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Wellbeing, lockdown and Daleks

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

By Jeff Walker with Michael Fellowes, February 2024

The five ways to wellbeing: Connect, Take Notice, Be Active, Give, Keep Learning
The five ways to wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing, like the guidelines on eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, support us to maintain a healthy state of physical and mental wellbeing. They tell us to:

  • Connect
  • Take Notice
  • Be Active
  • Keep Learning
  • and Give

Before lockdown it was easier to find an activity that fits most of the five ways. During lockdown this became more difficult. I decided to meet most of my Five Ways to Wellbeing, while stuck at home waiting for the Covid-19 crisis to end. To assist me, I have called on the help of the Daleks.

I’m a big fan of Doctor Who and I’m interested in 3D printing. During lockdown I brought these passions together. I 3D printed the Dalek Supreme. (The enemy of David Tennant’s Doctor, in Season Four).

Keep Learning

Multi-coloured Dalek parts
Multi-coloured Dalek parts

I used the online 3D printing community to download a free model template of a five inch Dalek Supreme but I wanted the twelve inch version. The printer software would allow me to resize but it would use a lot of filament – building the model layer by layer and take a long time.

I needed to save filament to reduce cost and print time. This brings me to the first of my five ways to wellbeing – Keep Learning. I downloaded an online modelling programme called Tinker CAD. Searched YouTube for Tinker CAD tutorial videos and, after trial and error I learnt enough to reduce filament and break the model into smaller parts that would fit into the printer.

Be Active

Then I got on with another of the five ways – Be Active. Printing takes a long time. The hollow skirt of the Dalek Supreme took the longest at over 26 hours continuous printing. The technology is still new and often a print job can fail. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a nest of filament strands where a pristine model should be. I constantly monitored it. Which meant, many trips up and down stairs – helping me reach my daily recommended number of steps.


A random comment on a Facebook lockdown discussion group helped me with another of the five ways – Connect. I mentioned my printing project and another Doctor Who fan asked for regular updates about the print job, pictures of work in progress and the final product. My Connect was a Facebook friend, who was as passionate about Doctor Who as I was.

Take Notice

The finished Dalek supreme side view
The finished Dalek supreme

Once the model parts were printed, I could get on with achieving one of the other five ways – Take Notice. My Dalek Supreme was a group of multi-coloured parts, with slight discrepancies that resulted in a poor fit. I had to go back to Tinker CAD and YouTube tutorials to learn the tricks to repair my model.

After a few tweaks, all the parts fitted together. Next came the paint job. The Dalek Supreme is an impressive enemy, with a flame red, gold and black, colour scheme. Having the model in parts allowed me to paint individual pieces, such as the 56 tiny domes, separate from the rest of the model. The main upper body was more of a challenge as each part had to be painted in three different colours. My Take Notice was, to take my time, be patient and pay attention to detail.


NHS PPE mask restraining straps
NHS PPE mask restraining straps

My final part of the five ways – Give - happened again through a casual conversation. A colleague heard about my Dalek Supreme and 3D printing. She said her friends in the NHS were desperate for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). News of NHS staff and care workers struggling with limited, inadequate or no PPE, spurred the 3D printing community across the UK into action. They helped the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by printing visor mounts and mask retraining straps for the NHS and care sector. I set aside my Dalek Print job and started to print mask retaining straps instead. As each print job would finish, I would start it again. Keeping my printer going non-stop for three days until I had enough items to donate to the NHS.

So, in a small way, Daleks have helped the NHS.

The Five Ways can be personal to you

The finished Dalek supreme, front view
The finished Dalek supreme

The beauty of the Five Ways to Wellbeing is that you can achieve them in a very personal way. Rather than being prescriptive they are creative. I hit my five ways printing a Dalek. For someone else, their passion may help them to achieve the Five Ways to Wellbeing in a different way - even during a lockdown.

By Jeff Walker with Michael Fellowes, February 2024


[1] Five Ways to Wellbeing from the NHS

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