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Five ideas for wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week

23 September 2019

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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This year the focus is exploring your way to wellbeing. So, this week is a great time to discover things that help you feel good and to do more of them.

We’ve been talking to the team at the Mental Health Foundation who run Mental Health Awareness Week. They’ve given us some great ideas for ways to explore different areas of wellbeing through Te Whare Tapa Whā, the model developed by Sir Mason Durie.

There are no hard and fast rules for exploring your own wellbeing, though. Mix these ideas up, make up your own, and get friends and family involved. It’s about you and what makes you feel good.

Monday – whenua, connection to the land

The natural environment, the land or whenua, is a source of wellbeing. Getting outside and feeling connected to nature can help build your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. When you head outdoors with loved ones, or take part in an outdoor community initiative, it can be a great way to build strong social wellbeing too.  

Today’s idea: get out into the garden or visit your local park. Watch the world go by. See how the clouds move across the sky, take your shoes off and feel the grass beneath your feet. You could ask a friend to join you, too.

Tuesday – taha hinengaro, mental and emotional wellbeing

Taking care of your emotional wellbeing, how you think, feel and communicate, is important. When your emotional wellbeing is well cared for, you’re able to cope better with life’s ups and downs as well as express your feelings and reach out for any support you may need.

Today’s idea: learn something new or rediscover an old interest. Look into a course that interests you – it could be learning an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Or start a social group focussed around an activity. Make it something that sparks your curiosity and helps you feel good.

Wednesday – taha tinana, physical wellbeing

Your physical wellbeing – how your body grows, feels and moves and how you care for it – is connected to the other aspects of your wellbeing. When you’re strong and nourished and feel physically well, it helps you to feel mentally well. Sometimes circumstances beyond your control can mean that your physical wellbeing may not be as good as you’d like it to be. If that’s the case, it’s important to acknowledge this and do what you can to nurture your body.  

Today’s idea: make an appointment with your GP! If you haven’t had a check-up in a while, give your doctor a call and schedule a health check. Regular check-ups are an important part of keeping physically well.

Thursday – taha whānau, family and social wellbeing

The people who make you feel like you belong, the people you care about and the people you share your life with, give you a sense of purpose and connection. These relationships can be a core source of strength, support and identity and play a central role in wellbeing.

Today’s idea: is there someone who is important to you, who you haven’t seen in a while? Make the time to reconnect. If they live close, see if you can arrange a face-to-face catch-up. If they’re further away you could call, text, Skype or even use Facebook messenger.

Friday – taha wairua, spiritual wellbeing

This means different things to different people. It can relate to faith, religion or a belief in a higher power. Or it can be the way you feel you’re connected to the universe. It’s about how you see who and what you are, where you have come from and where you are going. This is important for wellbeing because feeling comfortable in your identity, values and beliefs helps you cope with challenges, build strong relationships and discover the things that make you feel good.

Today’s idea: set aside some time for a reflection and goal-setting session. Think about the things you are proud of, the challenges you’ve overcome, the people who are important to you and the things you hope to achieve in the future.

These are just a few ideas to explore your way to wellbeing this week. Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here. You could even enter the Mental Health Foundation’s wellbeing photo competition.

Read our interview with counsellor Erin Nolan for her tips on self-care, here.

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