• Simon Birdsey

The Board

Understand what the different headings mean and how to use the blank boxes.

Contribute- This is something that you do for somebody else. It could be volunteering, making a donation, doing something nice for a friend or family member or helping an old lady to cross the road. It could be something that you do spontaneously and then add to your board later on.

Learn- As well as courses, this could include reading, learning a new skill, trying a recipe, going to visit a museum or gallery and giving a new magazine a go. For the Cure's 40th Anniversary I decided to listen to all their albums in chronological order.

Environment- Getting out in nature is a great idea, as is recycling. I would also include learning about the planet, maybe by watching a documentary or attending a talk in this category. Environment includes your home as well as the great outdoors. I love combining two boxes by decluttering my home and then contributing by donating the things that I don't want to charity.

Social- This one is fairly self-explanatory, the only stipulation I would make is that it's a new activity. If you're going out with friends, try doing something that you haven't done before. If you get an invite to an event and you're not sure whether to go or not, do it! It's a good way to expand your social circle by joining new groups too.

Physical- This could include sports and exercise but, more generally, it's anything related to your physical wellbeing, so sleep, diet, hydration, grooming and taking good care of yourself all fall into this category.

Pleasure- This one is entirely up to you. What do you enjoy doing? What did you like doing when you were younger? What things do you need to make more time for? I use this box to do the things that I would like to do 'one day'. I normally use it to get through a boxset too. Watching the whole of Mad Men felt like quite an achievement.

Achievement- I used to focus too much on achievement or not recognise what I'd accomplished. Jossed helps me to keep this in balance. I also use this box to do things that scare me, such as having a filling at the dentist.

Relaxation- I start every new board with a 'Reward Week', where I'll go for a massage and a haircut, have a meal out and give myself prizes for completing my previous bingo board. There are lots of different ways to relax and the key is to find new activities for your bingo board. Maybe you could try a new form of treatment or therapy such as mindfulness or yoga?

Blank boxes- You can put whatever you want in these boxes. I normally fill my special boxes first and then, as things occur to me, add them in the blank boxes. I usually put more 'passive' activities here such as watching Glastonbury or getting my bike serviced because, even though they're important to my wellbeing, I'm not really putting much of myself into it.

The main rule to remember is that one activity can only count for one box, so you can't help your neighbour with their garden and put it down as environment, social and contribute.

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