The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature. At WPG we’ve been considering Mental Health UK’s five ways to wellbeing. These valuable measures can really impact how we feel, and the lessons can also be brought into our working life. Here are our top tips for boosting wellbeing at home and work:
Being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ has been shown to be associated with a positive mental state. Check in with each of your senses when you’re outdoors – what can you see, hear, touch, feel and taste (that last one is perhaps less relevant unless you happen to have brought treats!)
Being in the moment at work might take the shape of dumping multi-tasking for single tasking. When we multi-task we’re asking our brain to switch quickly and repeatedly from one thing to the next, it’s actually an incredibly inefficient way of working. So, why do people still do it? According to research by Zheng Wang at Ohio State University, it makes us feel more productive. But in terms of output, the opposite is true.
WPG Founding Partner, Dr Maire Kerrin is a big fan of a long walk (and talk) in the countryside when it comes to being in the moment. Pre-Covid the walk would end in a pub but in recent times she’s had to rely on her trusty flask of tea for sustenance. Our Senior Consultant, Charlotte Flaxman, is also a fan of finding new places to explore, particularly near water as she says it relaxes her, and our office manager Jo Hasse recommends taking the time to listen to birdsong and watch the clouds!
Connection is about relating to other people and feeling understood. It’s also about recognising that relationships need nurturing and allowing time for that.
Try to be open to expanding the circle of people you connect with. This can be particularly relevant at work – it’s great to connect with people who have different opinions and experiences to you. That’s how we grow.
WPG’s Senior Consultant, Sam Sheridan has the ideal solution for combining connecting with others and connecting with nature. As he tells us: “I like to go glamping so that I can get outdoors but still be my usual glamorous self!”
Regular physical activity is known to help with depression and anxiety across all age groups. And that doesn’t necessarily mean getting a sweat on, a walk is great, kicking a ball with the kids or having a dance around the kitchen all tick the activity box. It’s about finding something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good.
At work, it can be easy to become deskbound. Sitting at that keyboard for hours on end. But a quick standing stretch and a wander every hour can provide a valuable physical and mental break. Perhaps you could volunteer to make the tea – or just swap the lift for the stairs.
WPG’s Amelia Powell is an avid hiker and sea swimmer, especially while at home in Ireland! She assures us that both are a nice refreshing way to start the day! And she kindly supplied the beautiful photo to illustrate this blog. Meanwhile, our Finance Director Amy tells us that a walk with her dogs is a firm part of her daily routine!
Evidence suggests that ‘giving back’ or helping others promotes wellbeing for all ages. Why not do something nice for another person? Send a thank you card or consider volunteering with a local charity – there are lots of options available. Apart from the benefits to the local community of people getting involved, volunteering can also provide opportunities to meet people (we’re back to connecting) and to learn new skills.
At work, you could offer to mentor a junior member of the team. Or perhaps organise a community involvement day where the whole team contributes to a local project or initiative.
Learning something new is good for your brain. Trying something different, going back to an old interest or signing up for a course can also improve confidence and widen our skillset. Even something as simple as mastering a new recipe can bring a great sense of fulfilment.
In the workplace, seek out relevant training opportunities to deepen and broaden your skills and knowledge. Once again, this is a confidence boost and enhances your professional credibility.
WPG’s Senior Consultant, Vicky Roe and Psychologist Elis Sugiyarto have both recently taken up gardening. Vicky loves that there is always something new to see or learn, while Elis is rightly proud of her most recent chilli crop. We’re sure they will soon be giving WPG’s Founding Director and resident avid gardener, Fiona Patterson, a run for her money!
As the days get brighter, getting outside and taking a break following a long day of looking at screens has been a big part of our discussion lately. WPG’s Jessica, Jordan, and Melissa are all strong supporters of making the effort to get outside. Jessica says “taking the time to get out and explore, even if only for a short while really does change my perspective and lift my mood!”, and we totally agree!
We hope that we’ve given you some ideas for boosting your wellbeing at home and at work. We’d love to hear what works for others so do get in touch and let us know.