As lockdown restrictions combined with short winter days take their toll, it's more important than ever to look after your wellbeing. These activities to do at home will hopefully help you recharge, find moments of joy and stave off lockdown lethargy.

Get creative

Painting, drawing, cross stitch, creative writing, dance, music. Creative activities like these have calming, destressing effects, whether you’re a complete beginner or it’s been a lifelong hobby.

If you'd like a little help honing your art skills, the Royal West of England Academy has online classes coming up during January and February. Painting Snow (23 & 30 January) will cover using oil painting techniques to produce wintry scenes, while a Portrait and Figure Drawing course starts on 22 February and Drawing, Paint and Colour Intermediate on 24 February.

Hand holding a paintbrush next to a painting of a chair and window
Image - Royal West of England Academy  

Westonbirt Arboretum has 52 varied wellbeing activities to inspire your ‘#Creativitree’. They invite you to write haikus, draw a tree-inspired building, photograph amazing colours, create your own yoga pose and much more. 

Arnolfini also has a series of workshops by Rising Arts Agency centred on art and wellbeing coming up as well as creative activity sheets, designed by UWE students as part of The Big Draw and inspired by two of their exhibitions. 

Led by two choir leaders and music therapists, be inspired by The New Room's upcoming Singing and Stories Workshop (22 March) which will include songs and stories on themes connected to Bristol’s history and the museum's own collection. 

Our colouring in sheets of Bristol scenery and attractions designed by local artists are also a great way to unwind. It's definitely not just for kids!

Colouring in illustration of Bristol boats, balloons, Clifton Suspension Bridge and more
Image - Jenny Urquhart illustration

Stay connected digitally

Although we can’t meet in person right now, there are ways of staying connected while staying at home. Virtual events can keep you in touch with your community or even help you meet new people with similar interests to you.

Bookworms and creatives might like to join Spike Island’s online community with their Associate Membership, which gives you access to events including reading and discussion groups, workshops, one-to-one meetings with artists and curators, coaching sessions and more.

You can also view a limited selection of artist interviews and studio visits on the Spike Island YouTube channel, or view their online exhibitions.

Spike Island Denzil Forrester

Image - Spike Island

Mental health charity Changes Bristol has teamed up with Story Slam for an online story-telling, poetry and spoken word event. The Time to Talk Day Jamboree will celebrate talking therapies, peer support groups, befriending and other mental health services. You can go along just to watch or submit your own story, poem or spoken word piece in advance too.

Changes Bristol also runs regular online support groups, offering non-judgemental, safe and confidential spaces to chat with others.

February is LGBT History Month and this year's theme is Mind, Body and Spirit. Connect with others through the programme of virtual events which includes talks, yoga, a quiz and the chance to discuss LGBT+ film and TV through the Queer Vision Sofa Club. 

Treat your loved ones

According to Mind, giving to others can give your own mental wellbeing a boost as well as showing your giftee how much you appreciate them. There are lots of ways to arrange a surprise pick-me-up for friends or loved ones who you can’t be with in person right now.

Our guide to Bristol businesses offering nationwide delivery includes food, drink, souvenirs and more. Or give someone a nudge to take some downtime with pampering products from Bowood Hotel’s online spa shop, Nails Inc at Harvey Nichols or PURE Spa & Beauty. If they’re a Bristol local, you could arrange a delivery of their favourite takeaway.

If you fancy giving back to the wider community too, take a look at these Bristol causes to support in 2021

Souvenirs from Brunel's SS Great Britain gift shop in front of the ship

Image - Brunel's SS Great Britain

Get lost in a good book

Reading can reduce stress and offer escapism – something we could all use right now. For inspiration on what to read next, check out these books set in Bristol featuring stories about everything from Georgian high society, to 1980s university life, to modern murder mysteries. There’s also non-fiction titles telling true tales about the city’s past, poetry, cookbooks and more.

Bring the outdoors in

Until we can get back to exploring calming green and blue spaces further afield once again, spend some virtual time in nature instead. WWT Slimbridge is keeping us connected to the wonderful wildlife across their reserve through #WetlandWellbeing social media posts.  

We recommend following Bristol Zoo Gardens, Wild Place Project, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and Longleat on social media for spirit-lifting cute animal updates too! And for deep dives into some of the world's most biodiverse places, browse the back catalogue of Bristol Zoo's Conservation Lectures.

Twitchers missing the mesmerising starling murmurations at RSPB Ham Wall Nature Reserve can get involved with the Big Garden Birdwatch (29 – 31 January) at home. It’s the world’s largest wildlife survey that you can take part in from your garden or even via your window.

Getting green-fingered also has great benefits for wellbeing and you can get started growing herbs with a ‘Grow At Home’ kit from Jekka's online shop. You might be tempted by their tension-relieving herbal infusion teas too.

Jekka's Grow At Home Herb Veg Kit

Image - Jekka's

Keep active

If you can, getting out for a walk is a great mood booster. Of course, in lockdown your walks can only go as far as your local area. But you might discover somewhere new nearby to explore in our guide to winter walks or in our locals’ guides to different areas in the city.

Please follow the latest Covid-19 guidance about leaving your home for exercise. 

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6 Ways to look after your wellbeing in lockdown

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