How to focus on your wellbeing all year round

It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives – whether through enforced lockdowns, workplace closures, or simply a lack of regular interaction with family and friends. But it’s during times of uncertainty that it’s most important to focus on your own mental wellbeing.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few easy-to-implement self-care tips to make your days more balanced.

A quick escape into the world of yoga

You don’t have to be a super flexible person to get the most out of yoga. In fact, far from the traditional opinion that it was only for hippie types or ‘free spirits’, yoga’s popularity is surging year-on-year, with more than 300 million practitioners  around the world.

Whether you want a short 15-minute session to relax and unwind, a sweaty Bikram yoga session to get rid of all the day’s negative energy, or just a digital class during the few minutes of downtime in your day, there are lots of options available.

You’ll be surprised just how much better you feel after even the easiest yoga class. In fact, a study from the University of New South Wales found it’s a great way to manage your mental health.

Meditation and mindfulness are easier than you think

During times of uncertainty, we sometimes get lost in the day to day problems of life, when really we should be looking at the bigger picture, and thinking about our and our family’s future needs. Uncertain times might prompt us to sort out responsible “bigger picture things” like organising our wills or looking into insurance such as funeral insurance or life insurance, but it’s also important to take the personal time we need for ourselves, and ensure we focus on balance so we don’t get out of whack and end up with reduced wellbeing overall.

But just a few minutes every day spent being mindful can have huge benefits to your mental health. Don’t take our word for it – a study on Australian fire fighters found that “high levels of mindfulness were associated with decreased depression and anxiety, as well as increased psychological wellbeing”.

It’s easy to get started. Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit calmly, shut your eyes and look inward. Focus on your breathing rather than letting thoughts crowd your mind. If you need a little help to get into the right headspace, there are lots of free mindfulness apps online to walk you through the essentials.

If sitting still isn’t for you, then a walk in nature or just a brisk wander around your neighbourhood can be incredibly good for your brain. Sunlight and sunshine is great for your health (as long as you are sun-smart) and vitamin D has been proven to strengthen your immune system.

Get out of your head with journaling

Not much for looking inward in silence? There are plenty of other ways to focus on wellbeing all year round. One of the easiest ways is by writing down your thoughts.

Journaling is a tried-and-true method of getting your thoughts into a manageable format. It can de-clutter your mind, ease the day’s stresses, or just act as an outlet for you to get those invasive thoughts out of your head and onto something you can control: a piece of paper. Even if you end up throwing out what you’ve written immediately after you’ve written it, it’s still a ‘freeing’ exercise.

Need a little nudge in the right direction? Look out for some mindfulness prompts and find an exercise that works for you.

How can you incorporate these wellbeing tips into your daily life?

Here are three helpful ways you can integrate positive wellbeing exercises into your day-to-day:

  • Download apps: Fill your smartphone with great mindfulness apps – from a personal yoga instructor to journaling prompts, new places to explore in nature, and meditation sessions.
  • Find your ‘accountability buddy’: Just like every New Year’s resolution you’ve made, it’s tough to stick with something new – especially something as personal as practising mindfulness. It might be easier if you find a close friend or family member to be accountable to – they can follow up on your journey, and you can come to them if you’re struggling, or if you’re just having a bad mental health day.
  • Join a group: Jump online and find a group of like-minded individuals interested in the same mindfulness activities as you. It doesn’t have to be a serious yoga group; maybe you’ll meet local people who just want to explore nature together

Commit to self-care

We might not be living our normal, everyday lives right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t commit to greater self-care and better overall wellbeing.

While you’re being introspective, it might also be a good time to check whether you’re getting the right level of life insurance cover – especially if your circumstances have changed recently.