There is good evidence that there are some key behaviours you can do to ensure your own wellbeing. Certainly when I work with clients with depression, this list is a manageably small set of ideas for things they can do to help reconnect with what matters.
This work began with the “Five ways to wellbeing” report from the New Economics Foundation. However, my colleagues at the IPPE, Geetanjali Basarkod, Prof. Joseph Ciarrochi and Dr. Baljinder Sahdra have reframed the language a little, and argued for a sixth way to wellbeing “self-care”. Their list is as follows:
Connecting with Others: This is how you connect with the people around you (such as family, friends, neighbours, or community groups).
Examples: having conversations, interacting on the internet, doing activities together, celebrating, going out together, etc.
Challenging Oneself: This is how you challenge yourself and learn new things.
Examples: Trying something new, learning a musical instrument, trying to cook your favorite food, fixing something, developing your skills, taking on new responsibilities, signing up for an online course, etc.
Giving to Others: This is how you give to others or help others.
Examples: Helping someone to do something, volunteering, making a donation, doing something kind for a friend or stranger, working for a cause, etc.
Physical Activity: This is how you engage in physical activity/exercise.
Examples: Going for a walk or a jog, cycling, going to the gym, dancing, playing sports with friends, etc.
Embracing the Moment: This is how you get fully involved in the present moment.
Examples: Being curious, catching sight of something beautiful, noticing something unusual, enjoying and appreciating food, paying full attention to another person, and, in general noticing the world around you and what you are feeling. Just about any activity can involve embracing the moment.
Self-Care: This is how you care for yourself.
Examples: Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep or doing something relaxing after a hard day.
Geet is doing a PhD with Joseph and Baljinder to see if she can develop a high quality measure of these ways to wellbeing. More soon.