Part of my post last week mentioned the word "stress" - yes, I have been affected by something that caused me mental health issues and am (now) happy to share the fact because it's important that people know. I recently shared it in a job interview - and got the job! I went in being open and honest about how I intend to look after my well-being. I know this won't be the same everwhere, but it's good to know that there are people in leadership who value it.
I suffered for what I would consider a relatively short time, and was surprised how long it took me to "recover", but with friends and family around me giving their fabulous support, how could I not "get back" to being me?!
Mental health is a hot topic (quite rightly!), and has been highlighted even more since lockdown, especially for children. Although we would consider them resilient, some children will lose confidence and a sense of reality when shut up away from their friends, away from physical contact, and away from their teachers too! Even with family close by, the adults that are normally there for them for a significant part of their day are missed. Online schooling is the best alternative to nothing, but it doesn't replace the interactions that take place through a school day.
Parents too have dealt with more than their fair share this year. I can't imagine the amount of juggling it takes to manage you, your family, your job and homeschooling - I am in awe! But all this comes at a price for some - anxiety and stress overload would be inevitable in our family if we had had to do this. How are you feeling? Has juggling left you drained and emotional?
I am not a counsellor or a psychotherapist, so I have no answers. My support mechanism for friends in the past has been to sit, drink tea, hold hands, hug and be there (silently, if needed). This isn't possibe now, so getting help online or over the phone is the only option. A close friend worked with Mind during her counselling training, so when they held a Crafternoon fundrasier last December, I jumped at the chance to do it. Cygnini had just started and I had a few contacts that might like to support me - we raised £125 for our two hour event!
I was thrilled to have made a difference in doing something that I loved and sharing the charity's message far and wide. People need to know support is there. From that moment, I decided that Cygnini would not only run events, but also support charities in the mental health sector once a quarter.
This Easter, we are doing it again! I was lucky enough to be approached by a younger charity "Three Little Birds". This charity is doing amazing stuff. Here's Colin to tell you more:
"Three Little Birds, is a charity dedicated to helping those affected by Mental & Physical Health, Anxiety, Obesity and associated conditions i.e. Isolation.
Our team consists of volunteers that have a passion for supporting people with mental health related conditions. Through a structured approach of understanding the client, compassion for their needs and small steps, a bond of trust is formed and clients appreciate the patience and dedication our volunteers show them from the outset.
Initially, our volunteers have no idea what each individual has gone through to get to this point, which works well, so compassion which costs nothing is used more often, to quickly & safely win the trust before we can help.
We take a holistic approach to Health & Wellbeing making the client lead and focus the support around them. The dedication of our volunteers and partners allows us to reach the most affected communities, so we can raise awareness of all issues and engage the required support."
So, if you can spare a pound or two, why not join us for a fun afternoon? No crafting experience needed, just a good sense of humour! Donate and join here
Creative activities are beneficial to us in so many ways. Taking time out to do something different, or something that takes focus and concentration allows your brain to switch off from the worry of your current situation. In mindfulness practice engaging in enjoyable activity* or doing something that gives you a sense of satisfaction [and] achievement* are two of the best ways to take care of yourself. This counts for children too, who sometimes need direction in being mindful.
Often we are too busy to take the time to sit with our children and enjoy a simple activity, but grabbing those moments out of the hub-bub of day-to-day life, especially as it begins to return to normal, is such an important step to maintaining your and your family's well-being. During the pandemic, I think we have gained something important, and that is to re-evaluate what we need in our lives and what time we spend with each other, actually interacting. Playing, making things, cooking, talking, singing... the list goes on! What have you re-evaluated since lockdown? What are you enjoying more? What things will you keep hold of, even when time restraints make you think otherwise?
It's a thoughtful week this week, so take care of yourself and take time for yourself <3
Same time next week :)
*quoted from "Mindfulness..." Mark Williams & Danny Penman.