Resources for Wellbeing
Our Architects Mental Wellbeing Forums have been sharing podcasts, videos, TED Talks and lots of excellent ideas on how to get through lockdowns and difficult times during this pandemic. Here are a few of their recommendations.
“We have these categories – work, life. We have brains, brawn, all the different distinctions we make. We make them mindfully, then we start to use them mindlessly, forgetting that when we’re at work we’re people. We have the same needs we had when we were on vacation. You should get to the point where you’re treating yourself – whether you’re at work or at play – in basically the same way.” This podcast features social psychologist Ellen Langer, dubbed “the mother of mindfulness”. Ellen Langer says mindfulness is achievable without meditation or yoga. She defines it as “the simple act of actively noticing things.”
The On Being podcast with Krista Tippett was recommended by several members of the AMWF community. It features 20 years’ worth of public radio programs and podcasts on topics such as what it means to be human, how do we want to live, and who will we be to each other.
What progress have employers made in taking better care of the mental health of their people? Which self help practices actually help? Are we humans primarily rational or emotional? Who do you trust and why? A very timely podcast by mental health expert Professor Ian Hickie and author and broadcaster James O’Loghlin explores all aspects of mental health; the different types of mental health issues we can experience, their causes, how they affect us, and what we can do to get help and find solutions.
Described by AMWF Vic/Tas member Lynn Chew as “positive uplifting conversations of optimism”, recent episodes have included ‘Designing homes that inspire feeling with Alexandra Donohue Church’, ‘Designing a Retreat from the World with Rob Brown’, ‘Designing Wellbeing with Kerry Hill Architects’ and ‘Designing Kind Buildings with John Wardle Architects’.
The connection between fees, deadlines, clients and the wellbeing of architects comes up repeatedly in the research and anecdotally. In the In Detail podcast, ACA WA Vice-President Kate FitzGerald, Warwick Mihaly and Mick Moloney tackle popular topics for small practice people, including fees, business planning, negotiation and clients.
Soul Traders is a weekly podcast for creatives and freelancers who want to build an intentional business in alignment with their life and their values. Topics include things like marketing and community building, setting goals, working from home, resilience, mindset, outsourcing and finance. Bo is a photographer, Amy is a writer and digital strategist.
When the press conferences get you down and you need to lighten the mood, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website has a comprehensive list of comedy podcasts from Australia and a shorter list of international favourites.
Videos & TedTalks
With much of Australia back in lockdown (again!), Parlour started a new set of Light at the End of the Tunnel sessions by reflecting on what we have learned over the last 18 months, what advice we might offer each other, and how practice is adapting and changing. For Part 1 of Lessons from the Lockdowns, Thihoa Gill of Grimshaw and Sarah Bennett of Six Degrees join Naomi Stead and Justine Clark for a lively, informal and informative discussion.
In this episode of Better Thinking, Nesh Nikolic speaks with The Resilience Project’s Hugh van Cuylenburg about finding happiness through gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.
In his recent article on vulnerability, our AMWF facilitator in Sydney Michael Lewarne writes: “Brené Brown brought the power of vulnerability to the popular consciousness in her TED talk 10 years ago and her subsequent book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. I recommend both if you want to explore vulnerability further. She’s insightful in a way that is engaging, entertaining and very accessible.”
Ideas for Wellbeing
Members of the AMWF community have nominated some of the charitable organisations that they are supporting during these difficult times.
The AMWF Vic/Tas group shared insights and tips on favourite home-delivered care packages and hampers to send to their staff. Recommended options included Co/Lab Pantry, Bindle, the Melbourne Box, Mary Eats Cake and Atlas Masterclass.
Cooking on Zoom
Continuing the food theme, one of our AMWF members in Melbourne is organising cooking sessions with employees on Zoom as a way to catch up during lockdown.
ACA CEO Angelina Pillai recommends 7-minute exercise sessions in between Zoom meetings to keep mobile. “It’s short and sweet, gets my heart rate up and fills me with endorphins and dopamine. By googling ‘7 minute workouts’, there are several that come up.”
Another suggestion is to pick a day during the week with great weather (now that Spring is in the air), call ‘tools down’ for half a day, and do something fun outdoors (eg, 10km walk, ride, picnic, surfing, beach swim – whatever works in your respective jurisdictions/rules). The staff member who does the most interesting activity (criteria set prior) is announced at the end of the week and gets a prize (eg, care package).
Learning something new
Michael Lewarne recommends learning something new with others, and in particular family members. “It’s a great distraction and at the end of the pandemic you’ll have a new skill or knowledge.”
During the pandemic, we’ve seen front-porch teddy bears and rainbow drawings in windows, street libraries and lots of other community-building initiatives.
The Street Library website shows you how to set up your own street library, but also includes a map of Australia locating more than 3,000 street libraries, so you can find the closest one to you.
One US website encourages people to put up love notes to bring a bit of joy to everyone, while others suggest doing chalk drawings and stencils on the footpath with your kids – a fun activity that others can enjoy on their daily walks.