Simple ways to use the “5 ways to wellbeing” for young people

It’s the Mental Health Foundation’s Wellbeing Week from 27th June 2022! It’s a fantastic initiative to provide young people with the tools and knowledge to help manage their mental health. 

As a champion of children and young people’s mental health, Shawmind wants to use this week to help young people, as well as those who support young people (like teachers, parents, and volunteers), find simple ways to implement good habits and practices for looking after mental health and preventing early symptoms from deteriorating.  

What are the “5 ways to wellbeing”? 

Wellbeing Week revolves around the 5 ways to wellbeing – a set of behaviours identified by the NEF that “enhance individual well-being and may have the potential to reduce the total number of people who develop mental health disorders in the longer term.” 

These are: 

  1. Connect 
  2. Be active 
  3. Take notice 
  4. Keep learning 
  5. Give 

In this article, we’ve highlighted some simple ways young people can implement these behaviours in their daily life – as well as ways that you can support young people in your care to improve their wellbeing.  

1. Connect

Building and maintaining connections with the people around you – like friends, family, and members of your community – can help you feel supported and enriched in your daily life.  

How can young people ‘connect’ for mental health? 

  • Join support and talking groups. Want to talk to someone? Come along to our Breathe Café for real conversations about anything that’s bothering you.  
  • Join sports teams or community groups e.g. Scouts, Girl Guides 
  • Reach out to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to at school – you might find you have more in common than you think! 

How can you help young people ‘connect’ for their mental health?

  • Encourage group activities in the classroom that mix up the usual cliques 
  • Organise after-school activities with other children and young people 
  • Car share during the school run or walk to school in groups 

2. Be Active

Physical activity releases endorphins that make us feel good. Regular activity can boost your mood, release stress, and improve your self-confidence.  

How can young people ‘be active’ for mental health?

  • Try to walk a little every day – e.g. walk to school or go for a walk before dinner 
  • Join a team sport or sporting club 
  • Stretch for 5-10 mins after waking up 

How can you help young people ‘be active’ for mental health? 

  • Besides PE, get students active during lessons by moving around the classroom or going outside 
  • Organise walks with groups of people like friends and family  
  • Get active at the weekends – go to an adventure park, go cycling, or spend time playing in the garden 

3. Take Notice

Taking notice of the things around you – big and small – can help you savour the moment, reflect on your experiences and appreciate what matters most to you. Mindfulness has been linked to lower stress levels and greater daily satisfaction. 

How can young people ‘take notice’ for mental health? 

  • Take 5 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on something good that happened that you are grateful for  
  • Make a note of anything unusual or interesting you see during the day 
  • Set yourself a challenge at the start of the day to spot as many things as you can that match a specific criteria, e.g. spot as many purple things as possible 
  • When you get stressed or irritable, take slow breaths and take notice of the things you can see, hear, smell, feel, and taste 

How can you help young people ‘take notice’ for mental health? 

  • Organise a scavenger hunt or spotting game to help young people pay attention and take a closer look at the world around them 
  • Point out things when you spot them so that young people start noticing them too 
  • Start conversations with young people about how their day went so they get an opportunity to reflect 
  • Set an example by reflecting on your own positive experiences in front of them 

4. Keep Learning

Learning and achieving new things improves confidence, feelings of purpose, and daily enjoyment. Besides regular lessons, young people must have something to learn that they find fun and personal.  

How can young people ‘keep learning’ for mental health? 

  • Learn how to make your favourite meal  
  • Learn all the words to a new song you like 
  • Learn how to do a new hairstyle 

How can you help young people ‘keep learning’ for mental health? 

  • Ask questions about what young people want to do when they’re older and help them find learning activities that will help them learn skills for the future 
  • Provide a mix of activities in the classroom to support learning e.g. physical activities, reading and writing, musical activities, arts and crafts 
  • Find and share information about national challenges that might interest them e.g. National Novel Writing Month 
  • Encourage them to try new hobbies based on their interests e.g. sport, music, reading, crafts, etc 

5. Give to Others

Giving your time and energy to someone other than you can feel incredibly rewarding and make you feel good – as well as being a great way to connect with others! 

How can young people ‘give to others’ for mental health? 

  • Ask a friend or family member how their day was.  
  • Do something nice for a loved one like completing a chore or treating them to a  
  • Go the extra mile for someone’s gift by getting them something unexpected or making it yourself 
  • Volunteer for a charity. Want to volunteer for Shawmind? We have lots of ways you can get involved! Visit our volunteering page for more information.  
  • Fundraise for a cause you believe in. Want to help us improve mental health support in schools? Find out how to fundraise for us! 

How can you help young people ‘give to others’ for mental health? 

  • Organise activities to support the local community 
  • Set an example for young people by bringing them along when you help others 

Teachers and schools play a vital role in the support of mental health conditions in young people, but they need more help to do it effectively. Our #Headucation campaign aims to train all UK teachers in the basics of mental health support which will allow them to comfortably provide young people with the support they need. 

Help us to provide as many fully-funded training sessions to schools as possible. Help us raise money by donating, buying a product from our store or signing up for one of our training courses. 

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