Singing My Way Well

Voices of the Day choir, Leeds

Singing with Voices of the Day, photo by Chris Sharples

Do you like to sing?  I have always loved singing, but my voice got lost about the time my primary school music teacher wouldn’t let me join the choir.

It’s surprising how many people, like me, have been told not to sing.  What’s not surprising is the negative effect this can have on self-esteem or confidence. Continue reading

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The Present, a short film about a woman’s emotional journey to work.

Last year I took part in a film making project with the community group ‘Arts and Minds of Leeds.  A few of us, who were new to film-making were involved in this creative project which culminated in our short films being shown as part of last years Love Arts festival and The Leeds Film Festival – Film to Change event.

My film had a theme of emotional well-being and is about a woman who is struggling to manage stress and unhelpful patterns of thinking – which is causing her to be unhappy. However she manages to find some respite from this,   watch and you shall find out….

THE PRESENT 

The Present she unwraps is actually a gift which allows her to become more aware of  The Present moment.  We can worry about the future, ruminate about the past and dwell upon problems to the extent that it interferes with our quality of life and decreases our sense of well-being. This kind of thinking can be all-consuming and leave little space for anything else,  which may leave us feeling depleted and stressed. Research has shown that purposefully paying attention to the present moment is a technique which can help to manage this. Once the woman in the film has opened the present – she is then able to appreciate the beautiful roses on her desk that she previously hadn’t noticed.

It’s not always easy to change the way we think or to manage difficult emotions but there are techniques which can help. I had recently attended a Mindfulness Meditation Course which was the inspiration behind the film.

Sophie MacWhannell is the actress who played the woman in the film.  She is Leeds-based, very talented, passionate and extremely supportive.  I am going to plug Sophie because she was so fantastic !  Not only has she acted in various plays and short films but she also performs as part of a comedy improvisation group called Monkeyheads AND is part of *Urban Sprawl.  She recently performed with Urban Sprawl in the play;  ‘Wrecked’ which was also part of the Love Arts Leeds festival. So if you need a talented and dedicated actress – look Sophie up!

Thanks also to Carl Allport, who was the course tutor and teaches at Leeds Metropolitan University, to Arts and Minds and also to Inkwell.   Also thanks to everyone else who took part whose names are in the credits, it was very collaborative and nice to work in a great team.

Hope you enjoyed it, would love any feedback, thanks Vicky 🙂

Also If you are interested in taking part in the making of a film contact Arts and Minds.

*Urban Sprawl is Yorkshire’s only homeless theatre company. Formed in August 2004, we are committed towards using theatre as an arts engagement tool to help people affected by homelessness and related issues.Urban Sprawl meet every Monday at Multiple Choice 5-8 pm.If your interested in finding out more email us at urb@urbansprawl.org.uk

 

Feeling fruity in the morning? Have fruit for breakfast!

Having fruit for breakfast is a great way to start the day!

Most of us know due to a successful NHS campaign that we need to aim for  5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.  Eating well is so important for both physical and mental wellbeing.  However sometimes it’s easy to slip into unhealthy eating habits especially during difficult times.

During times of personal stress I found I wasn’t looking after myself as well as I could. I was eating quick snacks on the go such as toast and chocolate and drinking lots of coffee and carbonated drinks.  I really neglected myself during this time and fruit and vegetables weren’t high on the agenda. Sometimes it’s difficult to break an unhealthy eating spiral. But breaking that spiral can really help increase emotional and physical wellbeing.

A great way to start the day is to have a healthy breakfast.  If it feels too daunting to completely change your diet straight away then take little steps.  Try a small step and have fruit for breakfast. Simply add a piece of fruit with your usual breakfast.  A favourite of mine is porridge with a piece of fruit such as a banana or some berries.

The NHS choices website has 5 A Day tips to eat well and live well.

Try and make healthy choices which benefit you!

Vicky 🙂

Free singing event for men – Saturday 22nd September

This event described as a ‘kick start’ for possible future sessions, will be at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama, St. Marks Avenue, Woodhouse Lane, starts at 10.00am with the option to continue until 4pm after the lunch break.

An invitation for the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’! of all singing abilities.

Contact: 0113 2560450

emai:       itsasingleeds@gmail.com

There is much documented evidence that singing can help relieve some types of mental distress, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10732106.

Enjoy it guys if you get there!

If you’re feeling at a loose end, why not try a Meetup in Leeds?

Meetup helps people get together in real life. There are many groups in Leeds and it’s free!

Meetup is an online international social networking site which enables people to set up social groups in their local area. Meetup in Leeds has a lot to choose from including: Walking, Cinema, Bookcrossing and Photography groups. It’s free to join although sometimes the group owner may charge a small fee towards their subscription costs.

Meetup was set up in New York after 9/11. It was observed that during this very sad time a sense of community had developed. People began to enquire as to how each other were. This sense of community inspired a technologically minded group of people to set up a social networking site – to use the internet to get people off the internet!

A friendly chat with someone can do wonders to improve our mood and sometimes it’s really important to have some fun too!  One of the aims of Leeds Wellbeingweb is to blog about cheap or free activities and events which people can access to improve their wellbeing.

Keep checking in for more ideas,

Vicky 🙂