Baby Steps to Wellbeing

Connect

illustration by kasia kurek

You can connect in so many ways. Connect with the people around you, such as your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Connect at home, work, school, or in your local community. Think of these relationships as the cornerstone of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

  • Become involved in groups; meet-ups online (people with similar issues or interests) –  join your local craft, sports, choir, hobby or book club and enjoying singing, sewing, playing a card game, visiting gardens or croquet on the lawn together.
  • Host a potluck dinner, or have a street BBQ, with neighbours or friends/family and bring food from different cultures.
  • Gather some friends for a DVD evening; ask people to share a film they like.
  • Smile at a stranger – you may be surprised by the smile you get back!
  • Connect with the family, get into the great outdoors – go on a bush walk, go surfing or mountain bike riding.
  • 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.
  • Have a family WIFI, TV and text free day and bring out the old board games you have – you may be surprised at how much fun they still are!Contact a friend you have not seen or spoken to for a while and talk, talk, talk!

Idea: Join a Social Anxiety Friendship Group or a Women’s Wellbeing Group

Give

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone, smile, or volunteer your time by joining a community group. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connection with the people around you. It feels good to give and everybody has something to offer. How will you play your part?

  • Join or start and develop a neighbourhood Time Bank.
  • Take opportunities to support and advocate for groups, friends, family or neighbours in need.
  • Give a smile away!
  • Organise or promote random acts of kindness days at school, work or when you’re out with a group.
  • While driving, stop to let a car into the traffic.
  • Offer to mow the grass verge of your neighbour.
  • Join a community clean up day – could be a local stream, river, beach or park – or a tree planting project with friends or family
  • If you have fruit trees pop your excess fruit out on the street with a “help yourself” sign.
  • Donate old toys, books, sports equipment, clothes etc to a local charity.
  • Help with school working bees and fundraisers.
  • Offer to help an older neighbour with their wheelie bins on rubbish/recycling days.
  • Give a compliment – acknowledge what someone in your life has done well.

Idea: Donate household items to charity

Take Notice

Be curious and catch sight of the beautiful, remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Try savouring 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.

  • Learn useful techniques for becoming more aware of life as it is happening. Stop for a while; take 10 mindful breaths in and out, calming the body and mind, then simply rest where you are noticing everything that is going on around you. This practice incorporates four keys aspects of mindfulness training: Stopping – Calming – Resting – Noticing. Together, these four steps are innately healing. Use an everyday environmental cue (the phone ringing, email alert etc) as a reminder to pause and breathe for three breath cycles, and take notice of the world around you.
  • Learn yoga or meditation, or have a massage to sooth and relax your body.
  • Be mindful of the first mouthful of food you eat. See if you can really pay attention to all the flavours and textures of the food, the act of chewing and the act of swallowing. During the following meal, see if you can be aware of the first two mouthfuls of food, and so on.
  • Take the opportunity to sit quietly in a busy place like an airport or a mall and notice the interactions between people.
  • Try to get out of your work environment during breaks. Go for a walk into a nearby park, being mindful of your breathing, your footsteps and the environment around you.
  • Spend time gardening or create a green space in your home or office where you could grow a few small planets, such as herbs, on a windowsill.
  • Take notice of the night sky. Be aware of what phase the moon is in and how the visible constellations change throughout the year.
  • Go for a bush walk, try to identify the different animal and plant species you see and photograph them while taking the time to really notice what you are photographing.
  • Practise gratitude; keep a diary by writing down three things for which you are grateful on a daily or weekly basis. Take the time to give a special thank you to people who support you everyday.
  • At the end of the day ask friends, family or colleagues what the best thing was about their day and listen with interest when they respond.
  • Begin meetings with a prayer or short reflection eg, an inspiring quote followed by a brief silent period, allowing people to breathe mindfully and bring their full attention into the room. End in a similar fashion.

Idea: Walk my dog at the beautiful local beaches

Keep Learning

Try something new or rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course or take on a different responsibility at work. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun. Seek out new experiences and dare yourself.

  • Learn something you don’t know about the area in which you live by checking out the local notice boards for interesting talks and events.
  • Write your bucket list – then try something you have always wanted to do but never actually done!
  • Start learning a musical instrument. How about the French horn or the harp?
  • Find and try out a new recipe for a meal, cake or dessert.
  • Commit to identifying a new plant every day for a year – in Latin.
  • Visit the local public library and see what new books, mags and talks they have.
  • Memorise a new word every week. Practice using it among friends and family.
  • Learn another language. Parlez-vous francais? Talar pu islensku?
  • Put your hand up for a new challenge/training in your workplace to broaden your knowledge.
  • Pass on any of the latest research you find that relates to your professional or sector.
  • Get your colleagues to bring their favourite non-fiction book to work for a book swap-learn about a new topic and your colleagues’ interests at the same time.

Idea: Local library, Study archetypes

Be Active

Fallen out of your running routine or into a rut? Use these running tips to get back on track! | Runner's World

Step outside, when was the last time you went for a bike ride, a jog or a walk in the fresh air? You could try playing a game or dancing with young ones. Check out your garden. Pulling some weeds or planting something new can help you work up a sweat. Exercising makes you feel good. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness. Do what you can, enjoy what you do, be active and move your mood.

  • Bring activity into the everyday, eg. use the stairs instead of the lift, walk to colleagues to talk with them instead of phoning, and get off the bus one stop earlier than your stop.
  • Try a ‘Have A Go day’ with a local sports group. Look out for what’s on offer, as often, free equipment and tuition is provided.
  • Take a family walk after dinner, or a longer one on the weekend. Let family members take turns to choose where to go.
  • Hold a family dance-off with different members picking the music.
  • Organise or participate in walking tours of local places of interest in your community or suburb.
  • Participate in a fun run/walk to raise money for charity.
  • Encourage senior students to put together a Top Town-style event for the junior school with wacky, fun activities that everyone can participate in.
  • Start or join a walking bus for school children.
  • Try tai chi classes for strength, balance and mental wellbeing.
  • Go swimming or water walking groups at your local pool.
  • Join a sports club to be active and meet people at the same time – tennis, bowls, touch rugby, netball, there is so much to choose from!
  • Find out the most popular sport among your colleagues and then organise a match or tournament for staff.

Idea: Join local gym – cardio

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