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Dec 28, 2023 | by What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Evidence-informed ways to boost wellbeing this festive season

We’ve put together evidence-informed recommendations for ways to improve your wellbeing at this time of year.


The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions that individuals can do in their daily lives to promote wellbeing.

  1. Connect – our relationships and positive social connections are essential for us to thrive. Holiday celebrations can give us the time and space to reach out to colleagues, friends or family, and to exchange seasons greetings with a neighbour or retail workers. 
  2. Be active – we know that taking part in physical activity can be good for our wellbeing. It makes us more satisfied and happier with life, feel less anxious and depressed, and more purposeful. In the colder weather, looking for ways to get active indoors or wrapping up warm outdoors might help to get us motivated.
  3. Take notice – taking some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you can enhance your wellbeing. That could be exploring a Christmas market, or a winter walk in nature.
  4. Keep learning – continued learning through life can boost life satisfaction. This time of year can offer the chance to engage in new crafts, games or learn a new skill, and joining local groups or classes based on your interests is also a way of making new connections. 
  5. Give giving your time or money is core to the spirit of the season, and associated with positive wellbeing.

Other evidenced-informed ideas:

  • Listening to or making music can boost your mood, whether that’s singing seasonal carols, or putting on your favourite non-festive tune.
  • Visual arts can have a positive effect on mental health, as well as helping some groups to improve their self-esteem, and others to share their experiences and feel a sense of purpose.
  • Visiting historic places can have a wide range of beneficial impacts on physical, mental and social wellbeing. 

Further resources and support:

  • Get your NHS Mind Plan – Answer five simple questions to get a personalised mental health action plan with practical tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost mood, sleep better and feel more in control. 
  • Explore the Every Mind Matters website for simple practical tips and videos from experts on dealing stress and anxiety, boosting your mood, sleeping better and what you can do to help others. 
  • Visit the Campaign to End Loneliness website for advice on how to cope with feelings of loneliness.
  • Understand how you can support young people with advice from Young Minds and Student space.
  • Contact your GP or NHS 11 for health advice
  • Reach out to the Samaritans, who are open 24/7, if you need to talk.
  • Discover volunteering opportunities through Reach Volunteering and Volunteering Matters

From all of us at What Works Wellbeing, we wish you health, happiness and wellbeing during the festive season and for the new year!

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