The impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on people’s mental health in Devon may currently be difficult to determine, but to help people look after their own wellbeing during the national lockdown, Learn Devon is launching its “Mindfulness Challenge”.
The five-day challenge, which launches on Monday 16 November, features a series of short videos that provide an opportunity to take 20 minutes a day to ensure that mindfulness – training techniques for your mind and wellbeing – is part of your daily routine.
Each day will focus on different techniques to help with focus, concentration, relaxation, coping with anxiety, as well as stretches for desk workers and more.
Those who sign up for the challenge will receive an email each morning at 6am with a link to the day’s video which they can watch on-demand, in their own time. The email will also include further tips to improve wellbeing in everyday life.
Learn Devon, Devon County Council’s adult education service provider, hopes that everyone taking part will enhance their wellbeing, enabling them to better cope with life’s stresses and the difficulties brought about by the pandemic and a second national lockdown.
Paul Beard, a qualified meditation teacher and coach and yoga instructor for Learn Devon, said: “As a mindfulness and wellbeing tutor, I am aware of the detrimental effects coronavirus could bring about on the mental health of our communities and understand the impact this may have on our wellbeing. From amplifying anxiety and depression to loneliness and social isolation.
“Just like with COVID-19, the impact often remains unseen for a while, until the consequences become serious. Everybody needs to look after their mental health, just like physical health, because our mental health affects every part of our lives – from the way we think, act and feel, every day.
“Our minds don’t cause much of a problem when things are going well in our lives. However, when we encounter problems, drama and traumas, our minds can often turn into our worst enemies. We can increase our suffering through endless thinking and analysing. Mindfulness can help us step out of that and, in turn, can significantly increase our feeling of wellbeing.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: "A second national lockdown is a testing time for us all and it can have wide-ranging impacts, including impacting on people's mental health, which is something we all need to look after. These videos from Learn Devon are an extremely useful resource that everyone can tap into and benefit from. The techniques covered can help with general wellbeing, which is incredibly important at this time, and I would encourage everyone to sign up to the mindfulness challenge."
For those who enjoy the challenges and want to practice more mindfulness or other wellbeing courses, free follow up workshops and classes will be available from the following week. Those interested will be able to choose from courses such as painting to music, creative writing for wellbeing, everyday mindfulness and more. For more information go to www.learndevon.co.uk/mindfulness-challenge/
Learn Devon’s Mindfulness Challenge starts on Monday 16 November. Sign up for the challenge and improve your wellbeing.