Improving Your Wellbeing

Improving your wellbeing

What does it mean to be well?

It's a word which is frequently used to describe our state of health and whether we are 'well' in various aspects of our lives. It's important to recognise wellbeing as a broad concept which applies to everything we do and feel in daily life.

The World Health Organization define health as "A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". This holistic approach identifies a combination of elements which contribute to our overall health and considers factors which impact us negatively, resulting in poor wellbeing. Understanding and having an awareness of this concept helps us to recognize how we can make steps towards good health and lifestyle management.

Studies show that our happiness is linked to living longer and more fulfilling lives. The Wheel of well-being was created in 2008 and is an ongoing collaboration between Mental Health promotion Team at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Find ways to improve your lifestyle, meet people and manage everyday living

Use this wheel to identify key aspects of well-being and some useful resources. Which of these are you already including in your day to day activity?

We'd love to hear practical and creative ways to improve your well-being. Join Kent Teaching Community Forum Forum to post your ideas!

Body

Physical activity can positively influence the way you feel and think.

Planet

Small changes can be made to keep our world a happy place to live in.

Mind

Learning new skills and hobbies lead to improved health and mental well-being.

Spirit

Acts of kindness and giving to others can affect you both mentally and physically.

People

Having close relationships with friends and family can add 7 years to our lives which is the same benefit as giving up smoking.

Place

Surrounding yourself with specific environments can help to alleviate stress and worry.

Finding beauty in unexpected places

Kent County Council have created a campaign incorporating the Wheel of Well-being. The 'Six Ways to Well-being' campaign offers activities delivered through Live It Well website, a fantastic platform with an extensive range of programmes, events and courses all available in Kent.

Your Journey to Wellbeing

Working together

Social relationships are positive reinforcers of wellbeing. It is important for us to connect and communicate with other people whether this be in the workplace, at home or in public. Try some ideas to get you started.

  • Try talking in person rather than a text or email
  • Ask someone how they are doing
  • Speak to someone new
  • Give a colleague a lift home
  • Share ideas at work
  • Take a lunch break together

Eating well

The food we eat can affect us both mentally and physically. Eating the right foods regularly can help to improve our moods and give us more energy. If we are skipping meals and eating a poorly balanced diet, we are likely to feel lethargic and low. Kick-start your food plans with some small daily changes.

  • Pack fruit in your bag and pockets
  • Pack your lunch the night before
  • Put the slow cooker on before you leave for work
  • Add a tablespoon of dried fruit to your cereals
  • Swap the biscuits for rice crackers

Learning well

We should continue to learn as we get older, this encourages social interaction and enables us to learn new skills. Studies have shown that educational activities can help to lift older people out of depression, it's always a good feeling when you can do something new!

  • Read a new book
  • Join a new class
  • Set up a book club
  • Learn a new language
  • Visit a gallery
  • Start a DIY project
  • Learn to cook a favourite dish

Living well

It is important to get support and advice on healthy living. Make some positive lifestyle changes and get support from your local community.

  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce drinking
  • Drugs intake
  • Looking after your sexual health

Be grateful

Taking some time out of your day to make note of what you are grateful for can force your brain to think back to memories which can be therapeutic and beneficial for your mental health.

  • Write down what you are grateful for
  • Write a letter to a loved one or friend
  • Say thank you to a friend who's listened recently

Exercise

Any physical activity will have a positive effect on your wellbeing. Being active lower the rates of depression and anxiety and generally makes us feel better about ourselves. We don't have to be at the gym every day to get active, try some daily activities like these.

  • Use the stairs instead of a lift
  • Walk or cycle to work
  • Take part in lunchtime activities at work or school
  • Walk to someone's desk instead of emailing
  • Ask to use the school gym in PPA time or after school
  • Create an active staff room
  • Add a brisk 10-minute walk to your day

Improving mental wellbeing

It is important to be aware of the present moment, try to think about your thoughts and feelings and be mindful. We can enjoy life more when we understand ourselves better, why not start today with the NHS mood self-assessment quiz?

Being mindful allows us to see patterns in our thoughts and gradually we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over. Let's get a new perspective on life by making the first step to mindfulness.

  • Notice the everyday
  • Change your daily routine and drive a different route home
  • Switch off autopilot mode and notice simple sensations
  • Keep a mood diary. There are various online apps which can be used to create these.

New ways to sleep well

There is a close relationship with sleep and mental health. Tiredness can cause several issues including stress, low self-esteem and difficulty coping with daily life. There are ways you can improve your routines to get a better night sleep.

  • Make sure where you sleep is comfortable
  • Relax before bedtime
  • Put your phone down in bed
  • Keep a sleep diary

Give to others

Have you ever thought about doing something for someone else? Giving to others and taking some time to give back to the community is more likely to make you feel happier and content. There are plenty of ways to fit in an act of kindness.

  • Giving unwanted items to others to use
  • Offering to cook for someone
  • Helping a friend with their housework
  • Charity runs
  • Cake sale at work
  • Helping a colleague with their work

Blog Posts

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Wellbeing Resources

Reading for Wellbeing

  • Making it as a Teacher: how to survive and thrive in the first five years (2019: David Fulton) Elizabeth Holmes
  • The Wellbeing Toolkit: Sustaining, supporting and enabling staff (2019: Bloomsbury) Andrew Cowley
  • Lift!: Going up if teaching gets you down (2019: Critical Publishing) David Gumbrell
  • Is your job making you ill? (2018: Piatkus) DR Ellie Cannon
  • Talent Architects: how to make your school a great place to work (2018: John Catt) Mandy Coalter
  • How to survive in teaching: without imploding, exploding or walking away (2018: Bloomsbury) DR Emma Kell
  • Ten traits of resilience: Achieving positivity and purpose in school leadership (2018: Bloomsbury) James Hilton

Teacher wellbeing resources

Getting support

Mind

Provides support to those experiencing mental health problems

Phone: 03001233393 (Monday to Friday 9am-6pm)

info@mind.org.uk

Schools' Personnel Service

Schools' Personnel Service run a wellbeing course to promote wellbeing in schools

Email: Summer Macer on Summer.Macer@cantium.solutions

Anxiety UK

Support and help for those living with anxiety and anxiety-based depression.

Phone: 03444775774 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm)

Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk www.samaritans.org.uk

Education Support Partnership

Offering free, confidential help and support to those in the Education sector

Phone: 08000562 561

Website: www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk

Young Minds

Caring for the wellbeing of Teachers and school staff.

Phone: 0808802 5544

Website: youngminds.org.uk

Teacher Unions

National Education Union (NEU)

Membership: Phone 0345811 8111

Email: membership@neu.org.uk

National Association of Schoolmasters (NASUWT)

Membership Phone: 03330145550

Email: advice@mail.nasuwt.org.uk

National Association of Headteachers (NAHT)

Membership Phone: 03003030333

Email: membersupport@nahtedge.org.uk and specialistadvice@naht.org.uk