This week’s theme:
Mental Health Awareness Week
Fact of the day:
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place around you and savouring ‘the moment’ directly enhances your well-being.
Window Bingo download; paper, watercolour paints, newspaper; tray or plate, sand/gravel or salt/sugar/soil/coffee; peg/pipe cleaner/sticks/lolly stick and wool; colouring in print out; Youtube; shells, beach towel, bowl of water.
Open the window and take the time to really listen to what you can see or hear both near and far away – tick off anything on our Window Bingo sheet. A winning score is 4 in a row (horizontal, diagonal, or vertical), or 4 or more in total. Try again at a different time of the day and see if you score differently.
Notice if you’re feeling tense, anxious, or angry. You can take these emotions out and release frustrations on a piece of paper and then create art work from it. Scrunch up a piece of paper tight into a ball, catching all of your emotions in it. Watercolour paint this scrunched ball with lots of different colours (you can open it up and scrunch it again to make sure you’ve covered the white space). When it’s all painted, open up the ball to release the crumpled page and notice how our sadness, frustration and bad thoughts have been turned around, and how you’ve turned them into a beautiful artwork.
Or, focus your frustration into scrunching up pages of newspaper. Use this newspaper ball instead of a brush, and see what beautiful paint patterns you can dab and create.
A Japanese rock garden (sometimes called a “dry landscape” garden or a ‘zen garden’) has carefully placed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water.
In a tray or on a plate, try making your own miniature tabletop zen garden. If you don’t have sand, you could use soil, sugar, coffee, or salt. Using a fork, rake the sand into different wave or ripple patterns in slow, controlled motions – these motions can become meditative and relaxing. Try listening to this ‘zen’ music and notice the slow fluid patterns that you’re making in the sand and the calm actions that you’re using to create them.
You could also create a similar effect with your fingertip in a plate of uncooked rice or cous cous grains.
It’s important to notice and recognise our worries and take them seriously. In Guatemala people create ‘worry dolls’ in the image of a Mayan princess who was gifted the power to solve any problem a human could worry about. Worry dolls are used by people who are feeling fear or worry. People tell their doll about the things that are bothering them, then hide the doll under their pillow during the night. In the morning when they wake some of the worry is said to have been taken away by the worry doll. Worry dolls can be used to ease the mind or make wishes on too, or can be used as an imaginary, but trustworthy “listener” or “contact person”.
It’s important to think positively, talk about how we feel, and to remind ourselves of things that we know are good about ourselves. Try some mindful colouring in with this colouring in sheet that you can download and print out. Take your time and slowly colour in the positive words that you think apply to you.
Doing gentle, peaceful activities can help us be ‘in the moment’, enjoying what we’re quietly engaging with.
Try listening to a gentle storytelling visualisation such as this one about a walk on the beach. Try and imagine you’re really there, if you have any seashells you can hold on to them, or hold them to your ear as you listen, or you could wrap a beach towel around you, or you could put your feet in a bowl of ‘sea’ water or a bucket of sand as you listen.
Try some calm Tai Chi exercises (from 1.28minutes)
Add on Activity:
If you have plant at home, take notice of them. Do they look like they need watering or looking after?
We refer to being Zen as a way to calm down or relax through chaotic times; to be Zen is to embrace simplicity. Try having a de-clutter – are your drawers a mess, take the time to sort, fold, and organise them to help you feel on-top of things. Is your desk messy, take the time to clear it and feel calmer.