Keep Learning…Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.
Click here for some more ways to Keep Learning.
Find out about the other Six Ways to Wellbeing:
‘Often we have no idea what we are feeling until we start speaking or writing about it.’
Danika has been going to a Wise Words for Wellbeing workshop in Canterbury. She loves free writing – having a theme and then jotting down whatever comes into her head. The regular creative sessions have also helped her to tune into her own feelings:
If you’re in Canterbury in mid-September, you can find out more about the Wise Words festival: www.wisewordsfestival.co.uk
We’re doing (curiously) well in the Adult Learners’ Week, hearing about the knowledge you pick up when you’re doing a hobby or chatting to friends.
As a volunteer for the Kent High Weald Partnership, Donald’s learned about hedge-laying, building boardwalks and pond clearance. He’s also turned into a naturalist – without even trying:
“To keep out the algae, we’ve been putting barley straw in Sherwood Lake. I don’t know what has happened in the last few years, but all the wild animals seem to have got a lot tamer. It’s quite strange. I know there are a lot of frogs around, but it’s different when you’re actually in there. You turn your head, trying to throw something in the water and there is a little frog looking at you, sitting on a leaf. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to make your day, but it is amazing how close to the wildlife you become.”
He’s also gleaned a bit about the history….
“Sherwood Park used to be owned by Siemens. It was a private estate and before the estate was built, the Canadians were here during the Second World War. An elderly gentleman just down the road from me, told me that before D-Day, a lot of them learned to swim in the lake. Now you’d never find that out if you weren’t working or if you didn’t have a personal interest in the job.”
….and mastered tea-making on an industrial scale!
Fancy getting out in the sunshine and picking up some new skills as you go? The Kent High Weald Partnership has lots of projects which combine outdoor learning and fun: http://www.khwp.org.uk/outdoor-learning-a-fun
Which goes to show, you don’t need to book a class to keep learning. Sometimes it happens without you noticing….
“I feel that I’ve achieved quite a lot in the last few months.”
Keith’s mother will be 90 soon and lives a few doors down from Keith. He sees her every day. In Carers’ Week, he describes how he keeps learning: “I do all her shopping. I sort out all her bills and that. So I practically do basically everything. I cook her meals as well. And that way I’ve been learning how to cook.”
“We had a cookery thing up here in the church. I’ve learned how to use a slow cooker, which I made what I call a stew. And I cooked it. I tried it out on my Mum first and she enjoyed it. I’ve had my sister round for meals as well.”
“I feel that I’ve achieved quite a lot in the last few months.”
“It started off that you bring one book and, because people love books so much, they’re bringing 5 or 6!”
Bee lives in Margate and runs two “Bee’s Bookshare” groups in Margate and Deal. They’re free to join. You just bring a book that you’ve loved, loathed, or someone’s given you, and you talk about it. And then you swap it with somebody else.
Got a book you think others would enjoy? Tell us about it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LiveItWellKent
Find out more about Bee’s groups: beesbooknook.wordpress.com
No surprise – Bee is also a library fan: “I always go in looking for one thing and then come out with 10 other things. It’s a bit like going in a sweet shop and just getting everything but not having to pay for it either!”
Pop into your library for inspiration …but not necessarily sweets!: www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/libraries
Used wisely, the Web can really boost your wellbeing!
With email, you can connect and keep in touch with old friends, no matter where they live. And if you want to keep learning about your hobby, there’s probably an online forum for you and other enthusiasts. Or you can go one step further and create your own blog or website. Emma’s built a website for her community organisation Newington Big Local.
“It was handed to me with nothing but ‘Newington Big Local’ written on it!”
“So I just had a look on the web to see what different things you can add and the different techniques you can use. It was basically just touch and go. I’d put something on, a bit of writing about who we are, what we do and a few photos. I’d just play around with it.”
“After I’d finished the website, I did feel nervous because no-one had seen it. And I’d sent it out, saying I had done it. I asked everyone to have a look and let me know their honest opinions.”
“And I got such great feedback back. There was one comment and it was just, “Wow, is there anything you can’t do?” And I thought, “Okay”. It was a bit surprising because I didn’t think I was going to get a comment like that at all!”
“So I have built the website. And that’s one thing that I never thought I would ever be able to do. It’s definitely boosted my confidence.”
You can have a look at Emma’s Newington website here: www.newingtonbiglocal.org
“I said I needed to retire at eighty. I thought eighty was old then!”
Jenny is ninety and has been involved in the Herne Bay Branch of the WEA as Chairman, Secretary and committed student since 1983. She finally ‘retired’ as Branch Chairman a year ago. But she still goes to WEA classes. She’s just finished studying the works of Oscar Wilde and she’s enjoying Spanish and Portuguese music in another group:
“I have made so many friends, really good friends, and met so many interesting people.”
“As an offshoot of the literature class, I started a poetry group which meets in my house on the second Monday of every month. And that has been going for the better part of 20 years now. And so many of the people who were there at the beginning are no longer with us. But the numbers always seem to stay the same, because people always come. We are very tightknit group and we care for each other.”
You can watch Jenny talking about the 30th Anniversary of the Herne Bay Branch here:
The WEA, the Workers’ Educational Association, is a national adult education organisation. It has fourteen volunteer-run branches across Kent and many of the volunteers are also students in WEA classes. Find out more about the WEA in Kent by following the link: ” title=”Southern WEA Kent” href=”http://southern.wea.org.uk/map/by-county/kent.html” target=”_blank”>http://southern.wea.org.uk/map/by-county/kent.html
“You have to jar yourself to come back and say, ‘Hang on a minute, I’m at work! I must put this book back on the shelf!”
Rob works for Kent Libraries. Even though he’s surrounded by books, he never gets bored of them. Ever. “When we’re tidying or shelving, I’ll sometimes pick up a book. I’ll just have a look through the pages quickly. Then all of a sudden, you’re not in the library. You’re in a completely different world.”
“It might be a book I wouldn’t normally even look at. Something like Egyptian or Roman history. Even the children’s books. You just pick it up. And you realise that these people existed years and years ago. You’re re-living that bit. And it’s fascinating.”
“Then you have to jar yourself to come back and say, “Hang on a minute, I’m at work! I must put this book back on the shelf!” So it’s enthralling. Books are good!”
And libraries aren’t just about books. You can borrow CDs and DVDs and find out about local groups and clubs. Follow the link for more information on what your library offers: http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/libraries
Rob is also a volunteer ‘Computer Buddy’ for Kent County Council, ‘I help people learn how to use the computer, surf the internet and develop an interest through it.’
“She likes to be sociable so being around others is good for me and good for her.”
Hayley and her daughter Eden went to a ‘Vocal Babies’ group at their local library:
“It was nice to get out of the house for me. And we have learned some different songs and signs. That’s the main part. Eden has even started doing a few of the signs now. She signs for milk and says ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. And I’ll carry on with the signs at home. We’ll learn different ways to communicate, because she gets frustrated when she can’t talk. So it was really good fun.”
“It’s doing something with my daughter, knowing that it stimulated her and wasn’t just a waste of my day. Sitting at home singing songs with her is fantastic and I really like doing that. But it is getting her out. She likes to be sociable, so being around others is good for me and good for her. It gives me a little bit of a break because she communicates with the other babies and I can talk to the other adults. So it is very nice. She can play and I can talk and relax.”
“The thing is with local history, no one is the expert. Everyone has got a story.”
Christoph loves to uncover the history of places in danger of being overlooked:
“My first memory of local history was probably being walked around the village by my parents when I was very, very small. I lived in Chalk, just outside Gravesend, and I still remember then, even as a youngster – maybe three or four – seeing buildings being demolished. Buildings being replaced by something hideously ugly. And I think that is what started me being interested in local history. As a small boy, seeing the removal of landscapes.”
“The thing is with local history, no one is the expert. Everyone has got a story. Everyone has got something to say, to add to the pot.”
“Local history is like an onion. It has many, many layers. You just keep on peeling and there is another one underneath!”
Christoph run’s regular walks in Gravesend you can find out more at the Gr@nd’s Facebook page : facebook.com/grand.gravesend
“It’s another string to your bow, isn’t it really? You’ve learned a new word!”
Christine lives in Dartford and loves doing crosswords: “I do like to finish them, whatever it takes. If I don’t, I feel like I’ve let myself down. I don’t give up easily!” “Sometimes the clues are for words that I don’t really know. So I have to search for them in the dictionary. But then, it’s another word you’ve learned. So it’s another feather in your cap, isn’t it?”
“I’m not competitive. I never have been. So it’s probably my own little way of being competitive – by not being beaten by a crossword!”
If you’re into solving puzzles, tell us about it on our Facebook Page
And if you scroll down this page, you can watch Christine talking about getting to grips with her laptop.
Carl works at The Gr@nd Healthy Living Centre in Gravesend
‘There’s a running joke in our house at the moment. I bought a ukulele, probably two or three years ago now. Might be longer. I bought it when my daughter was doing it at school. They’d introduced ukuleles like a beginner’s instrument, instead of recorders. So I thought it would be something that me and my daughter could do together. So we’ve both got ukuleles. She’s got one on the top of her wardrobe. And mine has been sat on the shelf and I’ve still not learned how to play it. So my goal is to get this ukulele off the shelf and learn how to play it properly. I’d like to do it for myself!’
Christine wasn’t sure about using her computer, until she joined the Living Well Silver Surfers club at the Healthy Living Centre Dartford.
Grahame is a member of the “Silver Surfers” computing group at the Healthy Living Centre Dartford.
“It’s very uplifting. I enjoy it very much. If you get one or two weeks when it’s really good and you learn something completely from scratch, you get a surge. It makes you look forward to coming back the following week.”
Here are some more ways you can keep learning:
- Re-tune the radio and listen to something new
- Browse in a charity shop and look at the sections you don’t usually look at – CDs, DVDs, books, shoes…
- Read a book you have always wanted to read
- Watch an interesting documentary on TV
- Learn a new recipe and cook for…
- Learn to play a simple tune on a musical instrument
- Ask a friend to teach me a practical skill I’d like to learn – changing a plug, sewing on a button…
- Learn and use a new word
- Learn 5 phrases in a different language
- Do some Internet research on a topic that intrigues you
- Learn to identify a star constellation or type of tree
- Borrow a teach yourself book from the library
- Read a bit of a newspaper or magazine that you wouldn’t normally look at
Click here for some more ways to Keep Learning.
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