Londoners will know that living in the city can be tough at times. People pushing past you on the morning commute, the huge throngs of tourists at Oxford Circus, and the ever growing threat of air pollution can make London seem lonely and unfriendly. Amongst the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Smoke, it can be easy to forget about your own well-being.
Sometimes you are left wondering if city life is really worth it. However, for all its flaws London retains its magical, exciting lure, and a few small lifestyle changes can really help your mental wellbeing in this concrete jungle. Minimising stress has got to be about finding things that are readily at your disposal. Here are some of Access London’s suggestions…
Cycle to work
Most of don’t even realise the hours we clock up per week travelling on the tube. It’s not a pleasant environment to spend an extended period of time in, particularly at rush hour. You’re on a crowded train, underground, with no natural light. You often find yourself far too close to another person at 8.00am, just so you can all get to work on time. Well, why not ditch the underground and cycle into work! You might have to wake up 15 minutes earlier, but trust us, the extra daylight, fresh air and exercise will do you a power of good.
Be a tourist for the day
Busy Londoners can often forget the brilliance of the tourist attractions all around them. Why not take a Saturday out to admire the city that you live in, and do something cultural – Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, the Natural History Museum. Lots of these wonderful attractions on our doorstep are completely free as well!
Visit a park
Spring is fully upon us now so there’s no better time to visit one of the beautiful parks in the city. Our personal favourites are Richmond Park and Finsbury Park, where you can truly disconnect yourself from your usually urban surroundings and take a walk or a run in the greenery.
Volunteering is a great way to improve your mental health – doing something for others less fortunate than you is humbling and ultimately gives you the feeling that you’ve made a positive difference in the world, however small it may be. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our own problems that we forget that many others are not as lucky as us. You can volunteer for an afternoon at your local Oxfam store, or help out at your local community garden. Check out the website https://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk/#s for great volunteering opportunities in London, to glean some inspiration.
If you need more inspiration for easy ways to improve your mental health in London, check out our Sports article on five types of exercise for better mental wellbeing: https://accesslondon.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/5-forms-of-exercise-for-better-mental-health/