Evidence suggests there are 5 steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing.
If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. The List below was originally compiled by the NHS but we have added a Canal Narrowboat feel to them.
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. A narrowboat is compact and people are together more and talk more.
- Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Operating locks, and bridges is fun and you can follow the boat along the towpath.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Learning how to steer a narrowboat, turn it, moor it up, filling with water and living aboard it for a few days or a week can be a new experience.
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Most canals have societies and volunteer groups so if you get the narrowboating bug there are many avenues to explore to be near the water with like-minded people. Travelling along on a narrowboat means you pass people enjoying the canal from the towpath. They always wave and say hello, it is such a friendly place to be.
- Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. The slow pace of narrowboating enhances this state of mind, read more here.