Click on the links below for practical steps for how you can take to look after your mental wellbeing, following the 6 ways to wellbeing:
- Be active
Staying active and taking enough exercise can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It doesn't have to be costly either. Instead of joining the gym, go for a long walk. Find activities across the Kent area. Better Medway provides ideas to help you stay healthy. Change4Life has some great suggestions for foods and activities for your child - they're also great for adults too. Making Music South East supports music-making organisations in South East England. It has a directory of music groups, singing groups and choirs to help you find a singing or music group near you. Swimming can be a wonderful way of exercising and relaxing. It can help you de-stress and make you feel good. Explore Kent is a great resource for walking and cycling trails, as well as other activities such as canoeing and horse-riding.
- Keep learning
Learning new things can make you feel more confident about yourself, as well as being fun to do. Kent Adult Education and Medway Adult Education has a range of courses from a few hours and full days, those over 8 weeks. The Open University is a world leader in modern distance learning, enabling you to study at times and in places that are suitable to you. Kent and Medway Libraries offer a wide range of services - from free access to books, computers/ internet and information (including local history) to the hire of music, audio books and films. They also provide a wide variety of activities and events: Kent Libraries and Medway Libraries.
Keeping well in mind and body is something we all aspire to. This website shows you new ways to approach wellbeing, through learning to harness your natural creativity. Explore hundreds of creative activities, together with insights into their wellbeing benefits. Experience, for yourself the many ways that art can enhance your life. Expert advice will guide you all the way.
Start2 is made by arts and wellbeing team Start, an award-winning NHS service.
Visit the Start2 website.
Building connections with the people around you will support and enrich you every day. This could mean saying more than just hello to your neighbours, spending more time with your family and friends, connecting with your community. You could join a group or do an activity.
Connect with people through your faith and beliefs - Many people find that their faith, religion or beliefs provide them with a great sense of mental wellbeing and inner calm. Being part of a faith community, can create a sense of belonging and can be a good way of making friends.
Connect with people through art, dance and drama - this is a great way of helping your mood by doing something you love. Art is a great stress reliever. You could join an art club, take up an art lesson or simply pick up your brushes or pencils and start creating.
Connect with people through your love of nature - volunteering at places like the Kent Wildlife Trust may help.
- Take notice
Reflecting on the good things around you and taking time out can help you manage stress and recharge your batteries. Sometimes we just don’t stop. But it is important to find the time to sit back and relax. Reflecting on the good things around us and taking time out can help de-stress and re-charge.
At the end of the day, I like to take a cup of tea and sit at the bottom of the garden. I catch the last rays of sun and look at my flowers to see how they are doing. I might only have those 15 minutes, but it’s really important – it helps me unwind.
Relaxation techniques can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Meditation can have a positive impact on people’s mental and physical health. NHS Choices reports that a study in 2008 found that Buddhist meditation techniques can be just as effective at combating depression as medication.
NHS Choices has tips on how to relax.
Mind’s guide to relaxation explains how to introduce more relaxation into your everyday life, and how to take it further.
Mental Health Foundation has created a range of podcasts to help with your mental wellbeing.
Volunteering can be time well spent and it's a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and gain useful experience. Giving to others can be rewarding – and make you feel good. Simple acts such as helping out a friend or neighbour, making someone a cake or giving someone the time to talk about their worries really do make a difference.
Volunteering can be a fulfilling and worthwhile experience; you get the satisfaction of time and effort well spent and it's a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and gain useful experience. It should also be fun! We have lots of volunteering opportunities, either in our charity shops or at our services. Visit our pages on the Do-it.org website.
- Care for the planet
Looking after your home and community by recycling or reducing energy usage can make a big difference to the planet and make you feel good in the process. This may be a small thing - but it will also help your bank balance too - saving energy by turning off the heating when you're not at home and switching TVs and lights off when you don't need them on will hep you to save money. Rather than throwing out clothes you no longer wear, you could recycle them into a new sewing project or donate them to a charity.