The University of Bolton Student Services

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Resources brought together by the Life Lounge team

GMMH NHS Guide on Creative Writing

Creative Writing gives us a chance to put down our worries and focus on something new, imaginative and creative. It can take our minds into a whole new world! We love this resource from the GMMH Mental Health Service. Set aside 20 minutes, give it a go and see how you feel after it?

GMMH NHS Creative Writing Workbook

Joanna Barnard is a trained counsellor and winner of the Bath Novel Award, 2014. Joanna is offering Writing for Wellbeing sessions on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month from 11am-1pm via zoom. To sign up, please email writingforwellbeing@artfulscribe.co.uk

In this video Joanna gives you the chance to try out some creative writing techniques. Go on, give it a go!

Connecting with nature

In recent years there has been increasing evidence to support the link between mental wellbeing and spending time in nature. Be it going for a dog walk, spending time in your garden, a local park or walking in the moors, outdoor swimming, gardening, bike riding, horse riding, caring for animals, growing or caring for a plant in your flat, bird watching. There are so many options. All of these examples will have a positive effect on your mental and physical wellbeing.

The Mental Health Foundation and WWF have joined forces to bring you Thriving With Nature; a free guidebook which explores the relationship between nature, wellbeing and mental health.

You can access more information about Thriving With Nature by visiting the webpage.

Get out there, get some time with nature, and see the effects. You won't regret it!

Wellbeing Reading List

Check out the Library's Wellbeing Reading List, complete with online resources on a number of subjects, including anxiety, resilience, and mindfulness. You will find eBooks and links to a variety of charities that can offer direct support on a number of issues. 

Learn a new skill - Knitting


Why Knit and Natter?

In addition to the social benefits of joining a group, there has been a lot of recent research highlighting the many benefits on both your physical and mental health that knitting, crocheting and other crafts can have. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of ‘knit one, purl one’ can be calming, comforting and contemplative, and is now used in some Mindfulness practices. Studies have shown that it can be also be a valuable self-help tool for those dealing with low mood, anxiety, and depression as it can help you to manage your everyday stresses.

The University has a knit and natter group which meets on Wednesday lunchtime in the Life Lounge.  It is a very mixed group, some are regular knitters, others have not done any crafts for a long time, whilst others have never tried knitting and want to learn.  We have a range of patterns and some spare needles and wool available.


The group recently made around 100 cream egg covers to raise money for charity, and we really enjoyed that project.

During Social Distancing, we are still knitting from home.

Another project we are doing is making mask extenders to donate to health care workers to avoid the mask ties rubbing their ears. This is a very simple pattern and uses a small amount of wool and 2 buttons. We will be donating these to Bolton Royal Hospital.
Wool can be purchased online, or ask family and friends if they can give you some wool and needles.

Give it a go... If you have any queries, you can email Pam pjj1@bolton.ac.uk or Maureen mm25@bolton.ac.uk


Try a new activity!

The Covid-19 Pandemic has disrupted how many of us live our lives. Lack of positive activity can have a negative impact on our wellbeing. To help us all colleagues at Greater Manchester Mental Health Service built up a great list of interesting and fun activities you can try from home.

Be kind to yourself and allow your mind to try something new - 

Click here to take a look at their website to find links to all sorts of new activities that we think are great to get involved in!

Why not try - creative writing, learning a new language, learning to play an instrument, try seed planting, baking, watching a play or bird watching. 


Mental Health Advisor, Antonia Dewsbury, has been struggling at times with having too much time on her hands, so she tried a new hobby of Willow craft. Antonia has wanted to give it a try for years and really enjoyed the calm and relaxation she got from it. The finished finished wreath will look lovely in her garden.  

Have you ever wanted to give Willow craft a go? Deb from Deb Jones Willow is a firm believer in Willow craft as a form of self care and finds it beneficial for people with mental health issues. Deb uses these skills with groups of young people who have behavioural and mental health issues and has noticed a real positive impact. Deb has kindly made us a little video to help you make a wreath too. 



You can visit Deb's web page here or follow her on Facebook

Art in the impact on our well being

Many of us find art to be therapeutic, allowing us to focus on the 'here-and-now', by keeping our attention on exactly what is in front of us and express our thoughts and feelings. 

MA Fine Art UoB student Carole Reed shared with us what art means to her:

"Art is about expressing myself. I can forget my concerns and worries by absorbing myself in being creative. It helps me to relax and release my stress. By putting down on paper my thoughts or creating a sculpture, i'm giving the viewer a glimpse into my world, how i'm feeling, what i'm thinking, however the good thing about art especially contemporary art is that my story can be your story, it can be what you want it to be. If it helps you as it has helped me then that's a bonus."



Confine (2020) - mixed media by Carole Reed


Share your art with us!

You can share it via our Social Media competition, or email it to the team

We aim to share as many pictures as we can!

We would love to see how you are connecting with your creativity to be kind to your mind!


If you want to understand more about how art impacts on our wellbeing why not visit MIND and learn more about Art Therapy.