In one of our recent Mini Me Yoga podcasts, West London Ambassador Fiona Roberts talks about the NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing. These simple steps can be used by the whole family to help support mental wellness.
Step 1: Connect with other people
Neuroscience tells us that human beings are hardwired for connection. Connecting to others gives us a sense of belonging which is hugely important for our health and happiness. If you are not able to connect with others physically, try scheduling regular video calls to help you stay in touch with loved ones. If you live with family members, try making the most of your time together by sitting round the table at dinner time, playing a game together, or scheduling time which is free from distractions such as TV or mobile phones.
Step 2: Be physically active
We know that exercise and keeping fit is important for our physical health, but did you know that exercise supports our mental health too? If you are exercising indoors, try practicing some yoga poses, or put on your favourite song and dance around the living room to work up a sweat! If you are pushed for time, being active can be as quick and simple as doing 20 star jumps, or marching on the spot for 30 seconds. Give it a go and see how you feel- is your heart pumping a little faster?
Step 3: Learn new skills
Developing new skills can help boost our confidence and self-esteem, and can offer us a sense of achievement. Maybe make a list of the all the new things you want to learn, and choose one of them to work on each day. It might be trying out a new recipe, practicing a new yoga pose, or spending a short time each day learning an instrument or new language.
Step 4: Give to others
Research tells us that altruism- genuine care for the welfare of others- can help boost our wellbeing by releasing all sorts of feel-good chemicals in the brain. Perhaps give your time by contacting someone who would love to hear from you, do something kind for someone you live with, or get involved with a charity or campaign.
Step 5: Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Being present stops us worrying about things that have not yet happened, or re-playing past events over and over in our minds. Bring awareness to the present moment by focusing on your breathing or by closing your eyes and listening to all the sounds you can hear. You can even treat yourself to a mindful moment whilst making a cup of tea; listening to the sound of the water as it pours into the cup, feeling the weight and the warmth of the cup in your hand, watching the bubbles and swirly patterns on the surface of the water, inhaling the aroma, and savouring the taste as you take that first sip… We also run a Mini Me Yoga Meditation workshop which teaches you all about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and offers a range of practices which can support you to be more mindful.
Are you getting your 5 a day?
Try making a family plan, using your own ideas to bring these 5 steps into your daily routine- check out Fiona’s podcast with Dr Kate for more inspiration!
About Fiona Roberts
Fiona has worked with children and families for over 15 years, in various education and support roles. Fiona has a background in Psychology, Early Years Professional Status and a Certificate in Parent-Child Therapy. Fiona works therapeutically with children and parents, promoting healthy attachments and communication within family relationships, as well as supporting families to manage challenging situations through tailored strategies and guidance.
Find Fiona Roberts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/minimeyogawestlondon