In search of ‘Health, Well-th and Happiness’;
A few Touch team members went along to Southampton Mental Health Network’s latest even – Emily shares her experience
Hi Emily! Tell us a bit about the event you went to.
If I’m honest we weren’t really sure what to expect from the event, we knew it would be all about ‘health, well-th and happiness’ but that was about it! We arrived a smidge late (football traffic!) and snuck in during the introductions to the event and got out table set up.
Then it was straight into the keynote speech, Sarah from Creative Health shared some tips on how to look after your wellbeing. It was interesting to hear a different point of view on wellbeing and how to get through the tough times.
The rest of the event was time to network with stall holders and members of the public that had come to the event, a few more talks, an ‘open mic’ section for people to share their own experiences with wellbeing and then a singalong to end!
Who else was there? Who did you particularly enjoy meeting?
We had some amazing conversations with a few members of the choir that sang at the end, and some other organisations focusing on mental wellbeing too. Kate (our coaching lead) had an impromptu coaching session with Wendy from Books Alive! who is keen to tell her story at an event.
The feeling of connecting with someone who really understands what we do and why we do it is so wonderful. And really cements that what we do is needed and benefits people.
What were you able to share from your own personal experience? What makes a ‘good mental health day’ for you?
Myself and Anna (one of our event champs) shared our views and experiences on looking after our wellbeing to the attendees. We didn’t realise we’d be speaking into microphones and standing in front of a crowd! After introducing ourselves we asked each other a set of questions;
-What does wellbeing mean to you? What’s your relationship with your wellbeing.
-Describe your wellbeing on a good day.
-Describe your wellbeing on a bad day.
-How do you turn a bad day into a better day?
Wellbeing to me concerns all of me, it’s about how I feel, both mentally and physically on the good and the bad days. My relationship with my wellbeing has changed massively in the last 18 months, I think it has for all of us as we’ve all felt the affects of the pandemic. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2019 and had all my treatment during 2020 and since then my outlook on wellbeing has changed. I now no longer feel guilt for saying no to something that I don’t want to do. I’m less concerned with people’s opinions of me. I’m more open to trying new things, and I’m not afraid to be bad at it. I feel like we need to normalise being bad at something as an adult!
Anna and Emily share at the event
On a good day I would usually start the day with getting some fresh air, either on a run or a skate (ideally the weather would be bright and sunny too!) And then whatever I spend the rest of the day doing I am 100% giving myself to, not thinking about what I ‘should’ be doing or having my mind on what I need to do next. Just enjoying the moment.
On a bad day I find it hard to focus on anything. I often forget to find time to eat or I have little appetite. Quite often I’ll end up sitting on the sofa all day scrolling on my phone but not doing anything particularly productive, and then I’ll feel guilty afterwards and be very critical of myself.
During those moments when I’m being too critical of myself I’ll remind myself that I would never speak to a friend that way so I shouldn’t speak to myself like that either. I try and get outside as the fresh air and a walk often helps my head. If that feels like too much though I’ll stay inside, maybe have a nap or get cosy with my cats and allow myself to feel however I’m feeling, and know that it’s ok to have a bad day. And that tomorrow is a new day.
What was your main takeaway from the event?
That sharing your personal experiences can really help others, whether that’s to feel less alone or to know that we all have bad days and that that’s ok. There’s so much to take from hearing others open up about mental wellbeing and it’s really important to keep doing it.