When was the last time you learned something new? Today we are going to have a quick look about what it means to learn, how it can contribute to wellbeing, and how you might be able to learn something new in Lewisham.
In some ways we are constantly learning. What happens when you watch or listen to a news programme, for example, usually involves a degree of learning as you take in new information relating to the world and current events. But when we talk about learning as a way to wellbeing, we are talking about something a bit more than that. Learning can impact upon wellbeing when it really changes us, how we think of ourselves or lifts our confidence. It might be learning a new skill like how to knit or how to play a new musical instrument or it might be a language.
Most importantly, learning doesn’t have to take place in a traditional learning environment like a school or college. In Lewisham there are a number of voluntary groups and clubs where you can go to learn new skills. Never ridden a bike before? Wheels for Wellbeing still run their sessions on a Tuesday from 12 until 1pm! Want to learn to sew? Why not try ‘Sew You Need to Need to Get Out More’ at Besson Street Community Garden on Wednesday afternoons. The University if the Third Age offers a really broad variety of learning opportunities in the borough; just take a look at their timetable!
So maybe 2015 is the year you finally start having those French lessons, or fix up that rusty old bike that is sitting in your garage! Whatever it is you want to do, learning is sure to make you feel good!
This is the third in our seRies of posts about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. Did you notice the deliberate mistake in the first sentence? If you did then well done! If not, go back and have another look and this time be extra careful to Take notice. OK, this is a silly example, and spotting a capital R in the wrong place is not likely to improve your wellbeing significantly. But taking notice is really all about being present in the moment and not worrying too much about what else is going on that day or that week. It is about freeing yourself, even if just momentarily, from the multiple distractions that seem to be everywhere now days. From the phone buzzing in your pocket to adverts that scream out from TV sets sometimes it feels like we are being permanently bombarded with so much information that it might be easy to forget the simple pleasures that life brings.
Take a moment to look around you and really take in your environment, try to pick out something you’ve not noticed before and think about it for a few seconds. Take some deep breaths, feel yourself grounded in your surroundings. Feels good doesn’t it?
It is important to take notice, to be mindful, in the moment and meditate occasionally. Taking time like this will help to put things in perspective, come up with new solutions to the tasks that life throws at us, and to de-stress. Why not take an hour or two to go on a healthy walk? or take in some culture at the Horniman Museum? I’ll bet you will feel better for it! If you’d like some more ideas, get in touch!
Mental ill health costs UK employers an estimated £26 billion, which equates to an average of over £1,000 per employee.
Attending MHFA – Mental Health First Aid 2 days course has really helped me to to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health problem. In the same way as we learn physical first aid, mental health first aid taught me how to recognise symptoms that are crucial warning signs of mental ill health.
Mental ill health can affect every single one of us at any time of our lives. There is widespread ignorance of mental ill health in the general population and there is the associated stigma too. For some the stigma can lead to delays in people seeking help and support. There is also a lack of confidence in what to do if someone is distressed or in a crisis situation. Being able to recognise signs and symptoms more readily can save someone’s life and equipped with this training I am more aware of the services available to those who are suffering and I can signpost them to get support rather than just assuming that there is how the person is.
Poor mental health does not only affect you when you are old,family relationships, social pressures from peers and media as well as fears over the future – all these combine to make the world in which our young are growing up a confusing and, at times, an alienating place and we should not underestimate how it can affect them as much or worse than when you are older.
A staggering three quarters of all adult mental health problems start before the age of 18 and practitioners are putting pressure on the Government to get teachers to be trained to spot the early signs and symptoms in children in order to get an early diagnosis and allow these children to learn what is wrong with them and how to manage it throughout their lives.
How happy are YOU?
Please follow the link below for a quick mental health well being check on the NHS website:
If you’ve been following our posts about Ways to Wellbeing, you might be interested in this introductory session run by Voluntary Action Lewisham all about the 5 Ways to Wellbeing!
Five Ways to Wellbeing – free introductory session
Voluntary Action Lewisham has engaged with over 100 individuals in Lewisham, representing over 60 charities, in the Five Ways to Wellbeing. VAL is running an introductory session on Thursday 11 December.
This event is for staff and volunteers from Lewisham organisations and is aimed at those who have not attended a session previously.
Book now! This event is free – but booking online is essential.
So here we are with our second blog post on the five ways to wellbeing. This time we’re looking at staying active as a way to maintain or even improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Staying active is really about exercising your body’s muscles. And this doesn’t mean you have to be going to the gym and lifting weights everyday. It’s about doing what you can, what’s right for you, and what makes you feel good (for me it is cycling!).
Getting exercise is well known to be associated with levels of endorphins which are natural chemicals made in your body which make you feel good. Most people will know from their own experience that being active does really have a positive effect on how well they feel. And keeping muscles that little bit stronger can make all the difference as we become older and more frail.
There are so many more things to do as well, this is really just a small snapshot. So if you’d like a bit of support in staying active, in keeping your muscles working and the endorphins flowing, you can always get in touch on 0208 314 3244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.