8 things to do this October

October is Mental Health Month – a time to maintain wellness, and to manage feelings of uncertainty.

Nearly half the global adult population will experience issues with their mental health before the age of 40. And with the coronavirus global pandemic still affecting our daily lives, we can all do with a little extra self-care.

To mark Mental Health Month, Council has organised a range of events designed to support and improve mental wellbeing.

Below we’ve wrapped up a selection of fun, easy ways to improve your mental wellbeing, this month and beyond.

1. Head to the dog park!

Yes, dog parks are OPEN in Brimbank. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the sound of hundreds of tails wagging with delight!

And that trip to the dog park is brilliant for your mental health as well as your dog’s health.

Time with animals lowers the stress hormone – cortisol, and boosts oxytocin, your brain’s happy chemical.

Once you’ve tired your canine out, bring them home for a cuddle on the couch.

Patting a dog can reduce your blood pressure, lower your heart and breathing rate and reduce muscle tension and fatigue. The calming influence pets have can also help reduce feelings of stress, by encouraging moments of relaxation.

More of a cat person? Feline cuddles have all the same benefits as dogs.

You’ll find a a list of all dog parks in Brimbank on our website.


2. Learn all about Brimbank’s native birdlife

Birdwatching is a proven way to improve your mental health and wellbeing, with studies showing that time spent amongst trees and birdlife can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

If you’re looking to try out the practice, this online session is a perfect introduction.

Local nature photographer and artist Ursula Dutkiewicz will guide the session, sharing her expertise on birdwatching, specifically around Kororoit Creek.

The session will teach you all about the local birds of Kororoit Creek, tips on how to identify them and the importance of creating habitat for birds in urban areas.

This webinar is especially fantastic for those who enjoy time at Kororoit Creek, and for any nature enthusiasts.

And after you’ve finished the session, be sure to take your newfound ornithology expertise to the great outdoors. Head down to your local park, or even go to Kororoit Creek and see if you can spot some birdlife. If you get a picture, be sure to tag us on Instagram so we can share!

You can access the event via a Zoom link that will be sent after registering.

When: 6 – 7pm, Tuesday 19 October
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: No charge


3. Calm your mind with four weeks of guided meditation and mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice in which you focus on the present moment and use techniques, such as breathing, to calm yourself.

Over four weeks and four sessions, these Mindfulness and Meditation workshops will help you learn how to calm your mind and be more mindful.

The sessions will be run by experienced meditation facilitator, Jess Baker of Journey to a Better Place, and will focus on key techniques to help you through difficult times.

Week one will serve as an introduction to mindfulness, explaining a brief history of meditation, debunking some myths. You’ll then be guided through an introduction to breathing techniques known as pranayama.

The second session will feature a discussion on the scientific benefits to meditation, and a dance movement meditation.

In week three, you’ll be taught how to incorporate meditation into your daily life, in small ways like a cup of tea or going for a walk.

And finally in week four, you’ll learn all about the benefits of meditating with others, and receive an introduction to sound meditation.

Presented as part of Brimbank’s ‘Libraries After Dark’ program.

Spaces to the sessions are limited and bookings are essential. Register to receive a Zoom link.

When: 7.30pm – 9.30pm Thursdays 7 October, 14 October, 21 October, and 28 October
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: No charge

4. Enjoy all the delicious benefits of your daily cuppa

Your daily dose of caffeine is doing you more good than just getting you going in the morning.

In fact, studies show that coffee can reduce the risk of depression by up to one third.

The positive impact your morning cuppa is having on mental health is related to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as to caffeine’s ability to block mood-depressing chemicals in people’s brains. Coffee is also a probiotic, encouraging good gut function which leads to better mood.

So why not head out and grab a coffee from your favourite local café, or try out a new one! Not only are you boosting your brain’s happy chemicals, you’re supporting local businesses who really need it.

Check out Trip Advisor and Experience Brimbank for some expert Brimbank café recommendations. And if coffee isn’t your thing, a tea or hot chocolate will still provide plenty of mood bosting antioxidants.


5. VCE students, come here to unwind!

Finishing school can be one of the most stressful times in a young person’s life, let alone doing it during a pandemic!

Tapping into two wonderful tools for unwinding – yoga and meditation – these sessions will help students, particularly those doing their VCE exams, relax their minds.

The three sessions are held online and are hosted by qualified yoga teachers from Brimbank Leisure Centre. Running for an hour, it’s a time to dedicate to relaxing your mind and body in the lead up to exams.

No experience with yoga or meditation is required, and though a yoga mat is handy if you have one, a rug, blanket, towel or even carpet will do the trick.

Registrations are essential. A Zoom link will be sent after registering.

When: 6 – 7pm Tuesday 5 October, 10 – 11am Sunday 17 October, and 6 – 7pm Thursday 21 October
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: No charge

6. Eat healthy, eat local

We know this can be easier said than done, but a nutritious, balanced diet is a sure-fire way to promote overall wellness and health, and is proven to improve your headspace too.

Eating well helps give you more energy. It also helps you sleep better, improves your concentration and, you guessed it, keep a healthy headspace.

Healthy eating is all about balance, so while we encourage you to treat yourself to a pizza every now and then, remember to stock up on fruit, veggies, wholegrains and protein, to make sure your body is getting all the goodness it needs.

There are so many other incredible places offering fresh fruit and veg or where you can grab a healthy bite or do your grocery shopping in Brimbank. Fresh and crisp Vietnamese, a taste of the Mediterranean and piping hot Thai are just some of the many cuisines available in Brimbank.

Check out Experience Brimbank to locate eateries near you. As a bonus, you get the mood boosting good vibes of knowing you’re supporting local businesses!


7. Visit Errington Reserve and enjoy outdoor exercise!

Thanks to the wonderful Victorians who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, our eased restrictions mean we’re able to do more exercise outdoors!

Though recreation facilities remain closed for the time being, we want to make it easier for the community to use Brimbank’s newest multipurpose outdoor court. That’s why for the month of October, the Errington Multipurpose Court will light up of an evening to enable extended use.

The court will light up on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from sundown until 8pm, until 31 October.

The energy efficient LED lights will automatically turn on and off at the set times, allowing you to be more active, more often.

It’s important to still abide by state government restrictions. Remember to always check-in using the available QR Code, maintain social distancing, wear a fitted face mask, be home before the curfew, and adhere to all other current COVID restrictions set out by the Victorian Government.

When: 5pm – 8pm Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 29 September – 31 October
Where: Errington Reserve, 309C Main Road East, St Albans
Cost: No charge


8. Learn how to better support your community group

 Do you work for or volunteer with a community group? This Community Governance Training will equip you with a deeper understanding of mental health, and practical tools for supporting those around you.

The session will cover the basics of understanding mental health and wellbeing, how to support each other’s wellbeing, self-care, and knowing when and where to seek support.

But perhaps most importantly, the session will provide practical advice and ideas that you can use now, to support yourself and those around you.

Hosted by professionals with extensive experience in social work, who have worked with Suicide Safer Communities, the Arts Wellbeing Collective, Mental Health Roundtable and more.

They understand the current statistics and healthy practices behind good mental health care, but also care for people as individuals.

Register to RSVP and receive the Zoom link to the event.

Where: Online via Zoom
When: 4 October 2021
Cost: No charge


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Brimbank City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of this land, the Wurundjeri People, and pays our respects to Elders past and present.