by Owen Griffkin
Mental Health Participation Support Worker
Maybe these have inspired you to undertake an activity or take up a new hobby to improve your wellbeing. I’ve been looking at ways I can implement this in my life, and at the same time maybe provide some ideas for readers of our blog. I’ll provide 5 ways to engage in each of the 5 ways to wellbeing. The best thing about many of these activities is the fact that they straddle more than one ‘Way to Wellbeing’, often combining social activities with creative or active hobbies.
Part 1 - Connect
The advice is to connect with those around you as this will support and enrich you every day. Sometimes in rural areas it can feel hard to connect socially with people so maybe give yourself a jump-start by using an activity or interest to create social relationships.
1. Gaming Hubs
Gaming is a rapidly growing industry, with clubs springing up all over the county. Game designers are releasing board games that are reaching a much wider audience then in the heyday of Dungeons and Dragons. The subject matter and scope of these games is huge - I have played these myself sometimes with friends and strangers, and so far I have re-enacted the 1960 US election (I was JFK obviously and destroyed Nixon), started a railroad company in 1850s America, and pushed the boundaries of taste with the worldwide phenomenon of ‘Cards against Humanity’. Gaming is a great social activity as it allows for pressure free conversation and the fun of friendly competition.
|An evening at the gaming hub in full swing|
Two local hubs/shops that are very welcoming to newcomers are:
I went to a gaming night at KDM Gaming with my daughter, and whilst she was kept interested by an old version of Pac-man, I was able to have a game and chat with other attendees.
It’s only natural living in the land of song that we would feature a musical activity. A community choir is a wonderful way to connect, and we are blessed with many friendly and welcoming choirs in Powys.
Your first port of call should be Sing Your Heart Out. This is a purely social choir, and they do not do public performances so there is no pressure to perform. There are weekly sessions in Llandrindod and Meifod. If these aren’t close enough check local noticeboards for info on choirs closer to you. I attended a free taster session and was warmly welcomed and had a lot of fun - even if my vocal gymnastics were more Alan Ball then Michael Ball.
3. Men's Sheds
I love reading, but sometimes it’s hard to have the self-discipline to sit down to plough through a lengthy tome - and once you’ve finished the book all you want to do is discuss it with someone. This is where book clubs come in. They have been popular for a few years now and are still one of the most fun and rewarding social activities you can enjoy at your own pace. Like the gaming hubs, book clubs take a lot of pressure out of socialising, as conversation is created by the discussion around the book and you can engage with other club members. Not surprisingly Powys has a plethora of book clubs, lots of which are based at local libraries. Your library is the best starting point, but also check out independent book shops like The Hours in Brecon and the Great Oak Bookshop in Llanidloes.
5. Clubs and Societies
|An early meeting of the United Nations in Builth Wells*|
In a quick five minute search I have found active groups in Powys for astronomy, beekeeping and cameras. I then gave up on the ABC approach and also found model railway, community arts, historical societies and not forgetting the excellent Women’s Institute, who have groups all over the county.
Think about what activity you may like to do in a social setting - and if there isn’t a club already - why not set one up. One thing Powys doesn’t lack is space to hold meetings/events. From local church/village halls to rooms in pubs. Some of the largest societies in the world started out as small groups so who knows where it could lead. For example, the United Nations started as a monthly meeting in Builth Wells Village Hall of like-minded people from Powys who wanted to stop all wars and bring about world peace. *
*disclaimer - citation needed. Might not be factually accurate...