posted on 05 Oct 20

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year. With so much going on in the world it has quite often been difficult to tune out the negatives and focus on our mental health and wellbeing.

Even though we are still fighting against the Coronavirus, we are starting to see some elements of 'normal' transition back into our everyday lives. As we begin to process what our 'new normal' means at each stage of progressing out of restrictions, it is important that we incorporate ways to improve our psychological and emotional health into our routines.

One way we can do this is to use the '5 Ways to Wellbeing' approach:

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1. Connect

Connect with people around you; with family, friends, neighbours or people you meet, at work, school or at the shops. Think of these social connections as important in your life and spend time developing them. Building these relationships will support and strengthen you every day.

Why not take the family out for a picnic? Sit along the banks of the Loddon River at Bridgewater and enjoy an award winning vanilla slice. Change your environment to promote connecting in a new way and different conversations. 

Many of our coffee shops and pubs have now reopened for dining-in. Now is the perfect time to catch up with a neighbour or friend for a meal or coffee. Check out our list of eateries.

If you have people in your life that you currently can't see in person right now a 'walk and talk' is a great way to connect. Organise a catch up while doing a nature walk - use your smartphone to either call or video chat and discuss where you are and what you are seeing. This is especially great for those who are unable to get outside at the moment such as grandparents in nursing homes or those who are in hospital.

Here’s a list of walking tracks in the Loddon Valley.

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2. Be Active

Keep your mind and body active. Step outside your house or go for a walk or run. Play a sport, dance, ride a bike or do some gardening. Find something you enjoy and do it regularly. Exercising makes you feel good and helps to clear your mind.

Being active can also be a group activity. Take the family and dog on a walk around the Boort Sculpture by the Lake trail at Little Lake Boort.

Or why not try a different type of physical activity and explore one of the three Loddon Valley canoe trails? The canoe trails feature purpose built ramps with marker buoys situated at points of interest. Don’t own a canoe? Don’t stress, you can hire them from the Boort Lakes Holiday Park. Click here for more information

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3. Keep Learning

Try something new or rediscover a past interest. Learn to sew, read a new book, listen to a radio program or take on a new role at work. Learn to play a musical instrument or do a computer course. Learning can be fun. It can give you a sense of achievement and build your confidence.

The Wedderburn self-guided walking tour is the perfect way to combine getting active with an element of learning. The self-guided walking tour booklet contains a history of Wedderburn and its buildings, a detailed map and images. 

In Bridgewater on Loddon, why not discover various different art styles at Arts of Olde from Ainsley? Or pop into Secret Platypus to learn stories about Aboriginal women artists in the Northern Territory and how Linda uses their screen prints to make one of a kind pieces of wearable art. 

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4. Be Aware

Be aware of the world around you; notice the changing seasons and the beautiful sights, smells and sounds as you do your daily activities. Notice how you feel. Try this as you walk, eat lunch or go for a ride. Being aware of the ‘here and now’ can help you feel calm and reduce stress.

This season, take in the smell of canola at the beginning of spring, and also take notice of other crops growing within the region. Go for a walk at Terrick Terrick National Park or Kooyoora State Park and check out the wildflowers – there are many orchids putting on a show at the moment. The bugs and wildlife are also springing to life, and you may be lucky to spot a native animal or two.

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5. Help Others

Do something kind for a friend or stranger. Thank someone, smile or say hello. Give your time to a community group or help a neighbour. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose and belonging, build friendships and make your community a better place.

Why not surprise a family member or a friend with a hamper of local produce delivered directly to their door from The Loddon Shed?>

Write a lovely note to your neighbours and pop it in their mailboxes for a surprise. Remember to always use your manners and show your appreciation towards local shop owners and why not show them extra support by sharing their social media posts to your own pages?

5 Ways to Wellbeing