An evening class is the new yoga retreat for 2020

As 2020 approaches, one word will be on people’s lips more than ever: wellbeing. From breathing workshops and gong baths to sabbaticals from work, finding ways to develop wellbeing is a growing trend and, with the excesses of Christmas and the rush to find the perfect gift, we’re all looking for ways to improve our mental and physical health, whether that’s a new gym class or a detox.

Along with recipes for turkey curry, online searches for evening classes soar on Boxing Day, say the founders of London-based City Academy. We’re all looking for something to change our lives, post-Christmas, to give us that boost we now crave after all the indulgence. While many might search for a yoga retreat or how to be more Hygge, there’s a new way to get your dose of wellbeing that you might not have explored: An evening class.

City Academy provides creative and performing arts courses, and they’ve found that their students credit evening classes with enhancing their wellbeing. And with 2020 on the horizon, many people will be thinking about New Year’s resolutions connected with wellbeing. City Academy believes its courses are the answer for a wellbeing boost in the new decade, and that can even start with a Christmas gift – City Academy offers gift vouchers for the hard to buy for friend or family member.

City Academy offers a huge range of courses that are linked to wellbeing-from the laughter of comedy to the mindfulness of ballet, the creativity of sitcom writing and the power and endorphin release of singing. And the popularity is growing – for example, views for ballet classes are up 14% at City Academy, while views for the comedy course are up 39% over the last two years.

City Academy was established in 2007, and now offers over 12,000 classes per year at over 50 London venues. The importance of wellbeing in their work has always been paramount – providing courses was always about helping people feel better, more confident and giving them life skills – but now so more than ever, as we all strive to find a better work/life balance and improve our wellbeing and mental health.

Susan Young, co-MD of City Academy, says: ‘The wellbeing industry is growing daily, and companies are starting to offer employees health and wellbeing activities, but that’s still a minority and it’s often down to individuals to find a way to incorporate wellbeing into their lives. At City Academy, we have always been proud to say that we bring a feel-good factor and wellbeing element to people’s lives through our courses. The thrill of creating your own film, or reliving a passion for dance that has lain dormant, for example, or the power of learning to draw and paint. Wellbeing is now a huge part of all our lives, and the courses at City Academy align with that. Students report life-changing feelings and a positive boost to their mental health and wellbeing when they’ve completed a course.’

Students agree, saying they feel prouder, walk taller and feel more positive following a course. Libby S said of her ballet course: ‘Our teacher was great. These last eight weeks have changed my life for the better!’

Another student, Melissa T, said of her singing course: ‘The teacher is brilliant, and the lessons were the highlight of my week. I felt that it was truly transformative, I previously thought I would never be able to reach the high notes but the lessons showed me that it was possible to do that safely and enjoyably.’

‘While some wellbeing trends come and go, an evening class can give you skills for wellbeing throughout your whole life,’ adds Susan Young. ‘Taking time out for an evening class might seem tricky with a busy schedule, but we know that students who do sign up for a course find it’s hugely beneficial to their wellbeing-whether that’s the endorphin release of a physical class such as street dance, or the thrill of performing in a Musical Theatre show to photography courses. There’s also the fact that life long friendships are made in our courses, too,’ she says.

‘Our courses also include life skills, such as public speaking, voice and accent training and improvisation, all of which can help people not just with their wellbeing but also their every day working life. An evening class is the new yoga retreat when it comes to wellbeing in 2020,’ concludes Susan Young.