Self isolation and social distancing may be vital for our physical wellbeing, but they are likely to prove difficult for our mental wellbeing, as many of the things that will have brought pleasure and comfort are now off limits. Self care may be proving difficult, but it is more important than ever, so the idea behind this blog is to collect and suggest some ideas to keep us well in mind and soul as well as in body.
We would normally be opening our wellbeing cafe on a Monday morning. Much of the joy of that is being able to gather for shared activities and conversation and reflection, so it is going to take some creativity to imagine how we can replicate that without meeting in person. Fortunately, the folk at Renew Wellbeing and wellbeing cafes across the country have been using their creativity.
* If the thing you value most about Renew is the activities, perhaps you could try something creative on your own at home - you'll find some ideas below.
* If the thing you value most about Renew is the conversation, why not call / Skype / WhatsApp / send a carrier pigeon to someone for a chat?
* If the thing you value most about Renew is the reflection, you can find a video of a form of the examen here.
* If you really want to create the Renew experience at home, you could combine any of the above and reflect on the phone or share your crafts online.
* Renew are posting the 'Daily Dose' - short prayers and reflections - every Monday to Friday over on their website.
* Renew partner with Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries who host a podcast and a blog - why not have a read or a listen?
So what kind of activities might you do at home? If you don't regularly get crafty at home, you might think you're not set up for it, but you might find you surprise yourselves.
* We've been a big fan of jigsaws recently, but don't fear if you don't have any at home, because it turns out there are loads online - just search for online jigsaws.
* We also had an origami phase, and you don't need any special paper, just whatever you have cut into a square - why not make a crane and add it to our flock when we're back?
* If you have access to a printer, you could search online for some mindfulness colouring pages.
* If no printer, simply take a pen and doodle on a piece of paper in loops and swirls, then colour in the shapes you have made.
* If no colouring pencils, you could use different patterns such as stripes or spots or zig zags for the different shapes instead.
* If you can spare some salt and flour, you could try making some dough - there's something quite therapeutic about playing with it, and if you leave it to dry you have a new ornament.
You might also appreciate the following thoughts from Renew, posted in the first of their weekly blogs, reflecting on the five ways to wellbeing.
* CONNECT: How are you connecting with the peace of God? What are your daily habits of meditation and prayer etc ? How could you connect using technology with those around you and those most isolated ?
* LEARN: What new habits and hobbies could you have a go at instead of watching the news and flicking through social media ? Is there a way to share these hobbies via videos link ?
* GET ACTIVE: What daily rhythms of exercise and outdoor time can you have and who could you include in some way safely ?
* TAKE NOTICE: What are you observing about how you are feeling ? Could you keep a journal, start a blog ? What habits of stillness and silence do you have … eg meditation / using Psalms / breath prayer
* GIVE: Who could you help and how ? It takes a bit more thinking about now but there may be one neighbour, colleague etc.
And finally, here are some hopeful thoughts and helpful advice we have been collecting over in another blog.
Take care and please do let us know if you have any other ideas for how we can each look after our own wellbeing and support the wellbeing of others.
May you be protected in mind and soul as well as in body. May you be unafraid to speak of your sorrow and your fear, but may you still find things that bring you joy. And may you know unusual peace in these unusual times.