Check in with your Five Ways to Wellbeing

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With longer evenings and a quieter month, Izzy Anwell of Dorset Mind reminds us to do the five-step check-in with our own wellbeing

The month of June was jam-packed as everyone grappled with fitting their regular workload around an extended Jubilee bank holiday and half term.
It’s safe to say that July is much quieter – and the longer days and shorter nights give us more time to focus on the things that are important to us, like spending time with family and friends, our hobbies and our interests. We suddenly have more brain space to consider our own wellbeing. It’s time to check in and re-apply the Five Ways to Wellbeing to our routines …

Take notice
In an effort to ‘check in’ with ourselves, we need to take more notice of what our bodies and minds need. A study by BITC (Business in the Community) from 2020 showed that 41 per cent of employees reported having experienced mental health symptoms which were caused, or worsened, by work in 2020. With burnout levels still on the rise, it is time for us to become more vigilant in spotting the signs of stress and especially workplace stress. Making time for ourselves and our interests outside of work is a necessity when trying to build a healthy work/life balance. Next time you’ve had a stressful day at work, organise to see a friend or do something that makes you feel good.

Getting active
Incorporating even a low level of exercise into our routines can help us to de-stress, as it regulates the body’s stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Regular exercise isn’t for everyone, but ‘getting active’ doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Walking, for example, is a free, easy way to get active if you’re able to get out and about. It helps to build stamina and improve your heart’s health. And a long walk in the sunshine after work is a sure-fire way to blow away cobwebs and flat moods.

Learn
Learning something new – an activity or new hobby – improves brain health and create new neural pathways. It could also potentially introduce you to a new community of like-minded people.

Connect
We all probably feel as though we’ve been doing an awful lot of connecting during the month of June, whether that was at a Jubilee street party, a Pride march or a bank holiday barbecue, but it is important to consider whether we really took the time to check in with our loved ones and whether we know how they are actually doing.
One in four people experiences a diagnosable mental health problem each year, which roughly equates to 16 million people across the UK. From this statistic it is clear that you’re likely to know someone suffering in silence and who could use your support.
Simply asking the seemingly insignificant question ‘Are you OK?’ really can make a difference. The power of this small gesture is often underestimated. It could be all that is needed to start an important conversation. However, others may need a second gentle push to get them talking, it is important to always ask twice. You’ll always get the truth the second time around.

Give back
The two most common reasons for volunteering were that people wanted to ‘improve things and help people’ or that ‘the cause was important’.
Why not make your new hobby/activity fundraising or volunteering for us? Dorset Mind offers several volunteer positions across the charity and you can offer support to help local people’s mental health.
When we feel overwhelmed it may feel like we have nothing more to offer. However, individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. When we ‘give back,’ we ‘get back’ in return.

Find out more about the Five ways to look after your mind and body here.
If you’d like to volunteer for Dorset Mind, head to the website here.
Dorset Mind offers 1-2-1 and group support across Dorset that helps people with common mental health problems like anxiety, stress and depression. Find out more here.

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