Get your mind and body healthy
Life is full of challenges that can affect you. It’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body. This is why we’ve listed information on how to look after yourself. From sleeping well to exercising and engaging with other people (whether virtually or with distancing), read more to find out how to keep healthy.
Five ways to wellbeing
Have you heard of the Five Ways to Wellbeing? These are a set of evidence-based steps, developed by the New Economics Foundation, to promote healthy wellbeing.
At a time where our daily lives have changed so much and we face many new challenges, it is important to make time to look after our physical and mental health.
Connect, be active, learn new skills, give to others and take notice. Discover the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.
As lockdown continues in the UK, many people remain separated from their friends and family which can make us feel lonely, upset and anxious.
If you feel like you sometimes struggle to cope or need clarity on what reality is at the moment, there is help available.
The 30 – 3 – 30 Approach has been developed by 4 Mental Health. This site has collated ideas to help you cope and build your wellbeing using the 30-3-30 approach. These are simple, timed exercises that you can do anywhere for as long or little as you like.
- Take a few slow deep breaths. Breathe in, count to 3, breathe out, count to 3.
- Close your eyes, hold one hand in the other, squeeze gently and repeat “I can get through this”.
- Sit on a chair and focus on the sensation of the chair pressing onto your back and bottom.
- Take a few sips of cold water, focusing on the cooling feeling as you swallow it. Even better if the water is very cold or if you can add ice.
- Look out of a window or doorway. What can you see and hear? Anything new or unusual?
- Pick up a special photo or object that evokes happy memories and focus on what it means to you.
- Learn a favourite, inspiring quote by heart, or keep a written version handy to read.
- Think of 2 things that are ‘Just about OK’.
- Phone a loved one or friend for a quick chat. Leave a message if they don’t answer.
- Do a household task, like a quick bit of washing up, cleaning the bathroom mirror or making a bed.
- Make a hot drink in a mug and sip it slowly, feeling the warmth of the mug in both hands.
- Do a quick brain workout, such as a wordsearch, crossword or sudoku. Try the ‘Alphabet Game’ -choose a category, then using the alphabet in order, list as many words as you can.
- Listen to a favourite piece of music, something soothing or uplifting depending how you feel.
- Brush your teeth and brush or comb your hair. (even if you don’t really need to!).
- Write a worry list. Getting things down on paper can help stop them going around in your head. Now tackle them one by one.
- Phone someone for a quick hello.
- Pamper yourself with a luxurious bath, and maybe have scented candles and soothing music.
- Do a ‘proper sort-out’ of a cluttered kitchen cupboard, drawer, wardrobe or bookcase. Feel the satisfaction of having done something!
- Enjoy a TV or radio programme, either a recording of an old favourite or something new.
- Do something ‘mindful’. This means just focusing on the one thing you are doing: such as a bit of gardening, spending time on an indoor hobby, completing a jigsaw puzzle, or listening to an audiobook.
- Prepare a tasty meal or snack (perhaps a new recipe?) and eat it slowly, savouring every mouthful.
- Sing. At the top of your voice, sing all the songs you know, or just your favourites several times.
- Go out for some fresh air, if it’s safe and allowed. If not, are there any indoor exercises, yoga or stretches you can do?
- Phone a helpline. There are many charities and support organisations with professionally trained staff only a call away.
If you are looking for further support for your mental and physical health, take a look at the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.
If you feel like you need to speak to someone to get one-on-one help, make an appointment with your GP today.
Your wellbeing plan
As lockdown measures continue to be in place across the UK and many people face financial and emotional hardship, it can be easy to let your mental and physical wellbeing slip.
To help get you back on track, 4 Mental Health have created a 7 step action plan based on the 30-3-30 approach to simple wellbeing exercises.
Starting with an ‘Emergency reboot’: Write down the most helpful strategies that you can use any time or place if you feel like your mood has dramatically changed or you need help. This could be as simple as going outside to get some fresh air or perhaps a run to let off some steam.
Next, choose several 30 second exercises that you can do to help calm your mind and body. Try closing your eyes and laying down on the bed or taking in 3 deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth.
Write down a selection of 3 minute activities that help to calm, distract and motivate you. These can be physical exercises or mental stimulants such as meditating or listening to music.
Pick a 30 minute exercise that you enjoy doing. It can be anything from walking to cycling or swimming and running. Try to do this once a day.
Next, pick a luxury 30 minute exercise that you can do once a week and look forward to. Perhaps it’s getting your bike out and cycling to a new part of the city. Or, getting your yoga mat out on a Saturday morning and exercising in the front room.
Write down everything that you can do to look after yourself and remain healthy. This could be setting sleep goals, keeping a food diary or planning your daily exercises for the following week.
Finally, create a list of names and numbers for people you can contact if you ever feel overwhelmed by lockdown, an issue or life in general. Include the best times to contact them and a list of helpline numbers in case your support network is not available 24 hours a day.
Download the My Wellbeing Plan and start putting yourself first.
As well as supporting your physical health, being active can also have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
Physical exercise makes us feel good about ourselves, gives us confidence and improves our mood and alertness.
Being active doesn’t have to be a chore. Equally, for those people that thrive on exercise, we don’t need to overwork ourselves. If you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability.
Different ways to get active for people of different ages:
- early childhood (under 5 years old)
- young people (5 to 18 years old)
- adults (19-64)
- older adults (65 and over)
The NHS recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day for adults and 60 minutes for children. This can be anything that raises your heart rate from walking, jogging and cycling through to running, swimming and sports. See some tips to keep kids active
For example, could lockdown be the excuse to help you start your Couch to 5k journey?
For children and young people
You can watch this short mindful breathing exercise video on YouTube from Every Mind Matters.
Be Mindful is an online course for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
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