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5 Ways to Wellbeing: Keep learning

10 January 2024

4 mins

Illustration of a person carrying books and another person sat with legs crossed playing an instrument in front of giant pencils, musical notes, a paint palette and a guitar.
Image: Courtesy of Getty Images

Learning new things is a great way to keep your brain active and healthy for a long and busy life.

In a world that is changing faster than ever, there are many opportunities to learn, including outside of work.

Keeping your brain busy, curious, and challenged helps you build cognitive reserves that can help you maintain better brain health as you age. Creative activity helps to build cognitive flexibility, which researchers believe leads to a deeper sense of purpose and a flexible attitude to change.

Studies have also found that creative expression helps to relieve stress and depression, helps with pain management, and strengthens the immune system. The Mental Health Foundation states: “Participating in the arts can enable people to deal with a wide range of mental ill-health conditions and psychological distress…It can help to boost confidence and make us feel more engaged and resilient.”

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Boosting self-confidence
  • Helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • Helping you to connect with others.

Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.

Soph Dinnie, Internal Communications Officer at the University, shared her experience of learning to teach yoga: “After a couple of years of umming and ahhing, I finally committed to undertaking my yoga teacher training course last year. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I was so lucky to have a mentor and fellow trainees who have become like family to me now – so I’ve got a support system at the end of the phone.

“The training focused on looking after our own wellbeing and understanding ourselves and this has made me so much more confident and so much more capable of looking after myself. This means I can now hold space for others when I teach and can share with them all the fantastic wellbeing benefits of yoga.

“Taking the knowledge I learnt on the course, I now run my own classes and I absolutely love the little community I am building and the people I get to meet. Nothing boosts a dark winter night like teaching a class and having great feedback from it!”

The Aim Group offer

The University has partnered with the Aim Group to offer staff the opportunity to undertake nationally recognised qualifications that will develop your knowledge and understanding of wellbeing topics. 

Some of the free online courses available include:

  • Mental Health Awareness 
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health 
  • Mental Health in the Workplace 
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences 
  • Behaviour that Challenges
  • Introduction to Counselling Skills 

Find out more about the Aim Group offer and how you can apply.

Tips to keep learning

  • Organisational Development offer a number of resources and guidance including workplace courses and LinkedIn courses covering a wide range of topics, both work and non-work related.
  • For creative ideas, LU Arts offer a range of opportunities for staff to get creative outside of work including the University Choir, Book Club, music tuition and evening classes.
  • Leicestershire County Council offer courses for adults to learn new skills.
  • Try learning to cook something new.
  • Explore a new hobby that challenges you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint.
  • Work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger, there are lots of free tutorials available online to help you.
  • Visit a gallery or museum and learn about a person or a period in history that interests you.
  • Have a go at learning a new language, you can try the Duolingo app for free.
Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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