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Even in more ordinary times, change and uncertainty can provoke anxiety, particularly for those who experience anxiety already.
So how can we look after our wellbeing?
Research (Government Office for Science, 2008) has suggested there are five simple things we can do in our day-to-day lives to enhance our wellbeing; connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give.
The need for connection is an innate part of being human. In the past, it has been necessary for people to work together and communicate to survive and thrive. This is partly why it feels good to catch up with a friend or help someone out.
Although we’re currently being advised to practice social distancing and minimise physical contact with others, there are still lots of way to stay connected.
We’re fortunate to be living in a time where we have many different methods of connecting with others, whether it’s through a phone call, a text, or a video call.
Perhaps challenge yourself to reach out to a different person every day of the week. Check-in with them, and take some time to catch up on what has been going on since the last time you spoke.
When we talk about being active, we’re simply talking about moving your body in any way that feels good for you.
This could be doing some gentle exercise such as an online workout, or going for a walk or jog in a local green space if the current guidance allows it. You could also do some gardening or get dancing to your favourite song.
Ideally, you’re aiming for an intensity that results in your heart beating a little faster and your breathing rate to increase, but not so hard that you couldn’t maintain a conversation.
If you’re new to activity, start with five to ten minutes of gentle movement and progress at a pace that feels right for you.
Most importantly, remember that some activity is better than nothing.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life it’s easy to become disconnected from the outside world and get caught up in the things we need to get done or deal with.
Slowing down and taking time to intentionally notice the world around you can be really good for gaining a sense of control, and focusing on becoming more present in the moment.
If you’re unsure how to start, as you sit reading this article answer these five questions:
- What can you see?
- What can you hear?
- What can you feel?
- What can you smell?
- What can you taste?
Use these questions to help yourself be more present next time you are in the garden, eating a meal, or doing something else you enjoy. They can help you to be more present in any situation.
As we’re currently spending more time indoors, now could be a good opportunity to dust off an old hobby or explore a new interest.
You could start to learn to play a musical instrument, read that pile of books you have wanted to read, study an online course, learn a new language, or spend more time cooking or baking.
The list of options is endless.
Learning something new or completing a task we’ve been putting off can give us a sense of achievement, which in turn can be really good for your wellbeing.
When we talk about giving, lots of people automatically think about tangible giving, such as giving money or donating goods to charity.
Whilst these are both great ways to support the work of local and national charities, there are lots of other ways we can give in order to support our friends, family and our local community.
You could use your knowledge and expertise to support someone else, whether it’s teaching someone how to shop online, or helping to solve a tough math’s question. It’s all giving back.
Even just calling an elderly relative or someone who lives alone, to check-in and catch-up is helpful and supportive to those around you.
There are lots of ways we can all support one another. Giving back is not only helpful to those receiving your help and generosity, but it also helps our wellbeing by keeping us connected.
Jina Tanton Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, Warwick Sport
Jina has a background in Sport and Exercise Physiology and enjoys climbing, running and yoga.
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