A practical guide to looking after your wellbeing

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Recent times have definitely made us come to realise what is important to us and has brought us together as people. Now is more an important time than ever to reflect and prioritise both our own wellbeing and mental health, but those around us. Five Ways to Wellbeing was an initiative created to help people stay mentally and physically well. We have put together a practical guide to help you incorporate five actions into your day to day life that are considered to be important for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations.


Talk and listen – me kōrero, me whakarongo, be there – me whakawātea i a koe, feel connected – me rongo i te whanaungatanga.”

As human beings, we deeply seek connection and relationships with one another. For many of us, lockdown was a period of isolation and loneliness. We realised that the need for human connection was more important than we probably thought in our daily lives – feeling close to other people and valued by them is a fundamental human need. 

Seek connection every where you go. Connect through the people around you, such as your whanau/family, colleagues, neighbours, work, school, and community. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

  • Smile at a stranger – they may smile back! You never know.
  • Gather some mates and head off to do an activity together – surfing, road tripping, or even just go out for dinner.
  • Involve yourself in a group or sporting environment – surrounding yourself with people who have a similar interest as you is a great way to create and form new strong relationships with people.


Your time – te wā ki a koe, your words – ō kupu, your presence – ko koe tonu.

Giving not only makes others happy, but it makes us feel happy. A National Institutes of Health study found that giving activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Giving not only promotes cooperation and social connection, but when we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them.

Everything is interlinked from connection to kindness and compassion. Everybody has something to offer – from doing something nice for a friend or stranger, to offering your time in a group, or surprising someone you care about with a thoughtful gift. There are so many ways you can play your part.

Take notice

Remember the simple things that give you joy – me aro tonu ki ngā mea māmā noa i ngākau harikoa ai koe.”

Become aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Become more aware of life as it is happening. Slow down and try savouring the moment, where you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you. Do the things that truly bring you joy in this world.

Keep learning

“Embrace new experiences – awhitia te wheako hou, see opportunities – kimihia ngā ara hou, surprise yourself – me ohorere koe i a koe anō.”

By taking the time to learn or try something new or rediscover an old interest will make you confident as well as being fun.

  • Sign up for that course or take on a different responsibility at work.
  • Learn to play an instrument, cook a new recipe, or a language.
  • Learn about your ancestors and where they came from.

Be active

Do what you can – whāia te mea ka taea e koe, enjoy what you do – kia pārekareka tāu i whai ai, move your mood – kia pai ake ō piropiro.”

Exercising makes you feel good – both physically and mentally and its benefits last longer than just during the time spent doing the physical activity. It could be anything from gardening, jogging, biking, walking in nature, or playing with the kids outside. Find something you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness. The benefits are countless.