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Five Ways to Wellbeing – Tips for Young People: Learn New Skills

Ariel photo of child's crafting table

Each week our schools’ mental health practitioners will look at one of the ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ (Connect, Be Active, Try Something New, Give and Take Notice). Having a good balance in these five areas of your life has been proven to increase people’s health and happiness. This week we will look at:

Learn New Skills

This week’s topic is all about trying new things and finding activities and hobbies that make us feel happy.

Why is it important?

Sometimes we feel unmotivated or unable to try new things, or worried that if we start learning something new, we might not be very good at it. But other times, we also all need to have fun, take a break, or find a nice distraction from everything that is going on around us.

Researchers found that learning new skills makes us happier and healthier by helping to:

  • Improve our self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Give us sense of purpose
  • Connect us with other people

So, by challenging ourselves to learn new things (even if we might not be very good at them at first), we actually feel better about ourselves, and discover activities which can help us overcome boredom or loneliness.

Where to start?

There are so many activities and hobbies out there to for you to try – from photography to football, baking to ballroom dancing!

Suggested activity:

Go through the alphabet from A-Z, and think of an activity or hobby starting with each letter (you can use the internet to cheat if you get stuck!)

What new things could I try?

You might already have a hobby or interest that you enjoy, but there is always room for learning. Could you keep building new skills in your hobby? For example, could you learn how to draw in a different style, or learn a new football trick?

Or could you pick a completely new hobby to try?

Suggested activity:

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a world where money and time were not limits for you. Then, in this world, imagine what you would be doing. Is there something you would love to try? A skill you would love to learn? (You can look back to your A-Z list for inspiration).

In reality, you might feel limited in what new activities you can try. However, you do not always need to buy new stuff or go out to different places to be able to learn something new. For instance, activities like:

  • Singing
  • Beatboxing
  • Dancing
  • Doing a handstand

These are all skills you can learn using just your body and mind. Can you think of anything else?

Learn New Things to help you through difficult times:

  • Help others – Build new skills to help people in your family or community. You could do some DIY or cooking at home, volunteer, or write and publish a blog about how you are feeling to reach out to other people who might be feeling the same. When we help other people feel good, it helps us feel good too. Working towards a good cause will also help keep your mind busy, giving your brain a break from any worries or stress you might have.
  • Learn with others – If you are feeling lonely, why not connect with others and learn together, using technology. Exercise, start a book club, or make a joint playlist; there are lots of creative ways you can use video calls and other technology to reach out to your friends and family, and have fun trying new things together.
  • Find calm and relaxing activities – If you are feeling anxious or stressed, give yourself a break from the news and social media, to calm your body and mind. Everyone will have different activities that helps them relax, maybe yoga, or painting or discovering new music. Check out this webpage from the Anne Freud Centre that has loads of self-care activities to try. See which ones work for you.

More to do:

  • Swap a skill: Everyone is good at something, maybe baking cakes or taking a great photo. Try something new by asking a friend or family member to teach you one of their skills, and see what you can teach them in return.
  • Show off your talent: Challenge your friends or family to learn a new skill, then set up a talent show to see who has done the best job!
  • Take a trip down memory lane: Is there a hobby you had when you were younger that you really enjoyed? Often we feel like we ‘grow out’ of our old hobbies, but actually lots of them – like doing puzzles, colouring, or making paper airplanes – can be fun whatever age you are!

Need some more inspiration?

Here are some websites for you to check out:

To download the leaflet version of this information please click here.


How are you? No really, how are you?

Visit our online hub to access our self-care checklist, alongside lots of tips and resources to support your own wellbeing.

Don't forget to take some time out today