Guide 8: Confidence Building Activities for Adults With Sight Loss
Living with sight loss can be an isolating experience, which may be challenging to come to terms with. Some visual impairments progress gradually, so people may not notice the little changes;like slowly realising that you need more help with everyday tasks, or that feeling of withdrawing from your friends or family.
These gradual changes can slowly ebb away self-confidence in people experiencing sight loss and ultimately, independence. Taking steps to build confidence in adults with sight loss is an important part of managing mental well-being and living a fulfilling life.
Read on for some suggestions on how someone can boost their confidence.
While more than 2,000,000 people are living with some form of sight loss in the UK, individuals can feel as though they’re all alone. Joining a support group can be a helpful reminder that that’s not the case.
Online support groups can be a useful avenue for advice and moral support from people with similar experiences. The RNIB offers many different Talk and Support groups and topics can range from daily life to current affairs.
Meeting people in person at support groups is a safe way to meet new people in the local area. Many groups even offer both an in-person and online support group, so you can choose how you participate.
It’s well-documented that physical activity can relieve stress and improve your self-esteem. In fact, “Be Physically Active” is one of the NHS’ five steps to mental well-being.
A visual impairment need not prevent a person from enjoying exercise or physical activities. Taking a walk with friends, pottering around the garden, or working out at home can be great stress relievers. Many sports, from gymnastics to archery, can be adapted to include people who are blind or partially sighted, so there are lots of opportunities to get involved in sports.
Participate in a reading group / audiobook club
As outlined in more detail across this website, reduced eyesight doesn’t mean you have to give up a love of reading. Alternative reading formats, like large print, braille and audiobooks, are becoming more widely available, especially through local libraries.
Book clubs have long been popular for people to come together and share their thoughts on books they’ve read. A ‘VI’ reading group or an audiobook club is a great way to enjoy books, be part of a community, and build the confidence to share your opinions in a safe space. Calibre and RNIB both support this kind of activity.
Learning a new skill helps build a sense of purpose, and many hobbies and activities are accessible or can be adapted for people with visual impairments. Whether a person’s passion is singing, or they have a yearning for creative writing, or want to try a hand at pottery; choosing to do something you’re interested in can be a real confidence booster.
Joining a class, virtual or in-person, gives someone an opportunity to try out new things and meet lots of new people.
Friends are there for you, through thick and thin. Sometimes, our busy lives can cause us to take our favourite people for granted. Perhaps a person might even feel like a burden on their friends, when the truth couldn’t be further from that.
Taking the time to connect with loved ones with a simple phone call, a relaxing walk through nature, or enjoying some company over a cuppa can be a great reminder that they’re your biggest supporters.
Pet therapy covers a range of activities from the traditional guide dog to simply cuddling a favourite pet.
Whether a person is an animal lover or not, pet therapy can be a comforting experience for people living with a visual impairment. Making a new connection, discovering unconditional love and caring for an animal can help to improve mood.
Helping someone else is a fulfilling experience. Volunteering at a local charity gives the opportunity to contribute to your community. Perhaps it’s befriending someone going through a similar experience, sharing knowledge with a board of trustees, or teaching. All of these things can lift thespirits.
Above all else, people with or without a vision impairment need to be kind to themselves! It can be all too easy to focus on the things one finds challenging. It’s a positive step to stop and take time out; and to treat yourself to some “me” time, whatever that looks like for you.
A relax in the bath, a massage, a delicious meal… it’s important to pamper yourself. There’s nothing like spending time on yourself to recharge the batteries and boost self-esteem.
At the end of the day, finding something that you love to do with people that you love to do it with is the greatest confidence booster of all.
This article was written by Charlotte Murphy ([email protected]).