Colourful graphic of a person holding up a mirror to themselves.

(Mellow music

Hello and welcome to Kick Start

I’m Alice from Christians Against Povert

and in this session we’re goin

to talk about staying healthy

Our mental wellbeing is affected by all sorts of things

including the food we eat, our emotions

and how we value others and ourselves

In this session, we’ll look at some simple

and practical ways to make sure we’re feeling good

and functioning well.

Let’s start with food.

It’s no surprise that our eating habits

and our diet affect our physical health,

but what we eat and when we eat it also has an impact on

our emotions and our mental wellbeing.

The hard part is being able

to recognise which foods have a positive impact

and which foods have a negative impact.

I’m now going to show you some food items

and ask you to decide if it has a positive

or negative effect on our health and wellbeing.

Once you’ve decided, write down your answer

and I’ll give you the correct answer at the end.

Watch out because some items will have both positive

and negative effects.

Your session leader will pause the video if

you do need some more time

or if you want to discuss your answer.

First, we have water.

Next, we have caffeine.

Then sugar and sweet treats.

And last, fat.

(Mellow music)

So how do you think you did?

Let’s start with the water.

The correct answer is positive,

our body and brain need water to function well.

If we don’t drink enough,

we can find it hard to concentrate or to think clearly.

We should aim to drink six to eight glasses

of fluid per day, and have water as much as possible

to keep your body hydrated.

The next one is tricky,

as it’s actually both positive and negative.

Caffeine is a stimulant which means

that it can increase energy levels

and boost concentration and alertness.

Have too much though and it can disturb our sleep,

especially if we drink it late at night.

Too much caffeine can also make us feel anxious,

depressed and irritable.

Caffeine can be found in tea and coffee,

but also in soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate.

Okay, sugar and sweet treats is negative.

We need some sugar to give us energy

but what goes up must come down.

The crash that comes after we’ve had too much sugar can make

us feel depressed and anxious and cause mood swings.

It’s best to keep your sugar intake steady

and opt for foods containing natural sugars where possible.

Examples of this are fruit, honey and yoghurt.

Finally, fat.

This is another item that is both positive and negative.

Some fats are good for us. Things like oily fish

and nuts are a great source of good fats

that help our brain and heart to function well.

Saturated and trans fats, on the other hand, can make

us feel tired, depressed and anxious.

These types of fats are often found in crisps,

chips, junk food and lots of desserts.

How did you get on?

Hopefully, that exercise helped show

that a little bit of knowledge can help

us make better decisions on the food we buy.

These days, most packaging uses a traffic light code

to give you an idea of how much

and how often you should have it.

Red indicates a high negative impact

and we should try to have these less often

and in small amounts.

Amber indicates that the food is mostly fine,

but we should try not to have them too often.

Green indicates the lowest negative impact

and is always the healthiest option.

Taking the time to recognise

and eat a balanced diet is an important process,

but it won’t happen overnight.

As you make decisions and change habits over time,

you’ll notice an improvement in energy,

concentration and even mood,

not just in yourself, but in your family too.

Take some time to look closer at food labels on items

that you have at home,

you might be surprised by what you find.

(Mellow music)

Eating well isn’t the only thing that affects our health,

our mental wellbeing is just as important

and we should take care of it.

Our mental wellbeing is our emotions, how we feel,

and our enjoyment of everyday life.

But it’s also affected by our friendships and relationships.

Let’s look at a few ways to boost our mood

and to feel more positive.

The following is adapted from the NHS Five Steps

to Mental Wellbeing.

One: connect with friends and family.

This means turning off the TV

and being intentional with your relationships.

Connecting lets you share positive experiences,

receive emotional support,

and it builds a sense of belonging and self-worth.

It could be as simple as talking

to someone instead of messaging them.

Two: be physically active.

Doing regular exercise can increase your self-esteem as

you achieve your goals.

Your body will also produce a chemical

which positively changes your mood.

It could be as simple as

taking the stairs instead of the lift,

or walking instead of taking the bus.

Three: keep learning new skills.

The process will boost your confidence

and give you a sense of achievement.

You could try to cook a new recipe,

learn a new language or find out more about

your family history.

It’s important to pick something

that you’ll really enjoy and look forward to.

Giving to others is the fourth way

that you can improve your wellbeing,

by connecting with others

and increasing your sense of purpose and of self-worth.

Spending time with someone who needs company

or volunteering in your community are great.

But even the smallest acts count,

like giving someone a smile or saying thank you.

And five: be aware.

Paying attention to the present moment can help you

to appreciate life and lead to better choices.

This could be through observing the world around us,

or being more aware of our thoughts and our feelings.

It’s so important to take care of our mental health,

and not doing so can have a negative impact on

our relationships and on our own happiness.

What steps could you put in place

to take care of your own mental wellbeing?

(Mellow music)

It’s no surprise that our eating habits and diet affect our physical health, but they can also significantly impact our emotions and mental wellbeing too. Taking care of our mind is just as important as looking after our body, and this session will look at some simple and practical ways to make sure we’re feeling good and functioning well both mentally and physically.

This session is designed to help you look after your physical, mental and emotional health by discussing the impact of factors like the food we eat, and how we value ourselves and others. You’ll explore practical ways to care for your own wellbeing.

You should end this session with a better understanding of how different foods can impact your mood in positive and negative ways, and feel more able to make use of the traffic light’ system on food labels. You should also feel able to start making positive changes to your mental wellbeing using the five steps discussed in the session.

Yes! We offer additional facilitator resources, such as guidance on activities and discussions, to allow you to run this as a group session for your church or community. Fill out the form and you’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to access your free resources.

Did you find this session helpful?