Mental Health Awareness Week Day 1
Seven blogs for seven days of Mental Health Awareness Week. Today lets take a look at 5 creative pastimes and how they can benefit your mental health and wellbeing.
Many people reading this are under lockdown due to Covid-19, so here are a few ideas to use your extra time to start or restart a hobby, or learn a new skill. Its a smart way to boost your good mental health. Studies show that learning something new creates new neural connections in the brain, which improves memory and performance and makes us feel better.
Whether is just doodling, colouring in colouring books made for adults, or drawing and painting it does not matter. Anything that gets your creative juices flowing and gives you time out to relax the mind. If you are new to drawing and dont know where to start I have always found this a great way to get started and would recommend it.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It is the is the world s most widely used drawing instruction book. Whether you are a professional, a student or enjoy art as a hobby Betty Edwards practical set-by-step guide to drawing will give you greater confidence in your ability, deepen your artistic perception and provide a new way to appreciate the way you perceive the world around you.
Or perhaps a colouring book is more your speed. There are loads specifically created for adults and readily available on amazon. I love mixing it up between high quality colouring pencils and fine tip staedler pens. Ah so many choices.
Cooking can be fun and creative. It is also an ideal way to improve your physical health, learning to cook nutritions but fun new meals. I think I have yet to cook the same meal twice in the last few months. We have a regular organic veg order and finding new ways to cook delicious local and seasonal produce has been great fun. Yes it has been ocassionally challenging and there have been some veg we would have never considered buying so it has stretched our adventuresome spirit too. It has also saved money, cooking with what is delivered, rather than designing the recipe and going and buying the ingredients.
Baking is also a great skill to have. This week and I have been learning to bake bread and scones. Focaccia this week. Tasted fabulous. Now the challenge is to not eat too much of it!!! Luckily a lot of these things can be put in the freezer for a treat another day.
Learning a new instrument, learning to read music or learning to sing are all fun things to do. Whether you sign up for Gareth Malone’s virtual weekly choir or decide to learn to play an instrument there are multiple benefits. Just because we are on lockdown does not mean that these are unachievable. There are so many online resouces available from eLearning to You Tube or many apps.
If you started in your youth but gave it up now is a chance to rekindle your passion. Learning an instrument relieves stress and also improves brain power.
Remember that listening to music can completely change your mood. Something to make you dance round the room or something to help you relax or meditate, it does not matter. What is important is that we do.
Writing is a great way to be creative, whether it is journalling or creating a novel or poem. It can be with a beautiful book and pen, a structured journal, a typed note or a captured voice message. Journalling as a fabulous way to reducing anxiety by getting thoughts out of your head and on to the page. I personally love to have a special note book around to doodle and write in when the mood takes me, but I also use a structured journal to help think through things or for personal evelopment. One of my favourites is Daily Greatness. A structured journal can also be great for thinking about what you are grateful for and what life afirmation can boost your mood.
There is plenty of room to get creative and there any many online resouces to help you. If an app is your preference try Masterclass or if eLearning suits you best try FutureLearn. Of course reading a book on the topic can also be inspiring. Not everything has to be online.
5. Learning a Language
Where we live is becoming more and more multicultural. In our small block of 5 houses alone we cover Easern Europe, Asia, West Indies and UK. Whether you want to be able to converse in the language of your neighbours or have your eye on the prize of the next holiday, when allowed, why not prepare and extend your vocabulary beyond what’s required to order food and ask directions. Duolingo seems like a great way to start. It makes games out of learning, and games are always fun right! It is also free if you don’t mind the ads. You can also graduate to having practice sessions with friends with a glass of wine or a virtual coffee via zoom.
Makes you just want to do a little happy dance doesn’t it!