Learn Something New

Flower Dude in the process of learning something new…

Flower Dude in the process of learning something new…

We are nearing towards the end of our exploration of our Checklist for Your Mind poster. Each week we have put a spotlight on one of our mental health invitations. Tina and I love the idea of building resilience from the early years of life and in creating rituals or daily habits that boost your emotional wellbeing. If you have been following this particular series you would have seen that none of it is incredibly complex. All of our Grow Your Mind invitations are designed to be playful and simple. Taking a moment to breathe deeply, thinking of something you are thankful for, showing kindness to someone, moving your body, connecting with people, or doing something that brings you joy is doable for all of us. Even the very ‘busy’ amongst us! Please see:take three mindful breaths to hear our feelings on being ‘busy’ all of the time! So without further ado we offer up another invitation for your mental health: Learn something new.

Checklist for Your Mind poster

Checklist for Your Mind poster

To be clear, we are not asking you to add JUDO, french or cello lessons to your child’s schedule. While all of those are noble pursuits, our take on learn something new is a little more manageable. Learn how to fly a kite, how to make homemade playdough, how to do a handstand, how to create and remember a complicated yet hilarious handshake. Kids do this stuff naturally, they are constantly learning new things. Shine a light on it for them, what they are doing is good for their mental health. Because at some stage, post high school or university (if we are lucky) we stop learning. We get comfortable. Studies show that learning new things can help our ability to cope with stress. This may be due to the fact that broadening our minds helps us gain perspective and insight into life, ourselves, and the world around us. When we learn new things there is a chance we may feel more connected to others and when we feel connected we are more able to bounce back during tricky moments. See more on connection here.

Learning doesn’t need to stop at school

Learning doesn’t need to stop at school

So how to keep learning?

Learning can be as simple as breaking habits that have not served us so well. Perhaps you learn to stand up for yourself in a way that is calm and confident. Or it could be as simple as listening to your body and getting to bed at a good time. Potentially your family breaks a screen habit and takes up board games in the evening or starts a conversation jar or collectively reads a book together. Or you make a commitment not to look at your phone when in the company of others. You could walk or drive to school in a different way. Or while you are in your car learn how to manage difficult emotions when someone cuts you off! It doesn’t really matter what it is, it could be learning how to be learn how to identify a bird by its call! The important thing to remember is that learning takes on many different shapes and forms and can fit into any daily routine.

Our tips:

Every day learn one new thing: keep it simple and short. Today I am going to learn how to make pumpkin soup. Ask your children what they are planning on learning that day, think outside the box and try and steer clear from academics for a change.

Share the random thing you learnt with others: at the end of the day, today I learnt how to fix my bike, how to ride uphill without getting off my bike, how to smile at people even when they don’t smile at me. When you share it you are also practising connecting with people, which is a fantastic thing for our wellbeing.

Flower looking pretty chuffed with a learning list!

Flower looking pretty chuffed with a learning list!

Make a learning list: of all the things you want to learn. Juggle with four balls, dive, do a cartwheel, make pavlova, set up a tent — just write down as many ideas as you have and try ticking them off as you go along. Share your list with others too, you may get more ideas!

Alice Peel