How did the LID team spend their Wellbeing Day?

How did the LID team spend their Wellbeing Day?

Since 5th March 2021, LID has run its ‘Wellbeing Day’ initiative where the team have had a Friday off work every month that there is no Bank Holiday. The aim is to spend the day doing things that improve our wellbeing.

In 2023, we shared how the LID team spent one of our wellbeing days (read here), which was later picked up by the Financial Times.

This year, the team has once again decided to share our experience in light of the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May 2024). Our first wellbeing day for 2024 fell on 16th February. In the lines below, each of us tells what we did during the day.

Martin Liu, LID’s COO & Publisher

My usual Wellbeing Day is divided into two parts – mental and physical activity. I have recently been thinking about clear thinking and how that can help us to engage better with work and life in general. A friend of mine recommended philosophy as a foundation for such clear thinking. So, during the morning, I started reading a book by Julian Baggini: How to Think Like a Philosopher. I have never studied or taken a deep interest in philosophy as a subject, but I found this book the right level and quite inspiring, especially because it applies philosophy to common challenges and problems that most people encounter. I was also taken by some of philosophy’s maxims – e.g., pay attention; question everything; seek clarity, not certainty – as a guide to a more balanced approach to thinking and living.

Suitably charged up mentally, I spent the afternoon on the London Airlinks Golf Course. It’s just off the M4 in West London, and you can see planes constantly landing and taking off from Heathrow Airport in the background. It was the first time that I had played here, and it was not the most idyllic of courses. But that does not mean you cannot hit that one shot that is just good enough to revel in for the rest of the day and that will bring you back on the course another day. (Mine was on the 14th hole!) These were also English winter conditions that we were playing in, and I could not help recalling the first line in Julian Baggini’s book that I was reading that morning: “Has humanity lost its reason, or did we never have it in the first place?”

Ben Walker, LID’s Head of Media

Wellbeing days are always better when the sun shines. The day coincided with the winter half-term, so my son and I took a long walk through Epping Forest, where the first flowers of spring were struggling into bloom. There is something great for the soul about a sunny day in late winter, when crocuses and cherry blossoms defy the lingering cold to burst into new life. The forest looked great that day. We walked from our front door up to Cuckoo Brook and ended with a hearty lunch in the pub.

Teya Ucherdzhieva, LID’s Communications Manager

During our wellbeing days, I usually try to spend time with my family and friends and do something that enhances my overall wellbeing.

On our wellbeing day this February, I went on a day trip to Leamington Spa with a friend of mine. The town is not far away from where I live but it’s always nice to visit a different place, especially when it’s sunny. We headed to a cafe to have brunch and a nice catch-up. After that, we went for a walk around the city. I find Leamington Spa very charming and always feel refreshed after spending some time there.

When I got back home in the afternoon, I worked on my puzzle, which, once finished, is a very nice painting of Lake Como in Italy. This is a hobby I picked up recently but I find it challenges my brain at just the right level and I’m really enjoying it.

Alec Egan, LID’s Associate Publisher

I did notice a palatable sense of joyful elation upon waking up on the first LID Wellbeing Day when we started the programme during the pandemic. That sense of joy follows me (in a way that I was not anticipating) through all the Wellbeing Days we have had marked in our diaries since then. For me, the feeling is similar to receiving a gift that came totally unexpected. There is also a sensation of freedom – it is up to me how I want to spend this day.

On the day I want to write about I made a conscious choice to spend a few hours outside. Luckily, I had an open space near me with acres of grass, football pitches and a few trees. As I was walking around the park, I was noticing changes in weather conditions, how light was changing and sounds around – it was a walking meditation. I also had a chance to stay in one spot, sitting on a bench and having a good long wonder at the world around me. Looking at the greenery around me was quite relaxing. There were no big plans for the day, I really wanted to focus on the moment. There was a moment when I noticed that I started feeling recharged and renewed. I stayed in that moment until I received an inner cue that it the time to move on. My body and my being had more power.

Sometimes simple things give me so much satisfaction and lots of positive emotions. I went for a late lunch with friends I have not seen in a while, I had a great Malaysian dish called Laksa with a few well-chosen starters and nibbles. Great food and a great chat with people I like. This was my day. On the way back I caught myself thinking that doing simple things and being in the present moment can be a source of great power.

I also thought that there was great thinking taking place amongst the team when the programme was created. Looking forward to more Wellbeing Days, for sure.

Aiyana Curtis, LID’s Editorial Manager

On previous wellbeing days, I have tried to focus on physical activities, like yoga and walking. This time I decided to focus on activities that would help my brain in a creative way since this is the area of my mental health I feel is lacking when I’m too busy with work to switch off.

I made some good progress on my Disney 100 puzzle during the day. Like many others, I got into puzzling during the pandemic and it’s still a great way of relaxing whilst also challenging the mind (more so than endless scrolling on Instagram or watching TV).

In the evening, I went to the theatre to see a play. I only usually go to the theatre for musicals, so it was good to push myself to try something outside of my comfort zone. I ended up really enjoying Twelve Angry Men and it encouraged me to attend a second play (Witness for the Prosecution) soon after.

My wellbeing day left me feeling a lot more creatively energised and inspired, which is a must when you work with authors for a living!

Karen Thomas, LID’s Administrator

Wellbeing Day is something I haven’t heard of before. However, it is much appreciated and gave me an opportunity to do something that I find relaxing. I craft. Over the years, I have had a few hobbies – knitting and dressmaking to name a couple. A fairly recent addition to my crafting repertoire is papercraft or what they call scrapbooking. Over the last year, I have been making greeting cards (some that have lights in), Christmas crackers and lanterns.  Given that my hours are short each day, I created a card on this wellbeing day to reflect the coming season.