Welcome to the Wellbeing Zone
Do you need ways to 'get going', arty energy boosters? Do you need ways to chill out, worry less? Would creative and effective ways to focus and take control of your energy and time be useful?
Here's your Creative Toolkit for Challenging Times, with stuff for all ages. Try the different activities, strategies and tools to help you get through tricky times.
Fun Ways to Focus - ways to get your head and body focussed and ready to do stuff, achieve things and be the best YOU that is possible.
Creative Chillouts - ways to slow down, get rid of jittery anxiety and fears
Creative Energisers - activities, techniques and routines to give you a boost
Try Mark Anderson’s photographic task which asks you to really looking and zoom your eye, brain and camera.
Sarah introduces some basic West African drumming rhythms based on the 'heartbeat' pulse.
Sarah introduces some basic West African drumming rhythms based on the 'heartbeat' and the Macru rhythm
Head to our Tabletop Challenges page and make a puppet, create a feature sculpture from old magazines, or model a pot with these visual artists. Do a little bit at a time or sit and make all day - your choice.
Early years & sensory
Check out this range of sensory activities which focus our bodies on touch, smell and sound.
A brilliant A-Z of more sensory activities here.
Settle back and focus on Collar and Cuffs' sensory shows.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake up and shine?"
"I keep it simple," said light
"One day at a time"
Calm Down – Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!
It’s hard to chill out if your heart is racing or if you feel angry, irritated, sad, or full of fizzing energy.Need a little something to get you feeling more relaxed? We can all find different arts activities that suit us and work as our 'chill skills'.
Musicians, dancers and performers often have to destress and find ways of calming themselves when they feel down, frustrated, nervous, anxious or after a performance when they are full of extra energy. Check out how these 14 different artists chill out:
Artists' Chill Skills
Walking in the woods, baking, disc golf, building stuff from wood, exercise, meditating, playing guitar - just some of the Chill Skills used by our featured artists. Why not watch their short films and pick up ideas for ways that you can stay calm?
Have a look at Nathan Geering's introduction to wellbeing and ways to switch your unhelpful thoughts and mindset:
Intro to wellbeing
Doodling and designing can be a great way to slow down and get absorbed in colour and patterns.
...or some Zen doodling (YouTube):
...or anime type characters (YouTube):
Watch these moving sculptures - their gentle movement will keep you mesmerised!
Sit or lie down, get comfortable and Just listen to an audio book from the teen section of https://stories.audible.com/discovery or listen to a soft gentle play list of music.
Listen to artist Sam Bakewell describe how carving tiles helps him manage his anxiety (YouTube)
Use sand or flour on a tray or in a box to create patterns as touching soft textures can be a soothing sensory experience. Look at these beach sand drawings for inspiration (YouTube)
Try this simple stretching sequence to help you relax tense muscles and your mind. Choose a song or piece of music to do the sequence to and make it part of your daily routine.
Get comfortable and sit or lie back and just listen to these food stories from Therese Collins:
Colouring can be a gentle calming activity as it involves a repetitive physical action and gives you something to concentrate on and it is fun! Try out these:
How about painting some pebbles, it’s like colouring on a 3 dimensional object! Check out these ideas for starters, then make up your own.
Singing can be a great way of organising and calming our breathing. Join in with this beautiful song.
Try these body shapes and movements
(click to download PDFs):
Early years & sensory
Smells, physical actions such as squeezing and stretching and visual stimulus can really help to calm us down. Try these sensory calming activities
Here are some relaxation techniques for young people on the autism spectrum.
Check out the calm zone from Childline with lots of ideas and activities.
Having tasks and activities that help you feel OK will help you throughout your life.
If you need a little something to get you going, give you a buzz and lift your spirits, then getting physical is a great way to get your heart pumping, blood flowing, upping the oxygen in your body and lifting your mood.
Actors, singers, circus performers often have to energise themselves before a performance or rehearsal – so try the tasks below and see what works for you! Activities for all ages, teenagers and younger people, as well as early years and sensory.
General energisers for all ages
Dance can be a good way to stay well - find out how here and watch the Mental Health Awareness Week dance flash-mob on YouTube. Dance along if you like.
Music and singing can also open up your lungs and voice and make you feel more positive. Sing Up At Home offers a bunch of free songs for primary and secondary ages, plus a weekly Feelgood Fifteen singing session every Tuesday at 9am. Why not join in?
Head to Zoo Nation for inspiration to get moving - dance tutorials and interviews with dancers, including Some Like It Hip-Hop
Sharpen your coordination with circus skills and flow dart work in these challenges from local artist Dimitri:
Visit the Dance Tent from our Summer Festival to engage your brain and body coordination with these dance and flow tasks from local artists Shanelle and Nathan. Try out the challenges for older festival goers.
Prefer a pencil and paper task? Set a timer (use your phone?) and draw as many birds, faces, things that smell, things that are blue, in 30 seconds - 1 subject each time.
Try one of these drawing tasks each day - set a time limit. Have fun!
Warm up and wake up with...
Dance from Shanelle
Drama from Tonia Daley-Campbell
Get your brain and body buzzing with...
Circus skills from Dimitri
Rope Dart from Nathan
Tap, click, drum and sing...
Try this easy singing task from Ula
to open up your lungs
Try Rob's Kitchen beat sequencer
Prefer a pencil and paper task? Head over to the British Library and create a hilarious nonsense directory.
Early years & sensory
Wake up the body and brain with sensory activities from HealthLine.
Use gentle percussive body massage to get your body moving and simple songs and clapping patterns.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Children & Young People: please make sure you stay physically safe when doing any of the activities, and check with an adult before starting, as Artslink can't accept liability for any damage to yourself or property!
Children & Young People and key adults: please be aware of the importance of e-safety.
We strongly recommend the Thinkuknow e-safety website.
FUN WAYS TO FOCUS
Are you ready? Steady? …. Watching athletes at the start of a race or a performer preparing to go on stage, you can see them getting ‘in the zone’ and using different techniques to get themselves focussed. Being able to focus and concentrate whilst also being relaxed is a skill.
Need a little something to get you in the zone? We can all find different arts activities that suit us and work as our grounding and focussing skills.
Try the tasks below and see what works for you!
Create some original beats using a free app on your phone. Rhythm is a great way of getting in the zone, so create your own!
Take a walk and zoom in on nature with this photographic challenge, which asks you to look and then look again
Focus on colour and design to create your own graffiti tag. Keep practising it as the actions of drawing and colouring can calm and focus our nervous systems and steady our minds and body.
David Brown (aka Panda) shows you how to create your own tag using pens and paper.
Learn how to sketch a spray-can and a side profile face.
Visit the Poetry Palace from our Arts Festival here. Play with words and create a daft, funny or serious short poem with our fantastic poets.
Learn these simple juggling techniques which focus your eyes, brain and coordination.
You'd be amazed what you can do with a plastic bag! Find out with Dimitri.
Learn how to make your own juggling balls, then go step-by-step to learn how to juggle really well. Practice makes perfect!
GET STUFF DONE
Sometimes it’s a physical fun activity that’s needed to blast away the nerves and anxiety, see how performer Tonia Daley Thompson warms up just before a performance using her ‘rubber chicken’ game.
Other times we need something gentle - check out these grounding activities for children
Creating a Poem in 10 will help focus your mind on a quick task (YouTube).