Boosting your wellbeing

Let’s face it – a lot of our time is spent at work. How much? On average about one-third of it, according to the World Health Organization

Unless your plan is to win Lotto this weekend, or you’re betrothed to someone who will relieve you of your need to work ever again, then it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you can look after your wellbeing when you’re at work. 

After all, eight hours every day, is a long time to be unhappy.

Fortunately, a review of the most up-to-date evidence has found that building five actions into our day to day lives will give your wellbeing a boost. The Five Ways to Wellbeing are Connect, me whakawhanaunga; Give, tukua; Take notice, me aro tonu; Keep learning, me ako tonu; and, Be active, me kori tonu 

 five ways

And yes, you can incorporate all of these into your work day. Read on, and consider putting these information sheets from the Mental Health Foundation's Five Ways to Wellbeing toolkit in your workplace!

Connect, me whakawhanaunga  

Let’s be honest, you’ll be more likely to connect if you feel you can. Does your workplace have  a physical space that allows teams to relax together? Is there an outdoor bench, a couch or a kitchen table at your work that could be encourage people in your team to connect with each other?

Eating together can be a cool way to get to know each other, as well as learn about team members’ cultural backgrounds. Why not get the whole team to sit down for a team lunch or coffee every now and then. Even better, start a Randomised Coffee Trial. Prioritising some regular whanaungatanga time is a great way for your team to build trust and get to know each other. Even if talking about the achievements of your workmate’s child doesn’t sound too exciting, finding out more about the people you work with will help you build connections that will support and enrich your work day.

Making the time to talk to each other is a simple thing which can make a big difference.  Rather than send an email to Sally, who sits across the room, why get up from your desk and have a chat to her?

We all know the baby game, but have you played it with your team? Does Matt from marketing still have a passion for fire trucks and batman onesies? Who knows what you will learn about each other in the process.  

Tools to help… 

Give, tukua 

Doing something nice for a workmate is easy. It could be a compliment, a smile or giving someone your time. Give your colleagues a pat on the back when they nail a presentation or thank them for their IT help. Develop a culture of saying thank you for hard work – both formally and informally. It might be as simple as providing a drop box and cards so people can write handwritten thank you notes. Organise a random acts of kindness day - what’s more, is this has been proven to increase wellbeing when carried out over six weeks.

Bring in some old magazines, a cake, or some home-grown fruit and veges. Seeing yourself and your happiness, linked to people around you can be incredibly rewarding.  

To help you share a little love in your workplace why not try: 

Take Notice, me aro tonu 

Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to workmates. Try to get out of your work environment during breaks - go for a walk into a nearby park, being mindful of your breathing, your footsteps and the environment around you. Get a plant for your workspace and watch how it changes overtime. Begin meetings with a karakia (prayer) or short reflection (eg, an inspiring quote) followed by a brief silent period, allowing people to breathe mindfully and bring their full attention into the room. Perhaps try organise yoga, tai chi, pilates or a massage in the office. Take time out of your day to reflect and breathe in a comfy corner of the room, or on an outdoor bench.  

Tools to help: 

  • Focus on your breathing with Hikitia te Hā
  • We’re fans of this free mindfulness app from across the ditch… Smiling Mind
  • There are some good examples of karakia to open and start meetings here.
  • The All Right? App – daily mini missions to make you feel good  
  • Discover your Hidden Strengths and find ways to use them at work
  • Run a digital detox in your workplace

Keep learning, me ako tonu 

Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.  

Try something new. Take on a different responsibility at work. Is there some training you could do to make you better at your job, or someone you could learn from? Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask for additional training or challenges. Organise a guest speaker, workshop or lunch and invite people to become involved (e.g. ask people with hobbies to help organise/ facilitate). Take a team trip to a local museum or gallery. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Create interest groups in your workplace -  maybe a sports team, run club or a knitting or book group. Discover your colleague's favourite recipes and give them a go at home. During the day take a break with a good book, crossword, or Sudoku puzzle. 

To help you get started on your voyage of discovery try: 

Be active, me kori tonu 

Exercising makes you feel good and be more productive. It’s not about marathons, but doing the little things often. 

Do what is comfortable for you and what your mobility allows. Try walking over to a colleague instead of just sending off another email. Or better still, head outside and have a walking meeting. Go outside at lunch time and walk around the block. Try adding some exercise into your commute by walking, cycling or taking the bus to work. Promote dancing, playing with the kids, walking, gentle forms of activity such as neck and shoulder exercises, stretches or Tai Chi. Getting a social sport team together is also a great way to get active and socialise outside of work hours. 

  • Maybe you could organise a game of human foosball?
  • All Right? has made it easy to encourage your workmates to get outside a bit more by creating a walking poster generator. Simply ‘plug in’ some of the nearby places your team regularly visits (cafes, meeting places) and voila, you’ll get your very own poster. You might be surprised how quick it can be to walk instead of drive. 
  • Make a good habit stick!

So there you have it… the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. They’re not rocket science are they? But, we’re sure you’ll agree, that doing these things often does feel good.