Five Ways to Wellbeing
Here at Collective Purpose, we celebrated 10 October World Mental Health Day by spending some time together to reflect on small things we can do to maintain and improve our mental health and wellbeing. The amazing outcome was a comprehensive list of practical tips on how we can take small actions to improve our mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and beyond, based around five key themes: be active, keep learning, give, take notice and connect. We thought we’d share these insights with our broader community in a series of blog posts, and this is the first one!
A resounding response from staff on how they improve their wellness involved having an active lifestyle within the work environment. By its nature, the office work environment can stifle attempts to remain physically active – both in the way that it fosters a sedentary lifestyle and in the time that it consumes for people in the week. But many suggested that efforts to improve mental wellbeing through physical activity didn’t require huge, drastic steps towards changing their lifestyle, but rather a few smaller changes peppered throughout the daily routine.
- Going for a long walk at lunch, and exploring new lunch options further away from work.
- Walking or cycling to work. Or walking to the office from the train station, rather than take a bus.
- Getting off one bus stop early to walk to work.
- Take the stairs at the end of the day (and/or the beginning).
- Get up from the desk every half hour when working.
- For a break, go for a walk to have a coffee with a work mate.
- Walk to your colleague’s desk rather than sending emails.
Keep it up
Unfortunately, it is common for people to fall off the physical activity wagon, and an estimated 50% of people who start a new exercise program will have given it up within 6 months. There are ways to reinforce active behaviour by tracking your progress. A constant physical reminder that you are making progress often incentivises you to continue to work harder. A summary of 26 different studies showed that people that wore pedometers in their day-to-day life walked at least 2,000 more steps each day than nonusers. Additionally, using a pedometer helped them increase their overall physical activity levels by almost 30%.
Keep it social
Most people on staff also suggested that being active with others had the dual effect of building physical fitness and maintaining social relationships that are conducive to mental wellbeing. Many suggested taking exercise breaks with co-workers or even occasionally having meetings in the park with colleagues rather than meeting rooms as a good way to break up the working day. Others also suggested forming a walking group that walks at least once a week to promote a positive culture of physical activity in the office.
What small step can you take today to incorporate more physical activity into your day? Follow us on Facebook and share your strategies for workplace physical wellbeing!
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