This year Mental Health Awareness Week has a focus on five ways to improve your wellbeing. These are five super simple actions to give your mental health a boost. In the spirit of this kaupapa, here are five suggestions for ways you can find community, take notice, get active, give back and keep learning.
1. Connect with others at the UFO group at Auckland Library
If you’ve got a craft project that you’ve been wanting to complete for ages, the Unfinished Objective (UFO) Group is a space where you can finish any personal project, no matter how big or small, while being in the company of others, forging connections, and banishing the loneliness that sometimes creeps in when living in a bustling city.
Katie Richards, who facilitates the UFO Group, says that the concept behind the group – finishing unfinished projects – is broad enough that anyone can attend.
“It can be lonely in the city and we wanted to provide a space and a place where people could come and connect.”
The UFO group meets at Central City Library’s Makerspace every week Wednesday from 12-2pm – and everyone is welcome to join.
2. Give back to our community through volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and make a difference in your community. It can also be a lot of fun!
If you are interested in volunteering there are many ways you too can make a difference.
The Auckland Botanic Gardens has volunteering opportunities from gardening to holiday programmes and guiding walks. You don’t have to be a gardener to volunteer – a range of talents are welcomed.
Join a regular or one-off working bee, a beach clean-up, or help with pest control or tree planting in one of our local or regional parks. There is a volunteer activity for all ages and you can sign up with your whānau, friends or work mates.
If you’re a people person who loves to help others, or a practical person who’s happy to get stuck-in to more physical tasks, get in touch with Auckland Zoo to apply for Visitor Assistant, Zoo Guide, Keeper Assistant, and Zoo Crew roles. We’d love to have you join our whānau.
Share your passion about Aotearoa New Zealand’s stories of the sea with local and international visitors at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. We're currently seeking volunteer hosts and guides and we’d love to have you onboard. Join us today!
3. Be active this season for your mind and body
Getting active is great for the mind and the body, and it takes all kinds of forms! Scale that maunga you’ve always wanted to climb or take a stroll around the neighbourhood.
With Spring, it’s getting warmer and longer days and (fingers crossed) blue skies – it’s time to put on your trainers and get out the door.
Here are some low-cost and free ideas to help you stay active this season.
4. Take notice (mindfulness) and restore your wairua (spirit)
Engaging with our senses is an effective way to de-stress and be more present. There is even a mindfulness technique called the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique, which involves identifying five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
Check out these ideas for fully engaging with the sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes of Tāmaki Makaurau.
5. Keep learning - Try a woodworking workshop
Learning not only expands our horizons but also has the potential to improve our mental health. It encourages you to manage your time better, prioritize tasks, and break down problems — all valuable tools in stress reduction. Learning with others can also create connections.
The ReCreators offer a low-cost woodworking class at different venues across Auckland where you can learn DIY skills and power tools. Click here to check out upcoming courses.