With an estimated 3.7 million people in the UK reporting high levels of loneliness and those aged between 16-29 over two times more likely to report feeling lonely¹, the question is, which activities should you choose to make the most of your free time and improve your mental health?
While setting aside time to spend socialising with friends and family or on hobbies may seem like an apparent activity most Brits enjoy, recent research has shown that almost a third of Brits aged between 25-49 are doing quite the opposite².
With this in mind, here at Wheel of Fate we have highlighted how Brits can combine socialising whilst prioritising their mental wellbeing:
Taking part in craft activities
Any social activity or hobby that will divert your attention from a phone screen will have a positive mental impact. According to research revealing that 44% of Brits choose a hobby to help manage stress,³ opting for craft creation as a social occasion could be the way forward. Moreover, participating in craft activities can be an ideal way to ease feelings of stress and anxiety, relieving hormones such as cortisol. It can also encourage a sense of purpose, skill and social community.
Speaking on the power of spending time on alternate activities, Mental Health Advocate, Public Speaker, and Founder of Purpose Made Peter Bell says: “Engaging in new activities often involves learning, which can be highly therapeutic. As we grapple with unfamiliar concepts or techniques, we challenge our brains to think differently, encouraging neural plasticity. This cognitive flexibility is linked to improved stress resilience, problem-solving skills, and overall psychological wellbeing.”
Trying something completely new
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can provide extra stimulation for the brain. Not only is trying new hobbies and activities vital for personal growth and brain function, but it's also beneficial to spend leisure time doing something memorable.
Explaining the importance of new and alternative hobbies, Body Wisdom Coach, Fiona Montgommery comments: “One of the most critical factors in wellbeing is balance, and the best way to find the balance that works for you, is by trying things that we wouldn't usually try.
“Ensuring we enjoy various daily activities, which engage different parts of our brains and allow us to feel fulfilled and happy, contributes to improved mental health. Trying new things, which allow us to be creative and expand our knowledge, are all essential to wellbeing.”
Likewise, mental health advocate, Peter Bell, adds: “Trying new hobbies and alternative activities can foster a sense of achievement and self-efficacy. When we start from scratch and progress in an activity, we experience first-hand that we can grow and change.”
With 20% of the population ditching alcohol and this figure increasing among young people⁴, it’s no shock that people continue looking for alternative social activities that suit a sober lifestyle.
Younger generations are drinking less because they’re prioritising their health and wellbeing. Whether it’s an employee outing needing to align with various individual lifestyle preferences, an intergenerational get-together, or a birthday celebration with friends, choosing an alternative activity which doesn't require drinking is a great way to include all members of the group and offer a space to aid social connections through shared interests.
Finding a group activity for people with different interests can be a challenge. Embracing diversity and inclusion by trying a unique social activity can be a great alternative.
Peter Bell shares: ”It's important to acknowledge that each of us is multifaceted, with a myriad of potential talents, interests, and passions. We're not exercising our full potential when we box ourselves into a single activity or routine.
“Diversification in our activities sparks creativity, aids in self-discovery, and exposes us to different perspectives. All of this contributes to a broader, richer, more resilient mindset, which can tremendously benefit our mental health.”
Choosing witch craft and folk art workshops
There is magic in the act of creating. You are making something out of nothing with your own two hands that you can then look at and feel proud of. And when you do that with other people, you get to reap the benefits of community. You can look at an object and say we made this.
Throughout the pandemic, so many of us started to engage with handcrafts in a way we hadn't before to get involved with the elemental components of things we formally only knew as finished products. But what we are now regaining is each other. At Wheel of Fate, we are particularly proud to have created a safe and inclusive space where people are welcome to come and share a unique crafting experience.