Six alternative events to help improve your mental well-being

Illustration of a woman looking despondent on a pink background
Practice self-care this winter (Picture: Ella Byworth for

Winter can be tough on the mind.

As the days get darker and the weather gets colder, many people suffer from conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or experience a general dip in their mood.

Self-care is important during all months of the year, but winter wellness in particular could make a big difference to your mental health – and hopefully, help counter-act any negative emotions.

We’ve put together a list of alternative well-being events in London, with a wide range of choices beyond traditional yoga and meditation.

Channel your inner vampire

A woman leaning forward in a yoga pose while in a circle with a star in it and candles around the circle
A glass of red liquid included (Picture: Vampire Yoga)

Sometimes delving into darkness can be spiritually cleansing.

Just in time for Halloween, you can emerge yourself in vampire yoga.

Think less Twilight and more Nosferatu, as you join a group of people in the Queen’s Wood in Highgate for an evening of ‘intention setting, asana practice, guided meditation’ along with a reading from Dracula and other ‘rituals’.

Tickets cost £35 and include charcoal-based pizza and a glass of thick red liquid (wine, not blood).

Choose from two dates: 21 October or 18 November.

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Float in a tank and forget your worries

A floating tank at 3Tribes in Borough
The tub is filled with Epsom salts to make you float (Picture: 3Tribes)

If you’ve never heard of a floating tank, let us explain.

You will be in a closed tub, filled with water and Epsom salts (to help you float), completely cut off from the outside world with no sight, sounds or sensory stimulation. Founders of 3Tribes in Borough, who offer the floating tank experience, say it’s like ‘returning to the womb’.

There are a few things to bear in mind.

Firstly, you’ll be in there for an hour and some people may hallucinate while meditating in the tank or fall asleep, which is normal.

Don’t worry, the tank only contains a small amount of water and the high level of salt will keep you floating, plus you can open the tank at any time.

Floating doesn’t come cheap; two sessions will set you back £100 or get a £50 discount by purchasing five sessions for £200.

De-stress in the company of furry friends

A woman sat at a table in Paws for Coffee with her dog and pooch is looking into the camera
Dogs help lower stress levels (Picture: Paws For Coffee)

There are numerous studies that showcase the mental health benefits of having a pet.

Being in the company of dogs can lower your stress levels and help you regulate your blood pressure.

Head to Paws for Coffee, a dog-friendly café where your pooch can roam free and make new pals while you chat to their humans.

Come along even if you don’t have a pet of your own and just sit surrounded by furry, friendly faces. We’re pretty sure you can convince a few people to let you pet their dogs (but always ask before you do).

Feed him properly. Ask your vet what type of food and how much is right for you pet. Keeping your pet on a regular, portion controlled diet will help with weight management and prevent weight related health problems.

The café is located in Hampton Hill, so why not go for a relaxing walk afterwards?

Chill out and listen to the gongs

Two large gongs at Sound Awakening
Listen and relax (Picture: Sound Awakening)
Sound awakening, run by Louise, a sound practitioner, will host a gong bath at the Greenhouse in Stoke Newington in November.

If you’re open to new experiences, go along and listen to the ‘powerful sonic meditation to bring about peace and well-being for improved health’.

Apparently, the vibrations will also help you release ‘blockages’ within your body and heal your cells.

Sounds pretty great to us.

The event will take place on 7 November from 7pm to 8pm or 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Tickets cost £19.

Try restorative yoga with passive poses

Woman doing restorative yoga in a studio, stretching across a pillow with the instructor's legs seen walking beside her
It’s less about effort and more about getting in tune with your senses (Picture: Getty)

This form of yoga is perfect if you want to enjoy the well-being aspect of the practice, without having to put in a lot of physical effort.

It’s slow-paced with passive poses that are intended to soothe your soul with the use of blocks, cushions and belts to provide maximum comfort.

The class is hosted at Frame – which has six locations in London – and is described as follows: ‘As we allow the body to release into these restful, sometimes deeply opening poses we release muscular, physical and emotional tension and aim to move towards a state of deep contentment, so as we still our fidgety bodies we can calm our busy minds and allow our selves just to rest in the present moment’.

Use a carabiner to attach it to a belt loop for a long hike.

Keep an eye on the brand’s website for upcoming dates at your studio of choice.

Meet like-minded souls at a cooking class

A hand chopping red onions on a chopping board with other vegetables on the side including garlic, parsley, shallots, tomatoes, carrots and an orange
There’s a connection between what we eat and how we feel (Picture: Borough Kitchen)

There are reports that explain the connections between what we put into our bodies and our mental health .

Borough Kitchen hosts classes where you can learn about healthy eating and cooking, including which vegetables and fruits to add to your daily diet.

Cooking can be very soothing on the mind and you’ll get the chance to make four dishes: spiced beetroot and coconut soup, salmon and chia seed cakes with avocado and dill salad, vegetable salad with spiced peanut dressing and lentils with butternut, spinach and tomato.

The three-hour class also includes time for dinner so you can eat the dishes you’ve prepared with others in the group.

Choose from a variety of dates up until February 2020, held in Chiswick or Hampstead. Tickets cost £99.

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