The 5 Ways to Well-being are becoming more widely known and are a simple way to look after yourself and ensure some balance in your life. Here I share specific tips to apply them during lockdown.
For many people before lockdown, Zoom was the noise a fast car made! Now, it’s used as a verb – ‘let’s have a Zoom’. Just in case for some reason you haven’t heard of it, Zoom is a video calling platform that allows you to have face to face calls with someone else anywhere in the world. For me, it’s been a godsend. I live on my own so having regular video calls has been a great way for me to stay connected. There are alternative video calling platforms such as Skype, What’s App, Messenger… The nice thing about video calls is that you can actually see the other person. However, the good old landline phone can be a great way to stay connected with people too – for many older people the digital world is less accessible. Or, huge novelty, why not revert to pen and paper and write a letter. I love getting mail that isn’t a bill or junk.
Make an effort to say hello to your neighbours or people you pass on your walk. A simple ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ can lift someone’s spirit no end.
Whichever way you do it, staying connected with other people on a regular basis is vital for our well-being.
Autumn is such a beautiful time of year – it’s hard not to take notice of the changing colours of leaves as they fall to the ground and create a carpet underfoot. Take a deep breath when you walk through woods and notice the distinct smell of fallen leaves, listen to the crunch of them underfoot (or notice how squelchy they are after heavy rain!). See how many different colours you can spot while out walking or driving.
As we move closer to Christmas the festive lights start to appear in people’s houses or gardens, bringing a little sparkle and cheer. Go for a walk near where you live and admire the colourful creations.
Notice the temperature difference when you come in from a cool walk and enjoy a hot drink – noticing the warmth spreading through your body.
‘The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’. Marcel Proust
When we are present in the moment and really look, there are so many things we could take notice of!
For those of you who already follow me, you’ll know I love being active by walking. For me, walking in the great outdoors is one of the simplest, most accessible forms of exercise and can be adapted for just about anyone. And, as already mentioned, walking at this time of year is a real treat for the senses.
If you struggle to get out (or are self-isolating) there are many things you can do in your home too. Housework is surprisingly active – clean your house and get your heart beating faster. Going up and down your stairs a couple of times is also a great way to raise your heart rate. Have some fun by putting on your favourite music and dancing round the house (add in singing and get your lungs going too!). Or if you prefer more formal exercise look up online classes or head to You Tube and search for what you fancy.
To get the best results from physical activity you should be aiming for 25 – 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, which means you feel warm, your heart is beating a bit faster but you can still hold a conversation. It doesn’t need to be done all in one go – short bursts throughout the day are fine.
Keeping our brains active and stimulated can help to keep the boredom away as well as being good for us. There’s nothing like curling up on the sofa with a good book when it’s grey and miserable outside. Or for a bit of added stimulation read personal development books or articles and then think about how you can apply the learning in your day to day life. I also like listening to podcasts (these are audios of people talking about particular subjects or interviewing different people). There are podcasts on a huge variety of things! I’ve enjoyed listening to The Happiness Lab.
Learning could be more informal too, for example trying out a new recipe or taking up a new hobby. Again, look online at You Tube or just do a search for whatever it is you want to learn.
Most people feel a warm glow when they do something nice for others. There are many ways in which we can ‘give’. We could give financially by donating to charity or buying from local businesses in these difficult times. Giving doesn’t have to just be about money though, it could be more practical. How about helping friends, family or neighbours learn how to use video calls so they can stay connected. Offer to do shopping for people who are struggling to get out for whatever reason. Volunteer as a befriender, making calls to those who are isolated (Age UK and B:Friend are 2 charities that have befriending services). Use your creative skills and make face masks, woolly hats or scarves etc for those in need. Think outside the box and share your skills with others.
What tips do you have for applying the 5 Ways to Well-being to your day to day living?