VillaGaiety are marking Mental Health Awareness week, by celebrating kindness and the importance of doing our best to positively affect the wellbeing of others and ourselves during the coronavirus pandemic.
The arts play a vital part in nurturing mental health. At the theatre, we can gather with friends and strangers to be transported by an evening of storytelling. At concerts, we can experience a language other than words that allow us to process the events of our lives, big or small. And sometimes it’s as simple as just having a really good time.
And yet, amid the unprecedented closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic, the arts have never been more crucial to our wellbeing.
Often people are afraid to talk about their mental health experiences because they fear the response and stigma they may receive. However, recognising the importance of taking care of our wellbeing in communities can break down barriers, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many people feel when experiencing a mental health problem.
There are five steps that individuals and communities can take to improve mental health and build wellbeing and kindness into daily life to help with feeling good and functioning well.
Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. As our cinema is still closed why not set up a watch party and have a chat on Zoom/Skype after the film? The fourth and final Lionsgate Live film is The Hunger Games, taking place a 6pm on Saturday 23rd May 2020.
Last week we also launched Gaiety Theatre Memories, why not catch up with relatives and friends about your time performing, working or watching a show at our beautiful theatre, you can then submit these memories to us here.
Being kind to your body is all about staying active and looking after your wellbeing by exercising and setting yourself challenges. Step outside for a breath of fresh air, cycle, play a game/dance. Exercising makes you feel good.
If you’ve found that life has slowed down, you can take the opportunity to be present in the now and be more mindful, reflecting on experiences, and appreciating what matters to us. Bring your attention and interest to your surroundings and look for things that bring you happiness.
Be curious, catch sight of the beautiful, take a stroll outdoors and notice the colour of the leaves and Manx wildlife. Or make changes to your indoor environment by repurposing unneeded items. This is all about being kind to your environment.
Being kind to yourself is just as important for your wellbeing. Set aside some time each week for you and maybe think about hobbies that you enjoy. Many of you reading this will be theatre, music or comedy fans. Like every sector, the arts have had to evolve to cope with the pressures of Covid-19, there are now loads of free live music, theatre and comedy available to watch online, you can check them out in a previous blog here. We’ve also listed a few of our favourites below:
Acts of kindness within your community at this time are increasingly important, no matter how big or small the contribution. Take for example all wonderful stories we have heard of people doing their bit in the Manx community to help others, which often feature as part of Howards Hero’s.
Remember, it is okay not to feel okay, but structuring our lives around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing could significantly contribute to getting through this difficult time together. Remember this is just an interval and we will entertain you!
For anyone struggling, there are a range of mental health and wellbeing support services offered in a variety of ways. More information on support services available, can be found here:
Every Mind Matters have dedicated information support your wellbeing during Covid-19.
Isle Listen is an initiative to highlight to young people that taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health, as well as providing a variety of support and training to both families and professionals in schools.