January can be a difficult time for many people, whether you're trying to stick to New Year's resolutions or if you're struggling with the lack of light this time of year.
We've shared some useful resources if you've been trying to improve your finances, and we know sticking to a budget is a stressful task. It's easy to feel overwhelmed or to give up entirely after a short while.
Because of this, we think it's important to not only provide information on how to budget, but also on how to deal with the stress that often arises with it.
The NHS provide five steps to improving your mental wellbeing, namely to connect with other people, be physically active, learn new skills, give to others, and to practice mindfulness. We've compiled ways that you can tick all these boxes with the help of Cothrom in the list below.
1. Connect with other people
Feeling supported and cared for is a vital part of mental wellbeing, and building new meaningful relationships with other people is a great way to start. Cothrom can offer a space and opportunities to build these relationship, whether you attend as a learner or as a volunteer. Our volunteering roles are varied in both tasks and time commitment, whether you'd like to spend a day a month helping out on the van or in the garden, or if you'd like to come in once a week to work with the sewing machine or to upcycle and refurbish furniture. You can read more about volunteering opportunities here, or you can get in touch to see what role we can create for you.
2. Be physically active
Being physically active will improve both your physical and your mental health. However, committing to an exercise class or saying that you'll go to the gym once or twice a week can be hard to keep up with as it easily becomes a task or a burden that interferes with your down time. Luckily there are other ways to keep active. We've already mentioned gardening and helping out in the van as volunteering opportunities, but we also host Kevin Morrison each week for a Gentle Movement class which is perfect if you'd rather partake in less strenuous exercise in a social environment (especially since sitting down for tea afterwards is just as important as the exercise itself!). Gentle Movement takes place every Thursday afternoon at 2pm here at Cothrom Learning Centre.
3. Learn new skills
Adult learning can be a fantastic way to boost self-esteem and build a sense of purpose. And you don't need to commit to a full time course to reap the benefits! Cothrom can help you with tasks such as updating your CV, gaining a PC passport, practicing for your driving theory test, as well as a variety of SVQ's including in horticulture, business and admin, and child care. Depending on how much time you'd like to commit to learning something new, we are certain that we have something for you. But you don't need to commit to a course to learn with Cothrom - we can help you develop skills in woodworking, upcycling, and textiles at ReStore or other computer-based learning in the Learning Centre. More information about our courses are available under the tab Training in the menu at the top of the page.
We also host regular Knit & Natter evenings at Cothrom, which take place each Tuesday evening at 7-9pm. On Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8pm Ceòlas hold Gaelic classes for beginners and intermediate learners, here at the Learning Centre.
4. Give to others
You don't need to donate physical items like clothes or even money in order to give to others. Volunteering your time is just as generous and rewarding. We've already mentioned volunteering in previous points, but you can also volunteer to tutor and share a skill at Cothrom. For example, if you've got an interest in basketry, orienteering, creative writing, or any other area you can offer to tutor a small class in your topic of expertise during a short time. We think that adult learning is not just for improving your CV, but is the best way to discover new interests and friends. You can let us know if you're willing to share a skill with us through the contact details at the bottom of this post.
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Practising mindfulness can feel peculiar if you're not used to ever slowing down. But you don't need to go to a yoga class or read self-help books to become more mindful. Appreciating the moment you're in can be as easy as making sure you hear the end of a song you like before turning off the radio, eating your lunch at a table instead of at your desk, or dedicating time to take a bath or a hot shower after a long day. If you're inside for most of the day, whether at home or in an office, one of the best ways to practice mindfulness is to spend a little bit of time outside in the fresh air. We also think that steps 1-4 on this list can themselves help with improving mindfulness.
Do you know other ways to improve your mental wellbeing that worked for you? Let us know, we'd love to share more tips (anonymously if you so wish)!
If you'd like to get more information on adult learning, volunteering, skill sharing, or ways in which Cothrom can help you - get in touch on 01878 700910 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org