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Take 5 to look after your wellbeing

There are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

These can be done at any time and don't need to cost anything other that time and commitment.

Why not 'take five' to try things that could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life?

1. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:

  • Help you build a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • Give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • Provide emotional support and allow you to support others

There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships:

  • If possible, take time each day to be with your family. For example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
  • Arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while
  • Try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family
  • Have lunch with a colleague
  • Visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
  • Volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group. You can find out how to volunteer on the Voluntary Norfolk website
  • Make the most of technology to stay in touch with family and friends. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart
  • Visit a wellbeing hub

Try not to rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only ever texting or emailing people.

2. Be physically active

Being active is not just great for your physical health and fitness - it can all improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Raising your self-esteem
  • Helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
  • Causing chemical changes in your brain which can help you positively change your mood

To get active, you could:

Try not to feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life.

3. Learn new skills

Learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
  • Helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • Helping you to connect with others

You could try:

  • Learning to cook something new - like one of these healthy recipes
  • Taking on a new responsibility at work - like mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
  • Working on a DIY project - like fixing a gate gate, broken bike, or something bigger. There are free video tutorials online, or you could join your local Men's Shed
  • Signing up for an Adult Learning course. You could learn a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing
  • New hobbies that challenge you - like writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint

Try not to feel you have to earn a new qualification or sit exams. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life.

4. Give to others

Acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
  • Giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • Helping you connect with other people

It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.

Some things you could try include:

  • Saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
  • Asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
  • Spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
  • Offering to help someone you know with a DIY or work project, or joining your local Men's Shed
  • Find out how to volunteer on the Voluntary Norfolk website

5. Pay attention to the present moment

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes taking notice of your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you.

Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.

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