Health and wellbeing are essential resources for us all to build so we can thrive.

They influence how we feel about ourselves, our place in the world, and how we can contribute to a supportive and inclusive community at The Royal Veterinary College. Our ability to maintain our wellbeing is affected by our circumstances, the activities we are involved in, and our inner health and resources.

By improving our well-being, we are more able to:

  • Build and maintain positive relationships
  • Have a clear sense of purpose
  • Engage with people and the world around us
  • Bounce back from challenges or difficulties 

Similar to physical strength, wellbeing is a personal resource we can build and develop. Evidence suggests that there are five steps that we can take to improve our mental health and wellbeing. These five interrelated steps are:

Find out more below about each of the five BEs and think about the activities and actions you can take on a regular basis to enhance and improve your own wellbeing.

BE Active

Being physically active is a great way to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. It also provides opportunities to meet new people and have fun.

The type and intensity of your activity or exercise is up to you but the key point is to find a way to keep moving.

Actions you could take might be:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Walking to run errands that are nearby.
  • Getting off the bus or tube one stop early to walk to your destination.
  • Inviting family or friends to go for a walk or hike.
  • Working out at the SAWC or Camden Gym. Why not try one of their free classes?!
  • Joining an RVCSU society. There’s a sport for everyone, additional societies are also available through the University of London.
  • Getting active in your neighbourhood by using sports clubs, parks, swimming pools, leisure centres and exercise classes.

BE Aware

Be aware of your surroundings, the moment and your own emotions. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you and discover things that make you happy. Pay attention to the present moment – your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.

Being mindful of ourselves in this way can help to foster positive mental health. With our busy lives, it's easy to get caught up in the moment but here are some ideas for how you can 'take notice':

  • Put time aside to enjoy your meals either by yourself or with family and friends.
  • Spend some time exploring the world around you and taking in your surroundings.
  • Take some time to reflect on a conversation you have had.
  • Explore mediation and mindfulness.
  • Go for a walk and be mindful of your breathing, your steps and the environment around you.
  • Sit quietly in an outdoor space and just listen to nature.
  • Use cues in your daily life to remind yourself to pause and breathe. This could be a notification on your phone or a reminder on the fridge door.
  • Explore arts and culture in your local area.

BE Curious

Learning throughout life improves self-esteem, helps keep you active and builds social connections. Asking questions and delving into new ideas and skills can help you develop a flexible mind set for problem solving and help you understand how you learn. Learning new things can also be fun and make you more confident.

Actions you could take might be:

  • To write up a “bucket list” – things you’ve always wanted to do. Learn more about these and try some.
  • Find a new recipe and offer to make it for a friend. Ask a relative for an old recipe and get them to teach you how to make it.
  • Check for online and local activities or events that interest you.
  • Learn a new language or rediscover a language that you perhaps learnt at school.
  • Try a musical instrument. You could check with your local music shop or online for ideas and suggestions.
  • Explore new ideas, talents and events through reading, webinars and events.
  • Learn more about your family and community history.
  • Check out a TED talk or HOWcast on YouTube.

BE Connected

Connecting with and being valued by other people is a basic and fundamental human need that contributes to good mental wellbeing. It is important to try to maintain good relationships with others for a number of reasons but ultimately it will help to improve your overall mental and physical health.

Actions you could take might be:

  • Arrange to do regular activities with a friend or family member.
  • Find a new hobby (or pick up an old one again).
  • Attending a social or cultural event in your local community which gives you the opportunity to meet new people.
  • Connect with a friend or relative you’ve not seen or spoken to for a while.
  • Join a team, club or society that has meaning for you. Try crafts, sports, music, book clubs, games or outdoor activities – to name just a few. The Student Union at the RVC has many different clubs and societies that you can join. More details can be found here.
  • Going for breakfast or lunch with family or friends.
  • Find out about volunteering opportunities in your local area (do-it.org)

BE Kind

Being kind to others is often seen as the actions we do when we contribute to other people and our community. Helping, sharing, giving and team-oriented behaviours contribute to our own self-worth and positive feelings.

Giving time and energy to others can often lead us to experience higher levels of wellbeing and personal happiness. This doesn’t mean giving money. It can be getting involved in projects that need your time and energy or pitching in to do what you can to support a charity or worthwhile cause.

It’s equally important to consider our choice of words as part of how we show kindness and respect to others. Being kind when speaking to someone else, doesn’t mean that you can’t make your point or be direct. Speaking kindly just shows that you care, regardless of the message. Whatever the conversation may be, by thinking about what you say, and how you deliver the message, you’ll avoid the possibility of inadvertently causing offence and could make a new and positive connection with someone else.

Lastly, you should never forget about your own self-care and spending some quality time being kind to yourself. If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, you may not have the resources to care for others.

Actions you could take might be:

  • Taking opportunities to support friends, family, neighbours or local groups in need.
  • Donating clothes or household items that you don’t need to local charities or worthwhile causes.
  • Giving a compliment – acknowledging what someone in your life has done well.
  • Consider other people’s opinions and make sure an argument isn’t just about being right. Perhaps there is an option or opinion that really is better than yours. This doesn’t make your opinion less valid, and your openness to a new idea will likely turn into a new opportunity.
  • Speak thoughtfully to others, while your words may not be remembered years later, how you’ve made them feel will. Choose words that don’t cause hurt or offence.
  • Making some time for yourself whether that’s heading off for a spa day, reading a book or putting on your favourite movie and having a couple of hours of ‘me’ time.
  • Remembering that it’s okay to say no. Overextending yourself and overworking can make you less productive. Setting boundaries with others will help you to manage your own self-care and reduce the possibility of feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
  • Taking care of yourself physically. Self-care is not just about your mental health. It’s also about caring for your physical self, by ensuring that you are getting adequate sleep, eating healthy food and exercising regularly.

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