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Five Ways to Wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based messages which were developed by the New Economics Foundation more than 10 years ago. These messages were designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of each and every one of us. A decade later, these feel more pertinent than ever. We have put together some tips for each message, to help you, as a creative:

Connect
Connect with the people around you. With your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building and nurturing these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Now, connecting these days feels tied to screens (which I’m sure we can all admit is less than ideal) so, here are some alternatives to connect with loved ones near and far.

  • Do an activity over Zoom rather than Zoom being the activity itself – this could be doing an art class together, cooking, or watching a film – you could take it in turns to host, find recipes, or choose the film.
  • Design and send a postcard from home
  • Walk and talk. Take a friend on your daily walk. Talk about what you can see and paint a picture of your local areas for each other.

Be active
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Have a stretch. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

  • Try yoga. There are hundreds of free classes online. We love Fable Yoga on YT and Vanessa Abreu on IG.
  • Go on a brisk walk around the block
  • Make running fun. Try Strava or Couch to 5k to help with motivation.
  • Dance like no one’s watching! Have a quick shimmy while waiting for the kettle to boil or while the adverts are on.

Take notice
Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

  • We’ve put together a series of photo bingos! Take photos during your daily walk to try looking at your everyday with fresh eyes.
  • Have you seen A View From My Window? It’s a beautiful collection of views from across the world. Why not set up a mini group with your friends and share your own views?
  • Noticing can also be internal: be curious about how you’re feeling – what are you doing when you feel your best? Do more of it.

Keep learning
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving.

  • Our website contains a whole wealth of resources from scientists and creatives that aim to inform, educate and inspire including resources from Wellbeing Wednesdays, our free weekly online wellbeing events.
  • Our archive of Wellbeing Live events can be found on our Facebook. We invite creatives to host a short session on their practice, we’ve had singers, artists and therapists – there’s something for everyone.
  • London Drawing Group are a feminist trio with some a whole host of pay-what-you-can classes and webinars on art.
  • Sign up to edX, FutureLearn, SkillShare, LinkedIn for free courses on pretty much anything. …And keep your eyes peeled for future courses from us! 😉

Give
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

  • Why not gather up a pile of old drawings, postcards or receipts you might have piling up, and set up an art material exchange with your friends for them to create new artwork with? This could become a collaborative sketchbook lockdown. Check out this instagram to see an example of an art material exchange.
  • Volunteer with us! We’re always looking for volunteers to join the team – slide into our DMs or email us to find out more.
  • Do you have a friend who’s always wanted to be an artist? Can you teach some of your skills? We can guarantee you’d both get a lot out of it.

Remember

  • If you’re working from home, try to separate your ‘work’ space from your ‘life’ space as much as possible.
  • Give yourself regular breaks
  • If you’re struggling with procrastination, give yourself 5-minute focus targets (Creative Lives in Progress talks more about this).
  • This could be a great time to get your priorities in check.
  • If you aren’t feeling up to something, it’s okay to say no.
  • It’s okay to put yourself first.
  • It’s okay to find some days difficult.

If you need extra support

  • You can find 24/7 support which is both free and confidential from the Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Mind offer guidance and supportive resources through their website.
  • Blurt is a social enterprise dedicated to those affected by depression (they also have heaps of feel-good content).
  • Time to Change is a social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems.

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