At this time of year everywhere we look, there are messages encouraging us to make changes. Exercising more, improving our diet and cutting out alcohol will all improve our physical health, but it is important not to forget to look after your mental health. Everyone is at risk of poor mental health, regardless of their age, gender, sexuality or culture, and any situation can trigger poor mental health. There are things we can all do to increase our overall happiness, resilience and of course mental health.
As an employer, promoting the following 5 steps can help you feel more positive and help get the most out of life. As an employee, try to build these into your daily life to help you feel more positive and improve your wellbeing. Evidence shows that these really can help.
Building and maintaining different social connections can increase your feelings of happiness and self-worth. You could start by saying hello and starting a conversation with a colleague you haven’t really spoken to before, make sure you say good morning and good evening as you leave work!
Lots of gyms have special offers at the start of the year for new members, does your company have any special deals? You don’t have to join to start being active. Going for a walk in your lunchbreak and finding local cycle paths to actively travel to work or for leisure at the weekend helps to get you moving more and improve your physical fitness. Starting a lunchtime walk with colleagues can also help you connect.
Learning about new topics can help grow your mind. Are there new skills you can discuss in your one to one, to help you develop? Reading and using online resources can help improve your awareness or inspire you to learn about a new topic. There are lots of local clubs and groups catering for all types of interest, see what’s happening in your area. Look for taster or training courses, it doesn’t need to cost much, and some are free.
Lending someone a hand, volunteering or providing support in some way are all ways you can give to others. Holding a door open for someone in the office, offering to help someone struggling with their bags or equipment going up the stairs, organising a workplace food bank donation or offering to help in your local community can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel more satisfied. Does your workplace support volunteering? And remember, be kind to one another!
Being more aware of what is going around us can help us feel happier and content in the moment and ourselves and can help to refocus the mind. It’s easy to get our heads down at work and isolate ourselves. Taking a moment to look, listen and absorb what is going on when we are at work or when travelling means we appreciate and can experience new sights and sounds. All of which contributes to a feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
Whether you take a minute or an hour each day there is something you can do to be happier, every little step you take can help to improve your own mental health and wellbeing. We spend a third of our waking hours in work, could we build the above into a few minutes per day?
For more details about the 5 steps to wellbeing visit:
If you require assistance with mental health issues for yourself or someone you know please visit:
• Emotional wellbeing, Northamptonshire County Council: https://www3.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/health/pages/emotional-wellbeing.aspx
• Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/
• Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/
• Every Mind Matters toolkit for the workplace: https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/every-mind-matters/
Public Health Northamptonshire is a Directorate within Northamptonshire County Council. Since 1 April 2013, Local Authorities have been responsible for improving the health of their local population with national public health functions overseen by Public Health England. The team commissions services with the aim of giving every child the best start in life, encouraging people to take responsibility for their health and make the best choices, promoting independence and quality of life for older residents and creating an environment for all the flourish. They also have a delivery team that you may see out and about in the community.