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Jul 28, 2022 | by Robyn Bignall-Donnelly

A summer of wellbeing

School’s out and it’s summer holidays. For some this means a chance to wind down at home or escape on adventures. For others, it’s an even busier time. So what can we do to boost our wellbeing, based on what we know works?

What the evidence says…

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are evidence-based actions that you can do in your daily life to help improve your wellbeing:

  1. Connect – feeling loved and having positive, supportive relationships, particularly with friends and family, is critical for promoting wellbeing. They act as a buffer against mental ill-health for people of all ages and can help us cope with things outside of our control. Meaningful relationships are also a top priority for children in order for them to have a happy life.
  2. Be active – regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. We also know that taking part in sport and dance can have a positive impact on young people’s wellbeing. So get outdoors in green and blue spaces, and get active with others to boost positive mood, feelings of worth and purpose, and longer term resilience.
  3. Take notice – taking some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you can enhance your wellbeing.
  4. Keep learningcontinued learning through life can improve life satisfaction and optimism. Whether it’s learning to knit or mastering your first words in a new language, setting and hitting targets can create positive feelings of achievement.
  5. Give – giving your time can be good for your wellbeing, particularly if you’re in need of a pick me up for your mood. So why not consider signing-up to volunteer?

Research has shown the benefit of engaging with culture, arts and heritage, and we know that listening to or participating in music making can improve wellbeing. As the summer offers a rich and diverse selection of events and activities to get involved with, why not enjoy live music at a festival, watch a BBC Proms concert or put on a curated playlist while getting active? 

Evidence shows that visual art activities can reduce depression and anxiety, and increase confidence and self-esteem. Widen your creative experience and meet new people through painting or drawing, art appreciation, making art, ceramics, sculpture, and crafting.

Our research into what helped the UK cope with the covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns revealed that, along with exercise, gardening had the biggest association with supporting people’s wellbeing. Whether it’s watering a house plant or tending to your prize-winning veg in an allotment, connecting with nature may have a positive impact this summer.

While we’re having fun in the nice weather, it can be easy to forget the need for rest. For young people in particular, sleep is a key driver of high wellbeing, but 40% of young people report not getting enough to feel able to concentrate. Student Space offers practical tips on how you can improve your sleep.

Work is important too. Wellbeing isn’t just relaxing and having fun, employment is one of the biggest drivers of our wellbeing and job quality matters.

We’ve collated some further resources that offer practical wellbeing advice to help you:

  • Learn how to be happier with Action for Happiness’ 10 Days of Happiness. The free online coaching program guides you through daily actions for happier living.
  • Take the NHS Mind Plan quiz to get a personalised mental health action plan with practical tips to power up your mood.
  • Find advice and videos on the Every Mind Matters, including seven simple changes that can make a big difference to your mental health.


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