“It’s worth taking time to enjoy life” - Lowestoft Rising manager

Phil Aves.

Phil Aves. - Credit: Archant

This is my first local voices piece, so I am a first-timer, please read me gently and I shall return.

I've spent the last year working on improving mental health services and I thought I might share a little of what I have learnt. The first thing to learn is to take care of your own mental well-being before you start worrying about anyone else's. Simple advice but we often forget this simple rule and charge off to help others first.

I think the best bit of advice I have picked up over the year is the 5 Ways to Well-Being, which is both government and health led advice. It's a bit like your five a day for fruit and vegetable that we have had drummed into us, but for your mind.

It's simple stuff but if you can do plenty of all five of those things it can really help keep you mentally strong. So what are these five non-food items that can help us so much?

The five are Be Active, Keep Learning, Keep Connected, Give Back and Take Notice.

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The last one is so simple to achieve but we rarely have time to do. It is as simple as taking notice of the wonderful things around us in the world, being curious, and doing things we had forgotten we enjoyed. Here in Lowestoft we have a wonderful beach and seafront to visit, a host of great parks to wander around, the Broads and marshes to see wonderful wildlife. Where else could you access so much and it's all free.

Take time to marvel at the clouds in the sky, the waves pounding the shore or the trees swaying in the breeze. It is as simple as taking that time for you and stopping our rushed lives for long enough to give our brains a rest. I guess some will call it mindfulness but to me it's just about quality down time when your brain does not have to do all the work. Try it, it can really help.

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Next time we can look at another one.

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