The Best Wellness Activities in London
Feeling lonely is a perfectly normal human emotion, and one that has been heightened by the last two years. Tikvah Lake Recovery specialises in anxiety treatment and how to identify and fight feelings of loneliness, and here, offer tips on how to reconnect to ourselves and people around us while living in London...
Lead Image: Unsplash/Johan Mouchet
1 Take a mindful walk through the city
A mindful walk is a walk is about what you encounter rather than about reaching your next destination, and there is so much to absorb on London's streets.
The architecture, the passers by, the sheer variety of sights and sounds - a mindful walk through London is never without new experience or surprise.
There are many wonderful walking routes to be found online but why not also find your own path. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. Head towards what draws your attention, what pleases or intrigues you.
A mindful walk will help you take note of how you’re feeling, as well as being a great workout physically – walking can activate the cardio-vascular system, tone the muscles, and improve circulation. It also releases endorphins which improve your mood.
There are many walking groups which meet regularly too, so if you’d rather walk and talk, it can be a wonderful way to meet new people.
To find a walking group in your borough, visit ramblers.org.uk
2 Take time to pause
Often we feel lonely due to a lack of connection. This might not be to other people.
It may seem counterintuitive but making space to really connect to oneself can lead to answering questions that might need our attention – Why am I feeling lonely? At which points in my day do I not feel alone and why?
Try engaging in practices that embrace silence and stillness. Meditation has the ability to transform the way we see alone-time as an opportunity for growth.
3 Enjoy the Great Outdoors
London is one of the greenest capital cities in the world for its size, home to nearly 3000 parks and 8.3million trees.
Spending time in nature can benefit us by reducing heart rate and blood pressure, promoting a sense of calm and reducing isolation by offering attachment to place.
A park can also provide opportunities to socialise or join a local sports team, and there are plenty in the capital to enjoy.
The Royal Parks are exquisitely ordered and beautiful, often hosting seasonal activities.
If it’s a sense of wilderness you’re after – head to Hampstead Heath. There’s enough space to get lost and find your way again.
There are also plenty of hidden gems – try the Phoenix Garden in the heart of the West End for an escape from the crowds.
4 Visit a Museum
There is much evidence to suggest that the combination of learning and relaxation can have a hugely positive effect on wellbeing.
Learning more about the world historically or scientifically can lead to a greater understanding and acceptance of one’s own place within it all.
The British Museum has many free exhibitions and over 8 million objects revealing diverse ways humans have lived across a myriad of centuries and cultures.
Take a step inside on a lunch break and come face to face with marble sculptures from the Parthenon. Even a short visit can offer a moment to connect to another time or way of doing things.
5. Connect to Art
If art can be a mirror to the experience of life, then contemplating another person’s expressive response can be both reassuring and reflective.
London has an estimated 1,500 permanent exhibition spaces. A good place to start is to find an exhibition exploring themes that you’re interested in or you might simply be drawn to an artist's style or colour palette.
The National Portrait Gallery is full of faces for the days you want to connect to other people’s stories. Try the Hayward Gallery for what is often a more immersive and sensory exhibition experience.
The Tate Modern offers a huge variety of content to spark the imagination, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a delight if you wish to spend time with the Old Masters including Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Rubens.
6 Try Something New
London is full of pop up events: bike rides, drumming circles, gardening workshops, essential oils courses, dance - the list is endless. Whether you want to craft, stretch, move, or listen, this city will have an opportunity for you.
Active participation in something we’ve not done before is refreshing for the mind and body.
Being a novice again encourages a sense of play, which is essential for a healthy relationship with ourselves. We can practise non-self judgement and make mistakes in a fun and supportive environment. Who knows, you might even discover something that sparks joy in a way you’ve not felt before.
Workshops are also a great way to meet other like-minded people. The focus is on the task at hand so there’s lots to connect on without the pressure of ‘making conversation’.
You can find new activities on eventbrite.co.uk
7 Start Journaling
The act of journal writing is a practice that can ease loneliness wherever you are.
It can help to ground you in the present, offering a way to process events and reframe your thinking, which is a helpful activity in a fast-paced city like London.
To take the time to sit and write can be a moment to anchor oneself.