Makeovers for mindfulness: DIY expert Craig Phillips drills home a mental health message

by Francesca

As self-isolation and staying at home become the new norm, there are concerns that the measures in place to protect our physical health may have an adverse affect on our mental wellbeing. 

Mental health charities, including SANE, have noted a spike in calls from people suffering from anxiety, depression, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder seeking help and advice. 

And, with NHS resources already being stretched to treat patients of the virus, many people struggling with their mental wellbeing are hesitant about adding pressure to the service. 

In addition, in recent years, there has been a lot of focus on combating loneliness amongst the UK’s older population, with the Campaign to End Loneliness gaining a lot of support and Cadbury’s partnering with Age UK on the ‘Donate Your Words’ campaign. 

Categorised as vulnerable, meaning self-isolation is a must, the issue of loneliness will undoubtedly worsen for these individuals. But with similar measures in place for everyone, the issue is no longer exclusive to this group.

Creating to combat mental health

Although not a permanent treatment, the benefits of arts, crafts and DIY on mental wellbeing have been recognised by many experts. 

This has already been seen during the pandemic as people across the word decorate their windows with artful rainbows – a way to occupy themselves and lift the spirits of passersby. 

Whatever the medium or creation may be, focusing your mind on DIY or a piece of art can give you a sense of satisfaction, purpose and joy, all of which are feelings that boost your mental wellbeing. 

A product of your environment 

The environment in which you live can also have a massive impact on your mental health. As we are confined to our houses for the foreseeable future, ensuring our surroundings make us feel happy and comfortable is vital. 

And, with money a concern for many, turning to DIYs that encourage recycling and cost saving, is a great solution. TV’s DIY expert, Craig Phillips explains how the benefits of getting creative by building a better living space are what many people need at this time. 

“From my experience with 60 minute makeover, where we went in for only a short space of time, just by painting up walls or putting laminate down, it completely changed lives. People get into a rut and can’t afford house makeovers, but everyone wants to have their house give them the feel good factor. 

“Seeing the reactions to the home reveals and how uplifting it was for people made it all worthwhile for me. I loved seeing the changes it made to the families and how it changed their lives for the better.

“In the situation we’re in at the moment, you need something to give you a lift. We are contained, so make the best of it. Whether it’s cleaning, DIY or maintenance, keeping your mind busy, your body active and making your house look and feel better will help you to get through it.” 

So, are you ready to embark on your own makeover for mindfulness journey? Craig shares some DIYs you can try. 

Build your own barbecue 

With the days getting longer and the weather warmer, what better way to spend your evenings than by having a barbecue? Don’t have one? Don’t worry – here’s how you can build your own

Not only will completing this project fill you with a sense of satisfaction, it will also allow you to spend time outdoors – while both building the barbecue and using it – which can also help in boosting your mental wellbeing. 

Build a DIY pallet bench 

Another DIY that can get you out in the garden. Here’s how you can build your own bench by recycling some old pallet wood. 

Again, enjoy the fruits of your labour with this hack by using it to bask in the warm spring sunshine when finished. 

Hang your own floating shelves 

Staring at the same four walls everyday can get boring so why not improve your space with some new floating shelves? Here’s how

These shelves are a great storage solution for anyone working from home, allowing you to declutter your new workspace. After all, a cluttered desk is said to lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. 

You can also place pictures of family and friends who you are unable to see in person on your new shelves, which may help lift your spirits too. 

Tools, equipment and materials 

One of the best parts of embarking on a DIY project is finding materials and objects to upcycle, recycle and reuse. In these current times in particular, this is a great way to make the most of what you have available at home, limit the need to go out and risk exposure to the virus, and to save money. 

For some of your DIY projects, however, you may require some additional tools and materials. Whilst many physical shops are closed, their online stores are still delivering. Here’s a list of places to try:

Many larger supermarkets also stock DIY products and stores, such as Wilkos and The Range are still open, but with certain restrictions in place, as they stock items deemed as ‘essential’.

Although this is undoubtedly a challenging time for many, remaining positive and productive will certainly make things a little easier – and DIY projects are a proven way of achieving both. 

For more information or an interview with Craig Phillips on mental health and mini-makeovers please do contact Fran Prince on

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