Community Activities for Mental & Physical Health

One of the greatest things about living in a country like Singapore is that we are a multicultural and diverse country. Not only does it give us so much to celebrate together, we are also able to grow up with values like tolerance, understanding, and inclusivity.

Although life can keep us busy, being involved in our communities is something we often have the opportunity to do. From the young to the young at heart, we can all benefit from taking part in activities involving our communities. It keeps us grounded, happy, and most importantly healthy too!

 

Why is Community Based Activities Important?

We’ve all seen the effects of living a “reclusive” life on our mental health during the pandemic. So, let’s look at why community-based activities are crucial for you and how they can lead to a harmonious and balanced living.

Provide support

Chances are, most of us know our neighbours and members of our communities, and the issues they face to a certain extent. For example, maybe your neighbour is having health concerns and wants to lead a healthier lifestyle. You and your community could set up an exercise group to encourage everyone to be more fit and healthy. When more people are involved, there is plenty of motivation for the entire group to keep going and exercise more.

Community based activities will help everyone address issues and grow together. More importantly, everyone won’t feel alone when they have a community to turn to for any concerns and problems. Regular meet-ups and get-togethers will help you and your community find different ways to improve each others’ lives.

You will also be able to keep each other safe. Keeping each other in the loop about suspicious activities within your neighbourhood will ensure that everyone is on high alert and more likely to scare off any unwanted situations.

Improve mental health

According to research by Baxter, L., Burton, A. & Fancourt, D., “Community and cultural engagement can support recovery, help symptom-management and increase social connections for people with lived experience of mental health conditions.”

Although there are barriers for people with mental health conditions to participate in social engagements, the research shows that “Motivation to participate was sustained by the enjoyable nature of activities.”

Cultivating respect, tolerance & mindful-ness

We’ve often been told that respect is something earned. As true as that may be, living in a multicultural society requires us to have respect nonetheless. We come from different backgrounds, practise different cultures and religions and even eat different kinds of food.

Getting to know more about each others’ lifestyles, cultures and practices will help us understand each other better.

This will result in respect and tolerance for each others’ way of life. When we create relationships with people in our community, we will also feel a sense of responsibility to care for everyone and be mindful of what we say and do.

Activities For a Tight Knit Community

Most of us lead very busy lives and to fit another engagement in our already busy schedules sounds impossible. Let’s explore the things we can do as a community even in our hectic schedules.

One of the simplest ways for us to engage with our community members and neighbours is through festive celebrations. We are lucky enough that our nation celebrates all our cultures’ festivities, mainly Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali, Christmas, and of course, our National Day.

Take the opportunity to interact and socialise through open houses and celebrations. For those celebrating the particular festival, try and invite your neighbours and community members to join in.

Participating in such celebratory spirits will not only bring us closer as a community, but it helps us understand each others’ cultures and values as well. There will also be very little adjustment needed to your busy schedules since most of these festive celebrations are on public holidays.

Staying fit & healthy

Exercising and staying fit can be a solitary activity for most of us. We try to fit some running time or go to the gym before and after work as part of our regiment. Why not exercise in groups at least once a week? Surely we are not alone when caring about our health and fitness.

For example, look for gym buddies in your block or start a morning walk group that you can entice your neighbours to join in too. It will be a great bonding opportunity while keeping each other fit.

If working out is already part of your daily or weekly routine, that’s even better!

Picnics, potlucks & parties

Nothing brings people together more than food so let’s take advantage of that. Having community meetings in a setting that is fun and relaxing will encourage more people to join in.

One way to do this is to hold it as a picnic, potluck or party. Enjoying different foods together is a great way to get everyone together. So, the next time you’re hosting a housewarming, birthday or festive party, consider inviting your neighbours so you can get to know them.

It’s also a great way to encourage healthy eating in the community by bringing healthy versions of everyone’s favourite dishes like chicken rice, nasi lemak or biryani made with Naturel’s Organic Brown Rice.

 

Taking it a Step Further

Let’s say you feel like doing more or you have a cause that you are passionate about. Try to take any opportunity to allow yourself to make an impact. Even though it may not seem like you can, it is very possible to lend a helping hand and help you live in peace at heart and mind.

Volunteer

Doing volunteer work is a wonderful way to help your community as well as relieve you of stress and anxiety.  Generally, volunteer work will help you grow compassion and empathy by peeking into a world or lives different from your own. You can help the underprivileged, animals or senior citizens. Volunteering your time to bring food and necessities for the less fortunate or helping out at the local animal shelter can be very fulfilling.

Helping others will help you be more grateful for the lives you lead and put things into perspective. You will realise that everyone is going through something and will not feel so alone in whatever you are facing in your own lives.

Making a difference

If you are someone who strives to make a change in the world, you can consider being involved in town council, neighbourhood committee or private organisations.

When you have a hand in the processes of making a change and being a voice for the community and public, you would have a sense of satisfaction knowing you are trying to make a difference.

Making time to engage with our community is making time to destress and remind ourselves that there we are all a part of something bigger. Being part of the community means we each have a responsibility to care for one another and see that the place we live in is safe, harmonious and happy.