Have some 'me time'!
We don’t often deliberately make time for, and put effort into, doing things that make us feel good, or which bring us peace, contentment, calmness, fun and pleasure. However it is exactly what we should and can do. Schedule some down time to pursue creative pursuits or a hobby, perhaps setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality "me time". And remember, be kind to yourself – quieten the critical voice.
Setting ourselves goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new skill, helps to build confidence and that in turn helps us deal with stress. Our brain gets a boost when we achieve things; achievement increases the neurotransmitter dopamine and purposeful activity increases serotonin.
It is therefore very helpful to plan goals every day and by continuing to learn we become more emotionally resilient. However, they need to be realistic and achievable!
It is also important that we don’t overlook the things that we have achieved. Once we reach our goals we can soon discount them as unimportant. Paying attention to our achievements, and perhaps setting new goals to work towards, can have a very positive impact on our wellbeing. Personal goals, whether long term or short term, can relate to almost anything, for example, reaching a certain level of fitness or acquiring a new qualification. Try to think of a range of activities, some which may be quiet and solitary and others which may be more active or can be done with others.
- Think about goals that you can work towards on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis on board. Make sure they are clear and well defined.
- Break your goals down into achievable steps or actions.
- Schedule the time to work on each step or put it into action.
- Track and review your progress, note down what you have achieved.
Look for the positives in life, we don't always appreciate what we have and often would benefit from being ‘glass half full rather than glass half empty. When we’re busy, or we’re not feeling at our best, we often take for granted the good things in our life and it’s important to give some attention to what we treasure.
Help other people
Helping people can help put our own problems into perspective. The more we give the more resilient and happy we feel. Whilst on board opportunities might be limited, even small favours for colleagues can count; whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Back at home there might be time for volunteering locally which not only helps others and improves mental wellbeing; it also provides a chance to build new friendships.
Research also suggests that fostering a sense of gratitude enhances our wellbeing and reduces depression and anxiety.
Why not follow the Three Good Things method?
Set aside ten minutes every day at a regular time and write down three things that went well and why. It is important to keep a physical record whether by pen and paper, on your ‘phone or on your computer. The three things can be small or they can be important, it doesn’t matter. Writing about why the positive events happened may seem awkward at first, but stick with it for a short while - it will get easier and it is likely you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise some months from now.
And express gratitude - make a point of saying thank you to people who are important, kind or helpful to you.