Copywriter Miranda Barrett, explores the importance of looking after our mental health, and what will be going on at this year's Wellbeing Festival.

As the shops begin to open and the vaccine rolls out, we’re all looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. But while we’ve been taking care of our physical health, studies are just beginning to show the impact of the pandemic on our wellbeing.

It can be tempting to try and sweep these feelings under the rug in the hope they’ll stop when lockdown is lifted, but mental health is important all year round and no one should have to suffer, regardless of circumstance. Whitespacers’ wellbeing is really important to us and in a bid to normalise the conversation around mental health we’ve put together a wellbeing festival to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from the 10th – 16th May. There is something for everyone, from getting in touch with nature to developing long-term coping strategies, breaking the verbal barriers around mental health and keeping wellbeing at the heart of what we do. Here’s just a few of the things we have in store.

Nature

An illustration of a person taking a picture of bright pink flowers.

In a year where so many of us have been stuck inside, it’s time to take advantage of the Spring sunshine* and connect with nature. In the #MoveThisMay challenge, Whitespacers will get together to run, cycle or walk 20-30 minutes a day and track their progress towards the North Coast 500-mile track.

*No promises!

For the more contemplative, there’s Nature Photography. You can sign up for a lunch time masterclass with a professional photographer before heading out to capture a photo of nature in your local area. Whether it’s up a mountain or in the back garden, this is a chance to enjoy a breath of fresh air away from the pressures of our screens. With some amazing prizes on offer for the best photos submitted, what’s not to love?

Community

An illustration of a girl with headphones on listening to a podcast whilst going for a walk in nature.

With friends, family and colleagues stuck on the small screen, it’s normal to feel isolated or lonely, and it can be hard to socially connect to those you once shared a workspace or classroom with. So this week, there’s an opportunity to spend time together with an exciting array of classes, whether that’s whipping up energy balls in the live Cooking class or finding your creative side in a Life Drawing session. There’s something for everyone! 

Building skillsets

An illustration of a women in a yoga pose.

With Summer on the way it’s easy to assume we’re all keen to be out and about. But for many, life after lockdown is a daunting prospect. At our interactive session on Post-Lockdown Anxiety you’ll be able to share your concerns with a panel of qualified professionals. Dr Julie Smith, clinical psychologist and mental health advocate, WWF’s William Baldwin-Cantello (author of the Thriving with Nature Guide), and Kate Harris from the charity NABS, will all be on hand to discuss their top tips on beating anxiety. 

Later in the week Tom Granger will lead an interactive session around his outstanding book Draw your Breath, which combines mindfulness and art to foster moments of tranquillity in a world where we are constantly on the move.

Finally, we are delighted to host Ted-Ex speaker and Happiness Consultant Samantha Clarke with her talk on Courageous Conversations, developing emotional intelligence and person-centred purpose in the workplace.

We’re so looking forward to the festival and we hope the events on offer help empower Whitespacers to take some time out of their busy days to focus on their mental health.

Illustrations for the festival by Hannah Robinson.