Using Conversation to Improve Wellbeing and Support Charities

Our friends at Mind share their thoughts on how you can support charities whilst improving your own wellbeing

We know that the coronavirus is having a huge impact on the nation’s mental health, with many people affected by anxiety and long periods of isolation, and at Mind, we want to be there to make sure everyone gets the support they need.

We have had lots of requests from people about the ways in which they can continue to support charities like ours whilst at home and are grateful for your enthusiasm.

We have put together a guide on how you can support charities like Mind whilst improving your own wellbeing, and conversation plays a key role in all this.

Our guide is based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation.

1. Connect
With many of us in isolation, it is really important to stay connected with our network of family, friends or colleagues. Quizzes work perfectly so if you haven’t already given them a go try using Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts to hold a virtual pub quiz.

If you want to do some good at the same time you could even set up a Just Giving page and ask your guests to donate to take part. You could even include a round on mental health using the Time to Change pub quiz template.

I also love this DIY “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” quiz – just download the template and fill it out with a range of questions!

You could also check out the Kahoot platform to create and host a quiz with remote players.

2. Be active
Regular physical activity doesn’t have to be outside for you to feel the benefits to your wellbeing. You could take part in a step challenge using a step counting app such as Strava (which allows you to create a virtual club and leaderboard).

Challenge your friends and family and ask for a donation fee to enter and award extra points for the most creative way to get to 10,000 steps in your house, garden, or balcony! This is a great way to stay fit and active while working from home and hopefully will spark a bit of healthy competition and conversation with your friends and family along the way.

However, my favourite idea is probably to throw a virtual dance party. You can all dress in mismatched clothes or even dress in 80’s themed workout gear. Why not offer a prize to the worst dressed? Donate the money that you would otherwise have spent on a night out to your favourite charity.

3. Take notice
Even at this difficult time, you can still take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.

Choose your favourite plant and encourage your colleagues to sow seeds at the same time as you. Ask everyone to contribute into a pot of money, and over time you can watch your seeds change from seedlings into grown plants.

The gardener of the plant that flowers first wins half the sweepstake donation, with the other half donated to charity.

4. Learn
Learning something new has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Share a virtual supper club as a team. Choose a key ingredient from your store cupboards, try out a new recipe and cook together (and enjoy eating!).

Each week, Instagram account @uksupperclubs will present a selection of themes and you can vote for a type of food or concept of the week for everyone to cook together. Use #virtualsupperclub to join in and share your pictures.

If cooking isn’t your thing then set up your own online book club. Donate the money that you would have spent on drinks and snacks to charity.

You could also host an online tutorial during lunchtime or an after-work social event. Any speakers of different languages or close-up magicians can share their skills and ask for a donation in exchange. Good platforms for this are Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts.

5. Give
Research into actions that promote happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

Many of us are finding that we are working from home or cancelling activities outside of the house. This may mean that you find that you are saving money on travel or other expenses. If you can, you may want to consider donating those savings to your favourite charity.

Content provided by Mind. For more information visit their website www.mind.org.uk