Marking Mental Health Awareness Week: Five ways to wellbeing

Marking Mental Health Awareness Week: Five ways to wellbeing
11 May 2022

In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May) is an annual event dedicated to giving an opportunity for the whole of the nation to focus on achieving good mental health. Taking inspiration from this and to coincide with it, Ricardo’s Global Mental Wellness Week is about enabling all our teams around the world to get together whether virtually or in person to raise awareness of mental health and actively promote good mental wellness and wellbeing.
Here, Bev Ayling, who is an HR Business Partner for our Energy and Environment business unit, shares her personal story of bereavement, and reflects how, even at the height of her loss, by adopting five ways to wellbeing through her voluntary work on a local nature reserve, she was able to make real difference to her own life and the lives of others. 
“I lost my mum quite suddenly in November 2018. The months afterwards were incredibly tough:  Since I experienced shock, numbness, sadness, anxiety and guilt.  Added to that, having to notify many organisations, apply for probate, execute a will and look after/clear a second house has, at times, seemed like having a second job.  My wellbeing took a knock, but it wasn't all doom and gloom.”
“In June 2019, I attended a presentation at my son's school which was entitled: ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and provided by Oxfordshire’s Mind (mental health) service.  A review of the most up-to-date evidence apparently suggests that building the following five actions into our day-to-day lives is important for wellbeing:

  • Connect
  • Be active 
  • Take notice
  • Keep learning
  • Give

“It struck me that one of the volunteering activities I do ticks all the boxes!  For the last (nearly) four years, I have given half a day a month to a local nature reserve, working in a group of like-minded and new people, being physically active, watching nature through the seasons, learning about a chalk stream environment, giving something back to the community and giving some time to myself.” 
“The sessions have been a form of free mindfulness: being totally engaged in the job in hand and forgetting for a while all the other things going on in my life and pressures on my time.  So, whether I’ve been shearing grass, cutting back blackthorn, removing burdock, raking, sawing branches, digging a pond, scything nettles or trying to pull my wellies out of the silt of a stream, I have been focusing my attention on the present, the here and now.”
Even at the height of my loss, in November and December 2018, I was braving the elements of cold, wind and rain, planting young trees – signs of hope, life and new beginnings.  Volunteering can make a real difference to your own life and the lives of those around you.” 
Find out more about Five Ways to Wellbeing