6 ways to boost your wellbeing in Liverpool
Mental health remains a taboo subject for many, yet it’s something we all have, must work to maintain and should be able to discuss openly if the need ever arises.
We round up some of the best initiatives in the Liverpool City Region for boosting wellbeing, fostering social connections and promoting peace of mind.
Words by Mark Langshaw
Tackle the blues | Exercise
Everton Football Club’s charity arm offers a wide range of health and wellbeing projects aimed at various demographics.
Whether you’re looking to release endorphins through exercise or cast off the shackles of social isolation, Everton in the Community’s outreach programmes can help you keep the blues at bay.
Many of the organisation’s initiatives are based around the holistic benefits of exercise and are geared towards specific groups, such as asylum seekers, military veterans, dementia sufferers and mothers who have children with additional needs.
Running alongside these projects are inclusive events like Men’s Health 11-a-side football sessions aimed at people who would ordinarily neglect their health; and EuroFIT, a 12-week course providing healthy lifestyle training as well as the opportunity to engage with likeminded individuals.
There are also volunteer opportunities on offer through Everton in the Community, with successful applicants getting the chance to support and engage with the charity’s vulnerable service users.
Spread the word | Reading & poetry
Never underestimate the power of the written word as literature can inspire, stimulate and bring people together.
The unifying potential of books and their ability to change the way individuals feel about themselves and relate to others is the bedrock of The Reader’s Shared Reading activities.
Run by the Calderstones Park-based charity on a regular basis, these events amass people into weekly groups to listen to poetry and stories read aloud, and share their thoughts on them.
Expect an atmosphere of lively collaboration where personal and social connections are freely forged, but those who prefer quiet reflection are under no pressure to read or even speak.
The literary charity holds regular Shared Reading gatherings at its Calderstones Park headquarters, as well as at libraries, community centres and other venues across the city region, and the door is always open to newcomers.
Draw positive energy | Arts & crafts
Getting those creative juices flowing can work wonders for your wellbeing, providing an important outlet when everyday stresses weigh heavy and a confidence boost when you need it most.
The therapeutic potential of arts and crafts is already well documented, but why not experience it for yourself by enrolling in a class or two?
New watercolour painting and drawing classes for adults are due to start up at Kirkby Gallery in Knowsley this month, specifically geared towards beginners and intermediates.
With Willy Russell’s ‘Another Aspect’ exhibition serving as an inspiring backdrop, participants will be encouraged to try their hand at creative expression in a relaxed, informal setting.
The courses run for eight weeks and cost £4 per session, with interested parties advised to reserve their place in advance.
Bust a move | Dance
There are many reasons why dancing is considered therapeutic, from the collaborative nature of the most popular routines to the amount of calories you burn in the process.
For some, getting into the rhythm is a sure fire way to beat the blues and the Merseyside Dance Initiative’s (MDI) beginners’ classes are a good place to start.
Taking place regularly at MDI’s Studio 24 on Hope Street, the African, contemporary and ballet sessions are open to everyone and first-timers are encouraged to drop by unannounced.
Whatever form of dance you attempt, the MDI workshops promise a thorough workout, the chance to connect with people and the opportunity to try your hand at something new.
Laugh it off | Comedy
They say laughter is often the best medicine and Liverpool has just the prescription for anyone who loves a good joke, with its extensive comedy circuit, dedicated clubs and leading stand-up shows.
Watching comedy doesn’t have to be an expensive night out either, as there is a place where you can get your kicks for free.
Hot Water Comedy Club has attracted big names such as Russell Kane and Brendon Burns, as well as the cream of the local crop. Although the majority of its events require an entrance fee, there are also free shows coming up so comics can trial work-in-progress sets.
The free gigs will take place at the Seel Street venue on 8-11 and 16-18 May, but booking online in advance is recommended as these shows tend to attract a full house.
Be one with nature | Get outdoors
There’s a tonne of research about the benefits of getting closer to nature, but if another case study is needed then look no further than Tree House Liverpool’s work at Newsham Park.
Against this leafy backdrop, the community group aims to empower people with a range of confidence-boosting activities, many of which are green in theme.
Regular events include gardening, tree planting, philosophy sessions and open-air yoga, as well as ‘wild play’ and raft making workshops for the youngsters.
Not only do attendees get to enjoy some fresh air, they have the opportunity to engage with others, make a positive impression on communal green space and learn new skills in the process.