Well-being for April

We are living in an exceptional era right now. Various restrictions are limiting our everyday lives. Changes in the daily rhythm can bring forth anxiety. Uncertainty might cast its shadow on the plans we have made. On the other hand this physical distancing and remote studying presents an opportunity to turn our focus on our wellbeing. In fact it is our duty in this moment to strengthen our inner resources.

This site will be updated weekly for tips and advice on how to promote individual resilience and how you can actively pursue wellbeing.

 

Sunrise 

 

      

Last week we focused on the sensory activities; mainly on how the warmth induces calmness and feeling of security. Let us take other senses too to invite the springtime in. There is so much to enjoy, after all!

You can pick up these ideas for your activities especially when you feel worn down and when your thoughts are stuck. Much has changed, many plans for the summer have been cancelled. It is no wonder if you question how this summer can ever be as nourishing as the summer usually is. Luckily there is a great deal of entertainment and culture to enjoy even from home.

 

For example we can balance our mind by opening up to sounds. Our auditory system will process sounds all the time anyway and we can mindfully tune in to those of nature, as well as gain positive vibes from music.

  • Spring and Summer are full of sounds. Can you detect which bird is singing outside your window? Could you try to find out? You can build up your knowledge here: Luontoportti
  • Nature seems to have a calming effect on our senses and there is accumulating scientific evidence to support the claim. You can check out Padlet for wellbeing. Take a walk or a bike ride outside and find as many signs of approaching summer as you can. You can take photos with your phone or record a relaxing audio. You can also sketch some shapes with a pencil in your notebook. These can be nice memories to come back to when things return to normal.
  • Spend some time contemplating the cycle of the day by admiring a sunrise or sunset.
  • Visit a forest or a public park with old trees. You can also have a picnic there. Remember the safety distance of about 2 meters - and no gatherings of more than 10 people at the moment. Feel the strength and grounding around the old trees. Select a tree to sit under.
  • Music has a way of linking to our emotions. What song could be your power song for the Summer 2020? You can also compile a playlist of all the songs that uplift you.
 

Travel broadens the mind - in this exceptional era we can fulfill our travels in a smaller scale. The most important journey is inwards to our mind, to explore our daily thoughts. In addition we can refresh ourselves outdoors in our immediate environment. Luckily, we can also access many remarkable sites via internet!

  • Take a museum tour:
    In Finland
    Around the world
  • Time travelling! Choose a century or decade from the timeline.
  • Rainforests, jungles, taiga forests at your fingertips in Yle Areena.
  • Set yourself for an armchair travel by selecting your destination from the net. Search for information and watch videos. You can even cook some exotic food to immerse in the experience.
  • Nostalgy with black and white movies: Elonet database for free Finnish movies
 

Good deeds brighten the mind and add the sense of purpose in life. If you feel isolated it is important to experience a sense of connection with others in some ways.

  • I have enjoyed reading the tips you have shared in Padlet for fun activities. Please keep on adding them. Sharing ideas is extending the hand to others without the risk of contamination.
  • One lovely idea was to cook for two and bring the other serving to the doorstep of a friend. You can enjoy the meal together via video call.
  • Take a look at your closets. Are there completely usable items that you no longer need? You can donate your stuff to someone. Most flea markets have a storage for donation near the parking area. Also many hypermarkets have a donation section at the recycle point. As you pack the things you can imagine how happy they might make someone.
  • Send a postcard. Who is the special person in your life that you have not been in contact with for years? Write a short message to that person. You can for example start with the words “You came in to my mind because…”
  • Do you hold a secret dream of writing a book one day? Could you maybe start with a picture book? Papuri is a free e-book maker with clear instructions although it is in Finnish. You can share the book with others via a link. Could this be a nice homemade present for your loved ones? Maybe you could make a book with such clear visuals it would be accessible even to those who have trouble with reading?
 

This was the last letter to our series of April for Wellbeing. The aim of these writings has been to offer tips and ideas to take care of oneself. To remind you that it is important to value your selfcare. With a balanced mind you can be effective in your pursuits in life.

Always remember that the right time to seek for help and support is when you yourself feel like it is getting too hard to get by alone. It is our basic need to stay connected and exchange thoughts with others. If you start to feel isolated and gloomy despite spending time in nature and trying out other wellbeing activities, do make a contact.

As a student in Centria you can contact Study Psychologist or Student Pastor.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you feel like you need it.

There are also national services you can use free of charge.

 

Nyyti

Nyyti’s Chat is a place for sharing ideas and experiences. Group chat is about different topics that affect the student’s everyday life.

Enter chat window through this link.

Come and share your ideas on

Please read Nyyti’s Netiquette

Nyyti’s group chat is meant for all students. You don’t have to register or sign up to the chat. You can partake in the conversation using a nickname. The chats are focused on one specific topic. The chats are also attended by employees and volunteers of Nyyti and occasionally by experts from different fields.

While the chat is in progress you will be able to include yourself in the conversation by typing your message in the area under the chat window and then pressing enter. You will then be prompted to create a username for yourself. You can participate or leave the chat at any time.

 

CHAT with experts / Family Federation of Finland

If you are feeling anxious or worried about how the virus is affecting you or your family members, you can chat with experts online also in English, every weekday from 9.30 am to 11.30 am at https://www.hyvakysymys.fi/paivystyschatti/perhepulma-chat/

Hyvä kysymys is produced by the Family Federation of Finland and its partner organisations. All services and information are free of charge. Note, that the services on this site are provided in Finland and are governed by and construed in accordance with the Finnish legislation.

 

Crisis-helpline

Telephone number 09 2525 0113

mon-tue: 11.00-15.00

wed: 13.00-16.00 and 17.00-21.00 thu: 10.00-15.00

 

MIELI Mental Health Finland provides crisis assistance and support in order to prevent mental health problems and suicides.

 


  

Week 3

      

The essence of wellbeing is to be able to confront the situation as it comes. Even if you have some darker thoughts it is necessary to bring light into every day. Creating gratitude lists and taking notice of the very basis of our well-being is a daily task. Counting the things you are grateful for as you close your eyes can help to mark the day as positive.

Remember that it is always ok to ask for help.

   
 

Now we will take a closer look at what could be the quick self-help to soothe our nerves. Some activities that are easy to pick up, even daily.

Warmth and touch for well-being

Warmth is closely associated with feeling good and secure. Touch is elemental for human beings and it helps to bring the stress-levels down. Next we will send our nervous system a message “it is ok, you are safe - we are safe now” by increasing the neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, endorphin, dopamine and serotonin.

Top 7 tips for quick self-care

Try one a day - or everything everyday!

  1. Hug will produce a remarkable amount of “feel good” chemicals in our body in as little time as 30 seconds! Everything we need is two arms: at first blow warm air to your hands and rub them together gently. Then bring your hands across each other to your chest. Feel the rhythm in your body. Feel how you are safe, right now, in this butterfly hug.
  2. Foot soak You can do this while you are studying remotely or after you have finished your tasks. All you need is a plastic dish tub, warm water and bath soap - and a towel when you step off.
  3. Wool socks bring warmth and possible nice memories too. Maybe you have received them from someone close to you - or knit yourself a pair?
  4. Warm beverage How about hot chocolate with marshmallows, or with popcorn and caramel sauce and whipped cream? Or spiced tea or coffee with cream?
  5. Massage You can provide yourself a warming and relaxing hand massage. Use your thumb and index finger. Gently press and do circular motions on your other hand, section by section. If it feels good, you can add a bit of pressure when you massage over the nail. Be careful around the nails though. Sense the ease that comes with the gentle touch, take the feeling in and let your face and other muscles relax. When you are finished remember to wash your hands, enjoy the foaming soap.
  6. Exhale promotes calmness and helps to let go of the tension in the mind and body. Wide breath touches the body and mind, bringing down the stress.
  7. Movement A 30-minute walk can do wonders for your wandering mind. It might be a tiring thought but once you have taken the walk and aim home, you wonder how you ever forgot it was so nice and calming to step outside. Even doing balancing moves for a couple of minutes will calm down an anxious mind. It will improve circulation and settle your mind. Stretching the sides and rotating the body are proven to be very effective. You can also try a rag-doll exercise where you first stand up straight. Then you will gently shake your arms and legs as you start to bring your hands closer to the floor - bend the knees as you go, all relaxed. It is calming when the head is lower than the heart.
 
 

What have been your most enjoyable moments in the past week? What is the essence in those moments? Could you bring some of that into your activities this week?

Please check out other suggestions for fun times in this Padlet - and share your own, if you have! Sharing unites us!

#letsdosomething #gocentria

 

 


 

 

well being centria university of applied sciences

Week 2

      

Last week we were gently stretching our minds with the interests we have: What are the good perhaps forgotten things in our lives. I encourage you to count your blessings every day. Gratitude has proven benefits to our wellbeing. Positive thinking strengthens neural pathways in our mind, increasing our capacity for wider views even if facing critical situations.

It gets easier day by day with practise of gratitude, like physical practise trains the muscles. Count even the smallest things that bring you joy or comfort and make sure you include these things in your days. This is a great antidote to stress.

   
 

Let us take a closer look at what are the important aspects in our lives in this moment of time. This exercise consists of four parts. But first: calm your mind, relax all the tensions. If needed, go back to previous text to remind yourself of the way to let the tensions go and to gain more focus.

When you feel yourself ready, think of 6 to 8 things that are meaningful to you. Partner, family, friends, being able to provide oneself /wealth, work, studies, a certain hobby, physical health, mental balance, sleep, exercise, nature, social ranking… Whatever comes into your mind. There are no right or wrong answers. Just bring these things to your attention. Write them down as a list.

 
 

After every item in your list, add a grade from 0 (not at all) to 5 (to great extent)

  • At first: How important is this for you? from 0 to 5
  • Second: How does it show up in your life? How well would you say you are able to fulfill this need? from 0 to 5
  • For example if I find sleep very important to me, I could mark it as “5”. And if at the moment I somewhat suffer from insomnia I would say it is not meeting my expectations and is bothering a little, being “2” , “Sleep 5/2”
  • Note this: Be curious and open with these thoughts that arise. You already know these subconsciously. Maybe the fact that you have been trying to push them out of your mind has been causing some distress?
 
 

When you have gone through your list with the grades, you can analyze:

  • The aspects that you value - do you find ways to bring these to action?
  • In which aspects is there a big difference between the importance and the fulfillment? Is there a way to make changes in your daily activities to make your wishes meet with reality?
  • Could there be other ways to approach this dilemma, a different way to execute the said aspect?

Remember to keep your mind open to various solutions. You can share these thoughts with your friend and work out answers together.

 
 

Next write down action points: seven activities - one specific thing for each day this week to pursue the aspect you find important and not that attainable to you.

Example 1: If this important but slightly neglected thing is sleep, you can try out changes in your sleep hygiene and evening rituals - be then sure to repeat the chosen action throughout the week. Many habits exhibit their benefits over a period of time.

Example 2: If you feel like there is an important special person in your life you have not been able to spend enough time with - and due to social distancing you can not meet in person, you can think of a new way to connect with the person: Playing a board game via video call, watching a movie simultaneously from your screens, sharing old photos and commenting on them via chat.

 
 

Extra tip

You can do this exercise with a graphic too:

  1. Draw a circle and divide it with 3 to 4 lines - in 6 to 8 sectors. Put a title to each sector with the items on your list. This will be like a pizza of your life.
  2. In each sector you will draw a dot marking down the grade you have given - in how does it show up in your life. Start measuring from the center towards the outer part. If you feel like the aspect is well covered in your daily activities, you will mark it closer to the outer edge. Do not worry about the score you have there - it is always better to know than hide the truth from yourself. Clarifying our values will let us consciously make changes in our habits.
  3. Lastly connect the dots to get yourself a pizza of a sort. What pops out in this visual for you? Which slice would you like to be bigger to be able to enjoy it more?
  4. If you like you can add color and line art to your pizza design. Coloring calms down the mind. The final outcome might be a nice reminder in your refrigerator door as to what aspects ask for your attention in your plans and activities.
 
 

You can share your ideas and activities in social media with #gocentria.

 

 


  

hyvinvointi centria ammattikorkeakoulu

Week 1

      

Let us start where we are. This is how it is at the moment. We are facing a situation that is new and challenging to us all. But it could be worse. We will not let ourselves get dragged by the idea how much worse it could be. Because if our mind sets on catastrophic thinking and gets filled with worst-case-scenarios, our body will follow and bring along a stress reaction.

What we will do is to train our thoughts to see the good and positive, to maintain and strengthen the mindset of balance.

   
 

First take notice of your position, the alignment of your spine, the even distribution of weight. Just noticing this will help you to shed away some tightness. Check that your breath and your thoughts can flow effortlessly. Take a vast inhale through your nose, feel like you are filled with air like a balloon down to your stomach, feel it in your back as well. Take a long long long exhale to let all the tension go. Then another inhale as vast as you can. With an exhale let all the tension go and let your shoulders relax. Let your face relax too, notice your forehead, the area around your eyes, your cheeks and your jaw. Taking a notice on your physical tenseness will bring some relaxation without any further effort. You can let go of the control, you do not have to be prepared for anything right now. It is time to take it easy and let the breath flow. With every exhale you can release the worries and get rid of the tension. You might even want to stretch out a little, stretch your arms above your head, stretch your sides.

Next feel your position so that you feel your weight distribute evenly. Can you feel how solid your position is, can you feel the power as well as the comfort of your position? Noticing this will help you notice the things that are all right. Even if you have pain somewhere it is beneficial to allow your focus on what is ok right now.

 
 

Let us then go a bit deeper into the aspects that are all right. What are the things you can be grateful for? What are the things that fill you with ease when you think about them? What things seem to get your breath flowing when you bring them to your mind?

List down the things that are related to your daily life like the significant people and nice activities. In what ways do these bring you joy? In what ways do they connect with the values you hold important? In what ways do they connect with your ways of enjoying life?

 
 

If you feel like your thoughts are running towards how many things are on hiatus right now, bring yourself back to the state of gratitude: what really is the nourishing part in these things so precious to you? Maybe you will find a new way to bring them in to this newly shaped springtime.

 
 

List down also things that have previously brought joy and inspiration.

  • Are there some hobbies you have left behind? If there is some instrument you played before, could you continue with music? Do you find singing relaxing and fun? What about literature - some favorite books or authors you could read again? Remember that many classics are free to read online. Drawing and painting are good ways to relax the mind. Would you enjoy writing stories? What about knitting, baking or making miniature models? All activities that promote hand-eye coordination improve our focus and sense of balance. They also help us out of the alert-state that can overwhelm us when we are facing difficult times.
  • If you are longing for social connections I encourage you to share these thoughts with your friends. Maybe you could plan a way to do some of these activities together online. Like singing karaoke or arranging a painting session you can both enjoy.
  • Include smaller joys to your list too, like your favorite food, favorite music, favorite clothes that make you feel at home and safe.
 
 

It is important to include these positive activities in your daily schedule. Often when we feel stressed we forget this maintenance of wellbeing. We tend to think that there will be more time for fun later and we might exhaust ourselves with being prepared to face the challenges. But being prepared drains our energy and makes us less able to cope with the situation. We really need to make time for reloading our wellbeing-resources everyday and keep the connection with joy and gratitude.

For more tips for activities and self-care ideas please check out Padlet “To do” -section.

 

 

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