According to notmyselftoday.ca, which is a campaign focused on reducing stigma and supporting mental health at work, 500,000 Canadians miss work each week due to mental health concerns.
This year during Mental Health Week, which is May 4-10, Alberta Health Services is focusing on The Five Ways to Wellbeing. These are five simple activities that you can do in your everyday life.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) from the UK Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. They are a set of evidence-based actions which promote people’s wellbeing.
Albertans are encouraged to take on the Five Ways of Wellbeing in their life:
Connect with your family, friends, coworkers and neighbours, at home, work, school and in your community. It is important to invest time in developing these relationships. Building these connections will support and enrich your life every day.
Be Active. Go for a walk, run, dance or play a game. Exercising makes you feel good. Spend time outside and do activities that you enjoy, such as gardening or cycling. Find an activity you enjoy and one that suits your fitness level.
Take Notice: Be curious. Take in things that are beautiful and unusual. Notice the seasons as they change. Be in the moment on your way to work, while eating lunch or talking with people you know. Be aware of the world around you. Be mindful of how you are feeling. Reflect on your experiences to help you appreciate what is important to you.
Keep Learning: Try something new or take up a previous interest. Sign up for that course you have been looking at. Take on a new responsibility at work. Fix up that old bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to make a new meal for dinner. Set a challenge you would like to achieve. Learning new things will make you more confident -and it’s fun, too!
Give: Do something nice for someone else; it can be a friend or someone you don’t know. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a group. Look out as well as in. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be very rewarding and creates connections with others around you.
Evidence suggests that making a small improvement in your wellbeing can help decrease mental health concerns. It can also help you grow.
For more information go to www.albertahealthservices.ca. For the full report on The Five Ways to Wellbeing go to www.foresight.gov.uk. For information about mental health in the workplace, visit www.notmyselftoday.ca. For general mental health information visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website at www.cmha.ca.
By Sarah Cole, BSW, RSW
Health Promotion Facilitator
Alberta Health Services