It’s grey outside, it gets dark early, and often in January it feels like the best thing to do is hibernate!
However, the third way to wellbeing is ‘take notice’ – and believe it or not there are things worth taking notice of, even (perhaps especially) in deepest winter! In fact I’ve seen some stunning views just on my walk to and from work this winter.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre explains: “An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment.” (NHS website www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/mindfulness.aspx)
I often think of ‘take notice’ as something we do personally, rather than something that organisations help us achieve, but that is not always the case.
Gardens are a fantastic way of taking notice and enjoying every aspect of the changing seasons. Reading has a wealth of community and therapeutic gardens.
- Oxford Road Community Garden – an oasis for the whole community in an otherwise built up area of West Reading
- Food4Families supports community gardens across helping people to learn to grow their own food, linking in with the ‘keep learning’ aspect of wellbeing as well.
- The Ridgeline Trust and Thrive both run therapeutic gardens to enable people with disabilities and mental ill health to develop skills and enjoy the peaceful outdoor space.
Reading has a number of museums that enable us to stop and take notice of aspects of Reading’s (and further a-field) rich history that we may otherwise overlook. The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is newly refurbished with fantastic displays, peaceful open space and a family friendly cafe.
If participation rather than observation is more your thing, several organisations will help you ‘take notice’ by helping you create your own works of art.
- Coffee and Craft works with adults and children in East Reading, providing low cost arts and craft classes
- Jelly also runs workshops for pre-school children and adults in locations around Reading.
Listening to or participating in music is another way you can take notice. Readipop runs a range of concerts, music groups and choirs for all ages, including ‘Tea and Jam‘ music group and ‘Moving On Choir‘, both for over 60s.
Take notice of what is going on around Reading next Tuesday 31 January at the central library where we will be holding the Reading Wellbeing Fair! We are also holding wellbeing fairs in Whitley on Wednesday 8 March and in Caversham in April. More details to come.
Next week we will be looking at how local organisations help us achieve the 4th way to wellbeing: Keep Learning.