A good wellbeing guide for the festive season

Finola Colgan,  Development Officer Mental Health Ireland

Reporter:

Finola Colgan, Development Officer Mental Health Ireland

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Festive flourishing using five ways to wellbeing

Festive flourishing using five ways to wellbeing

We tend to live our lives through seasons and perhaps of all the times of year these next few weeks can prove to be both the most challenging and rewarding of all the seasons.

It is a time of year that lends itself to many expectations, greater awareness of family, friends, gifts, food drink and so on. Enjoyment is ideally the foundation to it all. However for many people these expectations can be both a source fulfilment and or frustration.

Familiarising yourself with the Five Ways to Wellbeing is recommended by Mental Health Ireland  as an excellent way to help you maintain your mental wellbeing at what can be a stressful and or lonely time of year. It is more important than ever that we all look after our mental wellbeing during this time because the extra pressure and worry at this time of year can be difficult to manage midst the hustle and bustle of the festive season. Taking some small steps to look after yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.

We can make it more pleasant for ourselves and those around us by taking a step back and identify how these Five Ways can be supportive.

What are the Five Ways to Wellbeing?  They are Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning Take Notice and Give. This is an evidenced based research on Wellbeing tried out and implemented by the New Economic Forum in the UK. Mental Health Ireland has been to the forefront in Ireland in promoting these five ways (www.mentalhealthireland.ie) There is a place for each and every one of these five ways for us all irrespective of age or disposition in life at any time of the year. Their application to daily living  are relevant at any time of the year but can hold a greater personal significance as we go through the festive season and into the new year.

Connecting is the keystone to these five ways as when we connect we can be active, we can be learning, taking notice and be giving. If at the end of a busy perhaps even a challenging day we take time out to reflect on all these five ways we can realise that plenty of pleasant things did occur during the day. We will sleep more contently and wake up feeling more confident.

So how can we consider these five ways? There are many ways we can connect and this is particularly through at this time of the year. It is about connecting with people and places around us. Connect with the people around you, such as your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Many of these relations and friendship are cornerstones in life and worth investing in during any season.

Having said all of that there is a reality check that this time of year can also be lonely for some people consequently it is important to be with family and friends that you may have not been in contact with in recent times. This can be very helpful if you are feeling low mood. It may also be helpful for that person as well. Talking and chatting is always very helpful. Create opportunities to connect over a cup of tea or coffee for the chat. This can help lift all moods

Sometimes to connect we have to disconnect from regular use of social media and its like in order to have face to face contact as you will share a lot more. Opportunities for talking this way can provided a useful way to getting to grips with a matter that might be niggling at you and or the person you are with. Within the family setting have a go at having a WIFI free hour

Be Active, it is difficult not to be active around this time of year, shopping, cooking and so on. However it is important to build in some personal time for yourself to enjoy being active which could be taking a walk or a stroll.  This can help have quiet time for yourself you and or enjoy someone else’s company. Check out at Longford Sports Partnership what is going on locally. Exercise is only one of many ways of being active however it is not everyone’s cup of tea, so get out a pack of cards, some of the tradition board games. Playing them can generate lots of fun and chat and some healthy disputes!!! Introduce a family free Wi-Fi hour.

Take Notice Given that there is so much going on at this time of the year, it is easy to miss out on what is important because there is so much and toing and froing, Take time out to reflect on the true meaning of the season much going on it is important we appreciate what’s happening now, and not dwell on the past or worry about the future.  Pop into your local library and see what books on Mindfulness or find out what opportunities are available in your community to join in on Mindfulness classes. It can be a great way to de-stress and train our brain to be in the moment.

Keep Learning, there is no truth in the statement that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Not so!Learning isn’t always about school or college life, it can be as practical as learning for example how to bake something new, take up a new hobby, and join your local library. Take time out to read a book, our local libraries are treasure troves and are free to join. Take time to read your local newspaper or newsletter – find out what’s going on in your area, such as music or cultural performances, then organise a group outing.

Give, this is a season that revolves around giving sometimes to excess. It is also a time to remember that less is more, in other words it is not about material gifts. What can be more valuable or personable that giving of your time your presence, a friendly hello and a smile. If you know someone who might be lonely or on their own over the season reach out and say hello.

It’s been proven that an act of kindness boosts your mood and increases your wellbeing, share your parking ticket when there is time left on it In a busy supermarket  queue you can you let someone with lesser shopping go ahead.

There is a buddy seat in the Bridge Shopping Centre sponsored by Tullamore MHA with the inscription “Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day”. Because of stress and possible anxiety, and rushing around we may very well miss out on the good thing. Take time out to build these five ways into your life and promote them with your family and friends,

www.yourmentalhealth.ie  or call Samaritans Freephone: 116 123. It is okay not to be okay, but it is not ok not to do something about those feelings.