World Wellbeing Week 2020 – Sharing tips to support mental wellbeing in lockdown
World Wellbeing Week 2020 runs from Monday 22 to Friday 26 June 2020. For the week we’re asking people to share their tips around activities, hobbies or pastimes that have helped with their mental wellbeing during lockdown.
That could be anything from mindfulness to exercise or creating art to discovering a new book or show. Our aim is just to share ideas and tips for people to try and also to celebrate creativity and inspiration people have had at this challenging time.
In looking for and sharing tips around managing mental wellbeing we acknowledge that these can’t be a substitute for talking therapies and the more coordinated mental health support that is required for people experiencing serious mental distress. As with all of our work at Together we’re interested in sharing people’s lived experience and appreciate that we are all individuals. So activities may not be suitable for all but celebrating the diversity of the choices is the point and we hope ideas will come up that appeal to and inspire people.
If you’d like to share your own tips please use the hashtag #MentalWellbeingTip as well as the general #WorldWellbeingWeek one.
Mental Wellbeing Tips
For the week we asked our staff, volunteers and service users at Together to share their tips around activities, hobbies or pastimes that have helped with mental wellbeing during lockdown and the responses we had are shared below:
House dance – Anna Chappell, Operations Administrator at Together
I started taking House Dance classes online. I enjoy it because my thoughts go a mile a minute and exercise takes me out of my own head and makes me feel good in myself. I am relieved it’s online and I can do it at home which is very time efficient. I’ve got anxious going to dance classes in person in the past, so I’m proud of myself for sticking with this for two months now.
I’m more confident, strong, energised, and focused. If I start an activity I am ambitious in, I’m a good beginner but sometimes resent it after that because I want to be exceptional at it. Keeping up with this class challenges me to think I’m good enough as I am, to be kinder to myself, and appreciate the process which I’ll take forward to other goals/activities I have.
I started in lockdown, and I think I’ll continue, my teacher is from Russia so I think classes will definitely always be zoom calls which is good news for me.
Cycling – Martin Fewster, Senior Comms Officer at Together
I only got a bike for getting to work and around where I live a few years ago but I use it all the time now. As anxiety and worry in the nation grew in March and April and the country went into full lockdown the fact that I could get out on my bike and get some exercise became increasingly important to me. The huge change in lifestyle coupled with the worry for friends and family and spending the vast majority of the day in the house felt like it would build a bit of pressure on my emotions and mental wellbeing. Going out cycling felt like it would lift that pressure for me and give me a chance to refresh my thoughts while getting exercise.
I’ve been going out cycling most days and it’s become an important part of my routine. Even on days when I don’t feel like it that much, once I’m half an hour in or so I’m really pleased I’ve made the effort as it makes me feel better. I’m certainly not anywhere near the elite cycling folk people see on the road and tend to go at my own pace but I have a set route and it’s nice to know distances you’ve done. I think during the lockdown period the fact it was something that was in my control that I knew would have a positive effect for me was a nice boost to have. As lockdown eases I’m not sure I’ll keep up the same routine of cycling as often because I do miss team sports and would like to be involved in those when it’s possible. I think I’ll definitely be more open to planning in rides regularly though and it’s increased my road knowledge of the area I live in a lot!
Gardening and craft – Lisa Young, Support Worker at Together Tamworth, Lichfield and East Staffordshire Your Way
I use Gardening, Nature and crafts as part of staying well and keeping my mental health in check.
I recently found a nice simple distraction that can also be great to do with Children I made a frame out of cardboard created a heart shape and went out taking pictures using the frame. I have attached a photo below and I shared this with some service users and they have liked the idea.
Bird watching is also something that has given me great joy during these times. I found a bird feeder that can be used on a window so even if housebound could still enjoy this I have also included a photo of this.
There is a website called wildlife from your window designed for housebound people this is open to all.
Running – Stephanie Robinson, Senior Comms Officer at Together
Keeping up my running routine during the lockdown has definitely helped with my mental wellbeing – come rain, shine, or laziness. Getting out of the house every day has reminded me that the world still exists beyond the walls of my flat, despite it sometimes having felt to the contrary during lockdown.
Running outdoors reminds me that whatever happens with the current situation and my anxious feelings about it, nature always stays the same and will reliably be there every day when I put on my running shoes and step out the front door. Also, having the goal of pushing myself towards a faster running pace has given me something to focus on that’s totally unrelated to a global pandemic – which, y’know, has been nice.
Prayer – Angus Mayhew, Property Development Manager and Health and Safety Coordinator at Together
I would like to share a Benedictine prayer exercise I tried last week requiring 7 prayer services during the day from sun rise to sun set which helped with my mental wellbeing. It was very restful and connected me back to my roots and to people I’ve not seen for a long time.
The prayer cycle is called Liturgy of the Hours. The services were on my own in my shed with a prayer stool I’d made from a Buddhist website, an ecumenical prayer book, incense and a candle. It felt a bit daunting at first but I ended up really looking forward to the short 15 minute sessions. Highly recommended!
Yoga and Walking – Jo Jones, Team Leader – Acting Locality Manager for Together in the Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service
Here at Boudicca Court Accommodation Service in Kings Lynn, Norfolk we have a weekly yoga group in the car park (at a social distance) and this has been beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing for the residents. We have on average 7 attendees weekly and it is adapted for all abilities. Some service users have used these techniques when alone too. We also have a social distanced walking group which helps with exercise and as we all know mind and body work together.
A service user in the community has said he has found for his wellbeing that having one positive thing to do per day is really helpful. It may be going to the shop or the park on his mobility scooter but he finds a reason to get up and out daily. This helps him keep a level of motivation at a time when it is easy to lose it during the pandemic. We also have carpark bingo, carpark quiz, outdoor movie nights and a service user led art group that they find beneficial both because art is therapeutic and also because they can socialise so their wellbeing is increased.
Mindfulness Nature Films – Michael Bell, Relief Worker at Together’s Swale Your Way Service
After reading some of the comments on the site about tips to deal with lockdown, one author wrote about the power of pray and Benedictine monks also Buddhist chants. It brought to mind the brilliant Springwatch mindful moments films which are still on Iplayer and are sent to me via Facebook. I watch them and they work for me 10 minutes of beautiful films of British nature.
Learning British Sign Language – Martyn Pope, Social Care Worker at Together’s Kings House Accommodation Service
My mental wellbeing tip I’ve been doing during lockdown is learning British Sign Language with my partner. It’s been good as I’m learning something new and spending time with my partner. I didn’t do this before lockdown but I will continue to learn BSL afterwards.
Reading – Russell, resident at Together’s Kings House Accommodation Service
The activity that has helped with my mental wellbeing during lockdown has been reading. I enjoy reading because it gives me something to focus on. I did a fair amount of reading before lockdown but I’ll keep it going.
Feeding the birds – Anonymous resident at Kings House Accommodation Service
During the lockdown period a pastime that has supported my mental wellbeing has been feeding the birds at the property. Doing it makes me feel good, I love birds! I’ve been doing it for 20 years and I will certainly keep feeding the birds after lockdown.
Reading – Lea, Social Care Worker at Together’s Kings House Accommodation Service
My world wellbeing week tip that has helped with my mental wellbeing during the lockdown period has been reading. In terms of how it makes me feel, reading makes me feel disconnected, relaxed and grounded. Reading is definitely something I did already and I’ll keep it up after lockdown is over.
Jogging – Daniella, Social Care Worker at Together’s Kings House Accommodation Service
The activity that I’ve found has helped with my mental wellbeing during the lockdown period is jogging. It’s something that makes me feel uplifted! I find physical activity improves my mental health. It’s something I did before the period and I’ll keep it up afterwards too.
Weights – Rebecca Steel, Intensive Recovery Worker at Devonshire Place within Together’s Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service
Just thought I’d share part of my lockdown routine. I started doing weights again and have moved from 1.1kg to 3kg so far.
I’ve tried to start before but often started to forget and it would phase out.
As I’ve been working from home I do this before I start. Find it a good way to start the day motivated and focused.