Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Wellbeing Walking Gorleston Harbour

© Colin Howey

Solve it by Walking - Alison Hall...

Solvitur ambulando!  'Solve it by walking', is an ancient piece of wisdom, acknowledging that the mind works differently when you're mobile.  I'd shared this phrase with a colleague many years ago, and then misplaced that knowledge myself.

Little did I know the phrase had lodged in Colin's memory and that we'd be leading a session about well-being together more than ten years later.  Our brains don't come with an instruction manual, and sometimes we all need a little reminder about how to look after it and ourselves - and this was exactly what this afternoon's session aimed to do - talk about some of those things we should all have in our personal well-being tool kit.

As the Exhibitions Coordinator for Time and Tide museum in Great Yarmouth, over the last few months I've been working on Frayed: Textiles on the Edge, an exhibition exploring textiles, self-expression and well-being.  Part of the associated programme of events was a session at Gorleston library looking at the exhibition in relation to the Five Ways to Well-Being, and the things you can do to maintain your own well-being in your everyday life.  The library-based session was followed by a well-being walk along Gorleston's quayside.

© Colin Howey 2014

The sun was bright, the breeze crisp. There were seagulls overhead and a seal struggling against the tide in the water below. Walking, looking, talking and taking photos occupied our next hour. The time and space to connect with someone else and the place you find yourself in was focused by the lens of an iPhone camera.  We gave ourselves an opportunity to take notice and  appreciate the beauty in the everyday, ordinary and unkempt.

I'd gotten out of the habit of taking walks to take photos, but the creative part of my brain soon got into gear. And the discovery of the square photo setting on my phone (I was aware of it before but I'd never really used it) meant I was starting to focus on what I was seeing and photographing in much the same as I would if I was making my own paintings and drawings (before museums became the focus of my working life I spent much of my time making series of small square paintings based on fragments and glimpses of landscapes and architecture.)

Ignoring the increasing chill in my fingers, I shot away until my phone's memory was full, devouring textures, light, shadows and spaces. So, here is a small selection of the photos I took that afternoon. I hope they inspire you to go for a walk of your own.

© Alison Hall 2014

Walking for Wellbeing - Colin Howey...

It was great to be reunited with Ali after so many years. We had previously worked together in the Interpretation team in the Norwich museums a decade or so ago. For this session at Gorleston Library I was working as an Norfolk Adult Education tutor, exploring and explaining the Five Ways to Wellbeing. In short, these are five healthy habits for your head. Our wellbeing and ability to overcome challenges and flourish is enhanced when we make time to:

Connect... with other people in relaxed social settings
Be active... and exercise your body - it's where you live 
Take notice...of the wonder of the world around us, and be focused on the present moment
Keep learning... be curious and explore throughout one's life-course
Give... be outward looking and empathic

In my experience the best way to demonstrate the value of the Five Ways to Wellbeing 'actions' is to put them into action. So that's what Ali and I did. We had allocated time in the session for a photography walk along Gorleston Harbour, so off we went...

It was really great to share the Eureka Wellbeing Photography experience with Ali. Wellbeing walking with camera to hand is a simply great way to recharge one's batteries. It really does activate the Five Ways, including 'Give'. After all, you can share images and give them to others as we are here. 

Having talked to Ali since this day, I am delighted to discover that she has invested time in photo walking and it has really ignited her creative spark. Her photos on the day were stunning. It's always fascinating to me how we all see the same things differently. I love her square texture photos and her awareness of shape and form. You can tell she is an artist. 

Following this day by the harbour, we plan to come back with the Eureka members and explore Gorleston with them. Keep an eye out for the resulting photos. 

© Colin Howey 2014

A Visual Tour...

Finally, here is a visual tour of the harbour illustrated with photos from both of us (click on images in order to view this)...

Gorleston Harbour
© Alison Hall & Colin Howey 2014

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