5 ways to improve your health & wellbeing

5 ways to improve your health & wellbeing

We know that what we spend our time doing has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, particularly after experiencing the restrictions Coronavirus has put on our lives over the last 18 months. We’ve made a list of 5 things you can start doing today to benefit your health, mood and psychological wellbeing. 

Get outside

Spending time outside, especially with more natural surroundings, has so many benefits for our health and wellbeing; it can reduce stress and blood pressure, boost the immune system, improve mood, help manage depression and anxiety, and even improve our social skills!

There are so many ways to spend more time outdoors, whatever the weather:

  • Walking or running; alone or as part of a group
  • Sports groups; including football, paddle boarding, surfing or wild swimming
  • Eating; organise a picnic, BBQ’s, meet in a beer garden etc!
  • Making things; check out The Wildlife Trust for woodland craft and skills groups
  • Entertainment; including local outdoor music, cinema and theatre events
  • Gardening; if you don’t have a garden then check to see if there’s a community garden project nearby!
Physical exercise

Getting our bodies moving (however we choose to do it) can reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, has a positive impact on sleep and energy levels, and helps us manage challenges to our mental health associated with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and PTSD.

Get that heart rate up and work up a sweat in a way that works for you; walk, hike, go for a run, join a gym, play a sport, dance, get involved in gardening, do yoga, find a home workout you enjoy (the list goes on!) Check out Head Hacks for things to do near you and online to get more active!

Socialise

We’re all different when it comes to how we like to spend time with people; some of us prefer smaller groups or one-to-one, while others like big groups. However you connect with others, it’s great for our health; having been shown to be good for our immune systems, our brain functioning, resilience to stressful life events, mood and general happiness!

If you have people you see regularly then great! However there can be times in our lives where there are less people around us; maybe after moving to a new place, starting a new school or University, or having people we know move elsewhere. Luckily there are more social groups and activities starting up again as Coronavirus restrictions have been easing; in person, online, in larger and smaller groups, so you can spend time with others in a way that suits you!

Get creative

As we get older it’s easy to put more of a focus on being productive or ‘busy’ but there’s more evidence than ever now that those creative activities we look back on when we were younger are just as important now that we’re ‘grown up’!

Finding your own creative outlet can help lower feelings of anxiety and stress, reduce depressive symptoms, and increase mood and brain function! Not to mention it’s pretty fun and there’s so many different ways we can get creative:

  • Get artistic (paint, draw, colour-in, face paint, makeup)
  • Make something (knit, sew, woodwork, model kits, pottery)
  • Get musical (sing, play an instrument, make a playlist)
  • Dance
  • Take photos 
  • Cook or bake
  • Play games
  • Write
Be mindful

Practicing mindfulness can reduce anxiety, stress, ‘burnout’, and generally improves psychological well being. It can also help pain with management and other physical difficulties including incontinence. Some of us might automatically think of meditation when it comes to mindfulness, which isn’t an activity that appeals to everyone; however there are other ways to include mindfulness in your life including through mindful ‘doing’:

  • Pick an activity you enjoy or that’s convenient; like going for a walk, cooking a meal, eating or even doing the washing up!
  • Reduce distractions; pick a time you’ll be by yourself or it’s more quiet, put your phone away, turn off the music or TV
  • Keep your mind focused on the activity you’re doing; try to use all your senses – what can you see, hear, touch, taste, smell
  • It’s ok to get distracted; if your mind wanders and you start thinking about something else, that’s ok, notice it and try to redirect your attention back to the activity

Remember mindfulness is a skill; it might not be easy the first few times you try it but with practice you’ll hopefully find that it gets easier and see some of the benefits!

There are increasing opportunities, going on nearby and online, for us to get involved in the activities that are important to us and that will benefit both our physical and mental health.
Head Hacks has been set up with the aim of linking people up with these activities in their local areas and online. Check us out to find Things To Do near you!

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

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