Event / 1 Jan – 31 Jan 2024

January Pick Me Up Photo Essay Project

January can be a long, dark month after the highs of the holidays so we’d like to invite you all to join in on a project designed to help improve our wellbeing and lift our spirits! Our aim is to create a space where creativity and wellbeing intersect.

At the start of 2023 we ran a project with daily prompts but this year we’ve decided to do it a bit differently.

Instead of a prompt every day, we will issue a prompt at the start of each of the 5 weeks in January (4 full weeks and three days in week 5). The themes will follow the 5 Themes of Wellbeing and we invite you to create a photo essay that explores the theme for each new week with as many or as few photographs as you would like to capture.

On Monday of each week we will issue the Wellbeing Theme for that coming week across our online platforms. Having a week to think about each theme will give you time to consider how you could illustrate that theme through photography. Your photographs could be personal or look outwards, you might like to include text through poetry or prose, you could include some mixed media if you’d like to and you can interpret the themes in whichever way seems right for you. The first weekly prompt will be posted on Monday 1st January.

We have created a Facebook Group where you can share your photographs throughout the month with a community of other photographers who are all taking part too.

If you’re not on Facebook, you can upload your photographs to our shared folder.

We are really looking forward to seeing how everyone interprets each theme and the wonderful work created! We hope that having an uplifting focus through January can help us all to start the New Year with a positive outlook for 2024!

Please ensure that you own all copyright to any work submitted. By submitting your work to us you are giving permission for the work to be shared across our online platforms. Please include your name in the title of each file submitted. The 5 ways to wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation, and they're based on evidence and research.

WEEK ONE: CONNECT (1 - 7 January)

Human connection is so important to our wellbeing. Whether in person, online, through a phone call, with one person or many, connecting with others can help us feel close to people, and valued for who we are.

How do you connect to people? How do you see others connecting? How can you show how important that connection is through photographs?

Use this week to explore the notion of connection and how it helps improve our wellbeing.

WEEK TWO: GET ACTIVE (8 - 14 January)

We’ve all heard how important being active is to our wellbeing and how it can help to nurture a positive mental attitude. This doesn’t mean that we all need to sign up to going to the gym 5 days a week, making small changes can be really beneficial too. Just going for a walk in the fresh air, choosing to take the stairs up to the first floor of the car park instead of waiting for that lift, having a bit of a dance, even just doing a few small stretches can really help.

Use your camera this week to capture photographs around this theme. It could be how you keep active or it might be looking at others around you. Maybe you could document a walk through the park or the runners or dog walkers that use that space too. Perhaps you go to a yoga class where the human form creates some amazing shapes. Whatever you choose to look at try to capture the notion of keeping active throughout this week.

WEEK THREE: TAKE NOTICE (14 - 21 January)

So often we walk through life with our heads down and in our own thoughts.

Reminding yourself to take notice can really help you to be aware of how you're feeling. Some studies have shown that savouring ‘the moment’ can also help you to feel more positive about life.

Take time to pause, breathe and take in what’s happening around you.

This week use your camera to capture images that illustrate the notion of taking notice. Stop for a minute and look around. What do you notice?

WEEK FOUR: LEARN (21 - 28 January)

No matter how old we get we are always learning new things, whether we realise it or not! Learning something new can be a real boost to improving your self esteem and well being.

What have you learnt already today? Is there something that you’ve always wanted to learn about? It doesn’t have to be a big thing or an arduous task: you might choose to learn a magic trick, how to fix your washing machine, maybe listen to an historical podcast, learn a new word, find out something about the place you live in, learning anything new, no matter how small, could help you feel a sense of accomplishment on any scale.

How can you show that process of learning through photographs and how much that process can be beneficial to how you are feeling? Spend this week trying to capture that idea through your photographs.

WEEK FIVE: GIVE (29 - 31 January)

It is better to give than to receive, that’s what they say. And there is certainly much truth in that statement.

Giving makes you happy. Seeing the smiles, gratitude and expressions of hope on the faces of those you are kind to makes the act of giving worthwhile. Giving cultivates self-worth and simply makes you feel good!

In the last few days of our January Wellbeing Photography project can you capture that feeling of happiness created when one person gives to another? That sense of contentment and pleasure that comes from the act of giving?