What are the five ways to wellbeing?

If you or the tamariki are feeling... blah, uncertain or a bit irritable? Rest assured this is totally normal - it's an uncertain time and a bit stressful.
It also acts as a great sign that our body and brain are on form and telling us that we need a bit of a mental health boost. And just like eating well, sleeping well, exercising and staying hydrated boosts our physical health, there are also things we can do to boost our mental health. Let us explain…

Back in 2008, the British government contracted the New Ecomomics Foundation to come up with a set of actions that improve personal wellbeing. They wanted to develop the ‘5+ a day fruit and vege rule for wellbeing.

The rules were:

  • These had to be actions that anyone could do
  • There had to be evidence that they (when practised often) would make people feel better
  • The Foundation set off. They reviewed studies from around the world and conducted an enormous number of interviews.

In the end, they compiled a 27-page report that identified five key actions, which if done regularly are scientifically-proven to lift your wellbeing.

Connect, me whakawhanaunga
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active, me kori tonu
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice, me aro tonu
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning, me ako tonu
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Learn te reo. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give, tukua
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

So there you have it… The Five Ways to Wellbeing. While the 5 ways aren't a magic elixir that can wipe away our worries in an instant – but doing them frequently can, over time, lift our mood.

And the best thing is that looking after ourselves can make a big difference to our whānau, friends, and community.

If however, that blah feeling does stick about – do speak to an expert. A great place to start can be your GP.