To make it easy (and at Pinnacle Life we like EASY!) the Mental Health Foundation has identified the 5 key actions we should build into our day-to-day lives to look after our mental health. As well as some suggestions as to how you might achieve these every day.
1. Connect, me whakawhanaunga – talk, listen and feel connected
Put down your phone and find ways to connect with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, connect at home, work, school or your community. Organise to host a dinner, have a street barbecue, or have friends over to watch the rugby, anything that gets you connecting with other people. It might be as simple as smiling at a stranger or you might commit to something longer term like joining a sports group. Building connections will support and enrich you every day.
2. Give, tukua
It feels good to give and everybody has something to offer. Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger! You might support someone in need, let a car into the traffic when you’re driving, donate old clothes, toys, books or sports equipment to a charity, or simply give someone a compliment, everyone likes to receive those!
3. Take notice, me aro tonu
Become more mindful and aware of what is happening around you and focus on the simple things that give you joy. Mindfulness has been a bit of a buzzword the last few years but the benefits of stopping – calming – resting – noticing are proven. Becoming aware of life as it is happening around you and what you are feeling will help you realise what matters to you. Take the chance to enjoy nature, check out the night sky, pay attention to flavour and textures of what you’re eating and when you can, do things like go for a longer bush walk, climb a mountain or head to the beach.
4. Keep learning, me ako tonu
Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun. Seek out new experiences and challenge yourself. You could either try something completely new or rediscover an old interest. Write your bucket list and work out what’s something you’ve always wanted to try and never done! Try new recipes, learn a musical instrument, drive somewhere you haven’t been before, or maybe learn another language. E korero ki a koe Maori? Parlez-vous francais? Talar pu islensku?
5. Be active, me kori tonu
Finally, get active and do what you can to move your mood. Get off the bus one stop sooner than you need, choose stairs over the lift, have a family dance-off, go swimming, take a long walk on the weekend. Exercising makes you feel good so do what you can and move your mood.
Small steps are better that no-steps. Just do what you can to get started. There are loads more tools and tips on the Mental Health website, check it out here.
We often get asked about mental health and life insurance. When you apply for cover we do ask whether you’ve had a mental health or psychological condition including depression, anxiety or stress that required professional advice, treatment or time off work in the last 5 years. If you answer yes it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be declined or have a loading (extra premium) applied to your policy but we will probably need more information before we confirm your cover. Read our blog here for more information.