The Five Ways to Wellbeing

by Wyn Williams.

Like a lot of parents in Cymru [Wales] I’ve been supervising the kid’s studies for quite a few weeks now. I prefer not to count the time that’s elapsed like some modern-day Robinson Crusoe, although I’m reliably told by someone that doesn’t have children that we’ve been in lockdown for ten weeks now. It’s good that people who aren’t parents still have their wits about them.

Thankfully, the children have still got their wits about them too.

Generally, I blog to highlight wisdom from great philosophers and writers, but as we’ve all chosen to Do The Right Thing and selected to stay at home for over two months, it would seem apt to share some more homespun wisdom this week:

“I’d rather be busy doing something stressful than relaxing doing nothing”

…was one of the many things that Junior said yesterday, which ties in nicely to how we’re being encouraged to look at old light through a new frame here during a particularly well-timed Mental Health Awareness Week.

Time has always been our greatest – and possibly most overlooked – asset, and thankfully time with our family seems to be the one thing we have more of at the moment (apart from fuel for the car that ironically we hardly need) it would seem to be timely to see how our current situation might impact positively on our future choices post-lockdown.

The five ways to wellbeing

1. Connect

“Being busy” was until very recently the prime excuse for not spending quality time with the family, even though evidence suggests that spending time nurturing our important relationships is vital to us.

Post-coronavirus crisis, we will have learned that – rather than being an add-on or best-kept-for-the-beach activity – playing the games we were brought up on, whether that be the board or the beach variety, is the new must-do for every week of Successful Living.

2. Get Active

“Healthy body, healthy mind” was our games teacher’s mantra, which was a little misplaced as he really should have thought of a Welsh version of that well-known maxim for our Welsh-medium school.

Nevertheless, I think on it frequently, particularly when I’m trying to reach my lockdown target of The Five-Minute Plank.

However, it’s not the memories of being shouted at as I struggled to jog “Rownd y pwll!” [around the swimming pool] that inspire me to do more sport these days, more the real sense of freedom that comes from simply throwing or kicking a rugby ball around.

Post-lockdown, we’re sure to keep on treating a visit to the local park like it’s a visit to the beach and enjoy planning and playing our activities there. 

Outdoor fun!

3. Keep learning

It’s possible that you forgot how much fun learning is until you had to teach your kids.

There have been challenges for sure, and we’ve had to stock up on fish-based brain-support supplements and the like (for the adults and the kids!), and make sure that the emails from the teachers aren’t opened until we’ve all had our breakfast; but we’ve also revelled in working out mathematical puzzles and making mocktails.

Who knew playing a barman was so good for working with scientific volumes?

Post-lockdown, the children will be able to continue their learning journey at school, while our current situation should enthuse us to make up for lost time when it comes to our learning new skills – be that in the workplace or elsewhere, as we’ve been made to remember recently that there’s a very good reason to have a bucket list of targets and must-dos.

4. Give to others

Children learn about sharing, negotiation of shared space and giving ideas to a team through play.

Post-Covid crisis, it won’t just be the team at work who’ll be enjoying running around the woods…..

pretending to shoot each other with toy guns, it will be entire families, all being well.

5. Take Notice

Like any great philosophy worth remembering, this has already been covered by Winnie The Pooh and Christopher Robin who have games built around noticing the world around them in order to be ‘in the moment’.

One of the central facets to mindfulness, it’s the 7 inch record of your mindful skills, where you put all your time and energy to be in the moment and nothing else.

After lockdown, hopefully we’ll still have time to play our favourite pop songs around the house on the record player so that the kids realise that we were young once too; there’s something about holding three minutes of joy in your hands that’s good for the soul (pardon the pun).

There are also plenty of catchy mantras stowed away in popular music, you can get them if you really want..!

Keep playing, have a great week and stay safe.

What positive #parenting habits can we carry on post- #lockdown?  #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2020

Wyn Williams is a husband and father to two children and a freelance multilingual multimedia producer who’s been editing, broadcasting and translating as @dailingual since 2011; during which time he’s produced 5 radio programmes for the BBC relaunched Wales only national newspaper ‘Y Cymro’ as editor and founded @mapioCymru, the Welsh Government’s Open Street Map Welsh-language map. Due to popular demand, he gave up singer-song writing in the late 2000s after playing his solitary gig on Tin Pan Alley and is now practising self-care instead.

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