Five ways to wellbeing is a report from The New Economics Foundation which sets out five simple steps that have become the global framework for good mental and physical wellbeing. They are: Be Active, Connect, Give, Keep Learning and Take Notice.
However, even these steps can benefit from the support of a good Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to amplify their impact. This article examines the range of tools our EAP - LifeWorks through Morneau Sheppel1 - has to offer and how an EAP can really help employees to make the best of these five steps. To access these great tools, all you have to do is log in.
1. Be active
Being active is not only great for you physically but can also help manage stress, depression and anxiety2, making it a vital part of self-care.
By reducing stress and increasing energy levels, physical activity makes us feel more alert and can help us sleep better3. But you don’t need to spend hours exercising - there are so many benefits just walking for example.
The key is to find activities that you enjoy and make them part of your routine. Check out the article Getting fit and having fun: Doing it your way for tips. It’s especially important with more people working from home. The health risks of sitting all day are very real4, so it pays to know how to be active and stay fit at home.
Whilst you’re here, why not sign up to LIFT - you might as well, it comes at no cost to LifeWorks users. LIFT provides a full suite of fitness offerings that make working out exciting, easy and efficient. It’s like working out at your preferred gym or studio without ever having to step foot outside your house.
Although we’ve moved to living life in more of a digital world, “connect” doesn’t refer to your internet connection! Instead, it’s a reminder of how important it is to connect with others.
Good relationships - whether that’s with family, friends, partner, colleagues or anyone else - are important for our mental wellbeing as it helps to give us a sense of belonging and we feel valued5. They allow us to share positive experiences with others as well as providing emotional support when we need it.
One of the deepest connections we make in life is with our partners/spouses, so it’s important to build a positive relationship with your partner and nurture your relationship!6
However, in an ever-demanding world there are lots of situations that can strain our relationships. It’s important to be able to recognise if you’re experiencing burnout in your relationships so you can make positive changes and continue to have fulfilling and meaningful connections. This includes being able to mend fences with friends and family after a disagreement to enable these strong connections to survive.
Of course, relationships are a two-way street. So, at times, you’ll find yourself being there for others as well as them being there for you. It’s therefore important to know how to recognise burnout in family, friends and colleagues.
And whilst we have said that this isn’t about our Wi-Fi, and online connections shouldn’t replace face-to-face ones entirely, there are tips on using technology to connect, especially if you are coping with separation when living far away from friends and family. If that’s the case, it might be worth looking at how to build a support network when you are alone.
And remember, LifeWorks is an employee assistance programme which offers 24/7/365 access to a confidential telephone helpline that provides emotional and practical support to tackle concerns about your or someone else’s emotional wellbeing. Get guidance on relationships, bereavement, stress, anxiety, moving home, being a carer and more - all at no additional cost.
Small acts of kindness and charity can help improve our wellbeing as it helps create feelings of positivity and gives us a sense of reward and purpose7. Basically, doing good does you good! So why not think about how you can give back or what you can do to help your local community?
Another great way to give back is by becoming mentor at work and passing on your knowledge and skills, whatever your job may be!
Of course, if you’re a carer you give a lot of yourself already. If so, it’s important to look after yourself as well whenever you can - maybe this Caring Toolkit can help.
4. Keep learning
Learning new skills and increasing our knowledge can boost mental wellbeing and happiness8, whilst the practise of setting goals in relation to adult learning in particular is strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing and an improvement in ability to cope with stress9.
Alternatively, how about building new habits to improve aspects of your life, learning to be more assertive to protect your personal boundaries or exploring how to build your self-esteem as an adult to feel more confident?
5. Take notice
This is when we stop going from task to task or one place to the next and stop to reflect, actively bringing our attention and interest to the world around us or to ourselves and being present in the moment. Studies show that being aware of what is taking place in the present, also known as mindfulness, directly enhances our wellbeing10.
So why not start by understanding why you should practise mindfulness? Then, use the Mindfulness CareNow Progamme to discover the benefits of being more mindful and explore different strategies to make it part of your everyday life. Other CareNow Programmes examine anxiety, work/life balance, stress and more.
In a busy world, with lots of change and uncertainty, knowing how to practice mindfulness on the go really can be a useful as well.
So now you know how to get the most out of Unum LifeWorks, why not download the app to access these great tools anytime, anywhere? Simply search 'LifeWorks' and look for the LifeWorks logo in either Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Alternatively, download the iPhone app here or the Android app here. The user ID and password will be the same as the ones to access the website.
And for a bit of extra support with the 5 ways to wellbeing, or if you’re struggling with your wellbeing in general, such as difficulty managing your workload, motivation, self-care, time management, or personal stressors, speak to your line manager. They have the ability to refer you for a Unum Rehab Wellbeing Check, an in-house service Unum offers that’s separate and in addition to your LifeWorks employee assistance programme.