Jo Eckersley: 5 ways Sheffield is good for my wellbeing

  • 3 min read

Sheffield is a great city - but do we ever stop to wonder why?  Jo took some time out to explore just what it is that makes Sheffield so special for her.


When I first moved to Sheffield everyone kept telling me what a great place this is to live. But when I first moved here it was hard, it didn’t feel like a great place to live yet. We didn’t know a lot of people, and we needed to find work and somewhere to live. Still, they kept telling us it was a great place to live, again and again, and again. It got to the point where I was thinking to myself: “they really need to stop banging on about this now”.
Fast forward four years, and now I’m that annoying person encouraging friends and family to move here. Life isn’t perfect by any means, but there are some things about living here that really work.

  1. Community
    I get a right buzz when I bump into someone I know, and this happens almost all the time now. I don’t know all my neighbours, but just knowing a few of them feels good. We say hi in the morning, I cycle into town, and then tend to see someone else I know during the day.
    I’m also a massive fan of knocking on, bobbing on, or whatever else people call it. Sheffield is small enough that I can get round all of my friend’s houses in under an hour, if that. Some of them live on my route home, so as I’m cycling up the road I’ll give them a knock and sit down for a cuppa. Loneliness is a massive epidemic these days, and I definitely experience it sometimes, but knowing people are just around the corner helps.
  2. Getting out and about
    This is the one everyone always mentions about Sheffield, ‘the outdoor city’, and it’s definitely true; this is a great place to be active. I’ve always been pretty bad at sports, but living here I’ve tried out a few new things. I had a short but sweet stint doing training sessions with the excellent AFC Unity, these hills have forced me to get better at cycling, and I’ve even been running in the Peaks. I’m still pretty sedentary most of the time, but it’s really good to know how good these things can make me feel, and to be able to do them when I get the time.
  3. The views
    I bloody love the hills here, they’re so beautiful!
  4. Learning from others
    I’ve met some seriously brilliant people in my time here. Powerful people, people with loads of energy and enthusiasm and drive who really care about our community. Learning from these people is a privilege. Oh and I really value learning from silly people too, the people who don’t take life too seriously, because that’s definitely one of the best lessons to learn.
Me in my Paul McCartney phase

5. Contributing
If any of you are familiar with the five ways to wellbeing, you’ll notice I’ve accidentally-on-purpose linked these 5 things to the 5 ways (yep, geek). But it fitted in really perfectly, in my defence.
When I’m feeling down, the thing that motivates me to work towards feeling better is contributing. I’ve banged on for all these paragraphs about why I love my home here, and I do my best to give back when I can. I’m saying this now, and I can’t actually think of the last time I did any volunteering (life is getting in the way!) With this in mind, I’m going to stop writing here, and finally take that bag of clothes that’s been waiting by the door to the charity shop!

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