Watching 22 men kick a ball for 90 minutes is the idea of hell for many. Yet, for some reason, when it’s coupled with a heatwave and England aren’t that crap, things become a little more exciting. Excitement, however, is not the only thing that the World Cup has brought…

Okay, so we didn’t get to the final. That’s okay. We did better than anyone ever thought we could. We donned waistcoats, celebrated the name Harry in all its glory and have been eating Vindaloo at every opportunity.

This week, the NHS’s clinical director for dementia has spoken out and explained how “re-watching” football matches has been proven to act as a positive step in improving mental health. With this in mind, we thought we’d list all of the ways that the current football extravaganza has helped our mental health here at STW:

1. Escape.

Life is hard. Paying bills are hard. Getting up with your alarm every day is the worst. However, the World Cup has provided the nation with that little bit of escape.

Working long hours in the education sector has its challenges and it’s often hard to switch off at the end of every day. However, sticking on Panama* vs Tunisia on at the end of a long day suddenly results in you becoming an honorary citizen for the evening- everything else stops. This is brilliant for our mental health; it gives us much needed time and space away from “reality.”

*(Panama is in Central America btw; we had to Google it too)

2. Routine.

For us here at STW, routine is massively helpful. Whether it’s our Wednesday Wellbeing pub trip or our evening walkies with the pup, we like to know what to expect from the week ahead.

The World Cup has been incredible for this. Each night, we know we can go home, stick a game on and relax. Wait, it finishes at 5:30? Not to worry: there’s another game at 7- let’s crack the Doritos and dip out. The STW team have been proudly basking along our sofa for hours on end for the last few weeks and LONG SHALL IT CONTINUE- well, until Sunday 😥

3. Lack of routine.

Despite providing us with a nightly ritual, the tournament itself is completely new and exciting. Only coming round once every four years means that we can get fully excited. It’s like Christmas- but without the presents and annoying family members.

We’ve found ourselves mid Whatsapp to old friends spouting: “fancy meeting up to watch the game tomorrow?” and being collared by work friends to join them on their viewing. Suddenly, it’s a Tuesday night and you’re in a pub surrounded by randomers. The World Cup truly has meant the opportunity to catch up with old faces and get to know brand new ones.

4. Community.

We don’t know about you, but the amount of sunburnt middle aged men patrolling the main roads in our local area yelling “IT’S COMING HOME” (with a can in hand) has evoked feelings of both disgust and weird… pride?

“I’m not a football fan but…” is a common phrase heard over the World Cup season- especially from some of the STW community. However, when England are involved, and we’re actually okay at it, things change. Suddenly, people who couldn’t name a player, know the line ups before anyone else! With everyone backing the boys, whether a die-hard fan or not, suddenly there’s a massive group of people around you that feel exactly the same way as you, at the same time as you. How often does that happen?

So for a few more days, let’s enjoy the world cup for what it is – a chance to stop the world in a slightly unconventional way. Let’s get 3rd place boys – we still believe.

Positive of the day: The STW team are going for an away day in a couple of weeks which means all of your blogspiration is finally going to get some time to be turned into blogs!