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WellMe – Keep Learning

Earlier in the year, we launched the wellbeing initiative WellMe for our Churchill colleagues. The programme consists of five pillars that are designed to promote positive mindsets, personal development, and physical and mental health awareness. These include:

  • Be Active
  • Keep Learning
  • Give
  • Connect
  • Take Notice

We covered ‘Be Active’ in a blog last month. This month, we’re focusing on ‘Keep Learning’. There are many misconceptions about learning. The most common one is that it stops when we leave school or higher education. This doesn’t have to be the case. Lifelong learning can take a variety of forms, from gaining recognised qualifications to something as simple as developing a new skill or picking up a new hobby.

Lockdown presents an opportunity for those with more time on their hands to acquire knowledge and develop new skills. Continuous learning can aid wellbeing by enhancing self-esteem as well as encouraging social interaction, albeit online. According to the NHS, the opportunity to engage in educational activities helps to alleviate depression and improve mental health generally.

Here are some things you can do to boost your wellbeing in and outside of work:

Learn about your colleagues
Not all learning has to be formal or time-consuming. Find out something about your colleagues, such as what they enjoy doing in their free time. You’ll find things in common and build stronger bonds with teammates in the process.

Sign up for a class or start a new hobby
It’s important to switch off outside of work hours, or from the mundanity that comes with being stuck indoors for long periods of time. From online language classes to virtual dance lessons, there is an activity for everyone regardless of lockdown. Use apps like Meetup to find online events and people near you with similar interests. Studies show that this kind of mental stimulation boosts wellbeing.

Set up a book club
Research also suggests that reading as little as six minutes every day can reduce stress. Think about setting up or joining an online book club with colleagues or friends. Doing this will allow you to ‘meet’ new people and expand your social circle. If you don’t know where to start, set up a Facebook group and invite your friends.

Do a crossword or Sudoku
Puzzles are fun and simple ways to keep the brain active. Researchers at the University of Exeter and King’s College London have found that brain games involving numbers and words improve mental performance and keep you feeling younger. Inviting colleagues and friends to play online games such as Words with Friends will also help you to build social connections.

Research something new
Learning new things in adult life helps to keep the brain active and opens you up to new interests and ideas. Plenty of education providers offer online courses that you can do at your own pace and leisure. The Open University has OpenLearn, an online repository of 1,000 free courses across eight subjects.

Learn a new word
Discovering a new word each day is quick and easy. Expanding vocabulary boosts memory, communication skills and confidence. Online dictionaries such as Merriam Webster and provide the meaning to a new word every day.