It is really important that we pay close attention to our own health and wellbeing and that of those around us. Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to help improve your mental health and wellbeing. These these are to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give to others.

5 ways to wellbeing


5 ways logo

Spending time developing and nurturing relationships with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues is a useful way of connecting.  Befriending services can also help support you if you are feeling lonely and isolated.  


Ways to Connect:

* Keep in touch with nature 

During the long months of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of us turned to nature with research showing that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies with 45% of us reporting that being in green spaces has been vital for our mental health.  Websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.

It is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts.  Even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress.

Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future.

Despite this, many of us are not accessing or benefiting from nature. Teenagers in particular appear to be less connected with nature and around 13% of UK households have no access to a garden.  Nature is not a luxury.  It is a resource that must be available for everyone to enjoy - as basic as having access to clean water or a safe roof over our heads. 


* Make use of technology

Technology has an important role to play in helping to reduce social isolation and helping people to connect with others and the outside world.  Regularly video call and message those important in your life,  There are lots of free apps and websites you can use such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. These technologies will also help you to feel more connected to others.  


Reach out to community groups for support

If you would like reassuring calls you can contact:

You can volunteer by registering to call someone in isolation and help them stay connected:

  • Silver Line - free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
  • b:friend  - Become a telephone befriender to check-in on those that are vulnerable

Be Active

5 ways logo

Try to find an activity that you enjoy, and that keeps you active, such as walking, swimming, cycling or playing football. Evidence shows that an improvement in your physical health can help improve your mental health. 


* Keep moving

If you are unable to get out and about there are a lot of free exercises online for all ages and abilities, from yoga to dancing to HIIT sessions, you can find something that suits your abilities. Here are links with ideas and sessions:

  • Sport England Campaign  Visit the website for lots of helpful information on keeping active in and outside of the home, with exclusive offers and workouts from content providers such as Les Mills on Demand, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) and FiiT.
  • Follow Get Doncaster Moving on Facebook, Twitter and on the Get Doncaster Moving website for information on local sports clubs and groups that are offering classes/online classes, workouts and other activities. 
  • Active Fusion have created a free resource pack for families to help keep children active.
  • 10 min workouts  Short on time? These 10-minute workouts might be ideal! These equipment-free fitness routines are great to do at home and short enough for you to easily fit them into your daily schedule
  • Select your workout tutorial Choose a workout from the NHS Fitness Studio's range of online exercise videos. Take your pick from 24 instructor-led videos including aerobics exercise, strength and resistance, and pilates and yoga. These workouts have been created by fitness experts InstructorLive and range from 10 to 45 minutes.
  • Seated Exercises These gentle sitting exercises will help improve your mobility and prevent falls, and can even be done at home. Don't worry if you've not done much for a while – these seated exercises are gentle and easy to follow. A variety of seated exercise videos can be found on the Doncaster Connects website.
  • The Activity Alliance have produced guidance for disabled people on how to adapt physical activities to make them more accessible.
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has advice on how to increase physical activity for patients discharged from hospital.


* Spend time in the garden 

If you have one, utilise your garden space and use it to be active, gardening is a great form of exercise and now is the perfect time of year to plant flowers, fruit and vegetables. There are ideas and advice for your garden on the Little Green Space website.


* Working from home and keeping active

Being active whilst working from home can be tough and many of us may find we’re sitting longer and aching more than we usually would. To try and help manage this we have included some quick tips and resources:

  • Try to move every 30minutes following the stretching guide
  • If you can, try to set up a home-working station as similar to your usual desk as possible
  • If you can, try to stand up whilst working, this can help posture, focus, and burn more calories than sitting.
  • Try to have an active break (check out the home exercise suggestions above).

Take Notice

5 ways logo

Being more aware of the present moment, the world around you and your own feelings and thoughts, can help you to positively change how you're feeling about life.  It is extremely important to take notice of the signs associated with your own mental health and wellbeing and take steps to ensure you protect yourself and stay mentally well.


* Reach out if you need mental health support

If you live in Doncaster and feel you need help or support for anxiety, please contact Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, known as RDaSH for short, by calling the relevant number below: 

Talking Shop – 01302 565556

Residents with a long term condition can call RDaSH’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Long Term Conditions Team on 01302 379563 or reach them via the Single Point of Access Team on 0800 804 8999.

RDaSH have also produced a helpful guide of top tips to protect your mental health .


* Looking after your mental health

  • Public Health England have published advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing. 
  • Rethink have suggestions on how to manage your mental health. 
  • Every Mind Matters offers expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Find guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain your mental wellbeing as well as simple things you can do to maintain your mental wellbeing and deal with anxiety.
  • Give yourself a good night’s sleep. Mental Health Foundation has ten top tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. Here are links to information and videos mindfulness and managing anxiety:
    • NHS Online You can even check your mood using their simple mood self-assessment quiz.
    • Headspace offer access to some free meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to support people.
  • Are there things you have always wanted to do but never had the time to do? Update your CV and look for the job you’ve always wanted. You could use old newspapers and magazine to create a vision/dream board to represent your goals and ideas and what is important to you. Spring is coming so you could take notice of the changes in your garden or whilst you are out exercising. Why not take photos or collect items to create artwork, or you could start a journal.

* Coping with bereavement

Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to happen in our lives. During times of grief, there is somebody you can talk to and organisations that offer a range of support. Please see our coping with bereavement page.


Keep learning

5 ways logoLearning new skills, or rediscovering an old one, is great for good mental health and development. Take a look in your cupboards and pull out the sewing machine or paints and get creative. It could be as simple as taking time to complete a crossword puzzle, word search or Sudoku; anything that encourages you to use your mind.

Want to learn a new skill while at home? Find free, high quality digital and numeracy courses in The Skills Toolkit. You can choose from a selection of high quality courses put together by the Department for Education in collaboration with experts. Find a level and time to study that’s right for you. The Skills Toolkit makes it easy for you to boost your skills.

Heritage Doncaster have created some wonderful activity packs for adults and children to learn about their heritage, their family history, and get creative with a variety of projects. You could even get involved with their 'Living Room Museum' project and share objects from your house which tell a unique story. Heritage Doncaster are also able to post out activity packs to those who can't easily access online resources.

Doncaster Deaf Trust have launched a free online British Sign Language (BSL) course, which enables users to learn Level One BSL.

The Open University has a huge range free online courses you can try.

The Reader service has lots of ways in which you can keep reading and stay connected, such as online shared reading groups.

You could listen to free TED talks which cover a wide range of topics.

Have you always said you would like to learn a new language?  There are lots of free videos on YouTube and free apps available like DuoLingo that can help you.

Maybe broaden your horizons and try something new. The Royal Opera House it's offering free broadcasts on its Facebook and YouTube channels. After they've been broadcast, performances will be available on those channels to view 'on-demand', so don't worry if you can't tune in at the times above. There's also free content from the Royal Opera House available on BBC iPlayer  to watch anytime.

Museums around the world are giving free virtual tours. Just search ‘Virtual Museum Tours’ or check out 10 of the best from around the world in this Guardian article



5 ways logoHelping others, saying thank you, or giving someone a smile can help to improve your self-esteem and improve your emotional health.  You could look into volunteering in your local community which can help with building up new social networks and gaining experience if you're looking for a job.


Support local growers and buy BUF boxes of veg from Bentley Urban Farm . Any profits or surplus food will be used to help local food initiatives of delivering freshly made soup to people who are vulnerable.



Last updated: 17 May 2022 13:44:02

Did you find this page helpful?