoga.

Take notice

Have you ever travelled from one place to another and wondered how you got there or rushed down your food without savouring the taste? We often live our lives on autopilot, in the forever busy world we live in. Even when we don’t have anything to do, our minds can often be occupied with worry about different things.

Living in the present, paying attention to what is happening around us, recognising our thoughts and observing how we feel can help with our mental health and impact positively. Focusing on the past or worrying about the future can create negative thinking which can have a negative effect on the body and mind of an individual.  By focusing on the present, and taking a break from these thoughts, the mind readjusts itself to relive these negative feelings. Additionally, installing the taking notice trait into our lives can widen our self-awareness. We can control, explore and choose our behaviours that are relevant to particular settings.

To encourage your employees to take notice, organisations should:

  • Introduce mindfulness sessions to their workforce.
  • Introduce a photography competition for employees, whereby they can be creative
  • Link in with local art or music venues and encourage employees to visit.

Individuals can

  1. Slow down and take notice of how you are feeling.
  2. Play a musical instrument
  3. When walking, look up and observe the people around you and admire the architecture.

Learn

We are never too old to learn something new. We are constantly learning new things throughout our lives and by doing so we continue to develop. Consistent learning within our lives allows us to continually develop skills and enrich our lives through our experiences. Learning allows us to aspire to reach our potential and achieve self-actualisation. Learning is good for our health and has been shown to improve our wellbeing. Evidence has shown that those who continue to learn after childhood have improved wellbeing and a greater ability to cope with anxiety.

Experiencing and overcoming new challenges is part of our development and can help us feel better about ourselves. Achieving our goals and objectives helps us feel better equipped to deal with new challenges and increases confidence when dealing with new challenges. Attending new courses or groups will allow you to benefit from connecting with other people. Although we can learn by ourselves, often learning and spending time with others can benefit our mental health and wellbeing.

To encourage your employees to learn:

  • Create a book club; that will encourage employees to read.
  • Offer educational and development opportunities to your employees to enhance their skills and knowledge.
  • Delegate duties to employees as part of their personal development.

Individuals can

  • Do a crossword puzzle or a sudoku
  • Apply for a new learning course
  • Join a group with similar interests as you. For example. dance, sport, choir.

Give

Giving has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. A study by Harvard Business School professor that giving money to someone else lifted the participants’ happiness more than spending it themselves. Additionally, researchers have been measuring the benefits of giving and found that giving can reduce stress and depression. Indeed, Stephen G. Post, professor of preventative medicine suggests that giving is just as important to maintaining health as eating healthily and avoiding obesity. Giving and volunteering may not necessarily stop the effects of unhealthy choices, however, it will make you feel better and improve your mental health.

To help employees, organisations can:

  • Organise events such as dress down Friday’s, where employees pay a nominal fee for the pleasure and all money goes to a charity of their choice at the end of the year. This can add to the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Implement a volunteer policy that allows employees to use an allocated day to help a deserving cause
  • Encourage your employees to help each other and compliment those employees that take time out to help others.

Individuals can

  • Give their time up to help someone. This will also allow them to connect with others and reap the benefits of this.
  • Volunteer in your local community

When implementing any of the 5 ways to wellbeing you should aim to embed these new behaviours within your current lifestyle; this will ensure and increase the likelihood of you sticking to this.

If you want to learn more about how you can help your staff please email our team on info@healthatworkcentre.org.uk.

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