It doesn’t always take money to help others. If we take the time and a little bit of thought, we can come up with some great ways to make a difference.
Yesterday following my daily dose of beetle juice etc, I visited the amazing “Living Room” on the ground floor of the hospital. This is a unique oasis in my Parallel Universe, crewed by a team of highly skilled and compassionate staff and has provided me with the time and space I so needed before stepping back into the reality of the outside world again. Walking through the doors you are greeted by a friendly smile, a good old cup of tea and let me say again, (as I am sure I must have mentioned in previous posts) that most precious and invaluable resource of all…TIME.
Before I go on I must talk about TIME again because for me, there is nothing more precious you could give to yourself or anyone else in order to make a difference. I may be digressing a little from my original blog posting for the day but it really is so important. Yesterday, listening to Radio 4 on our in, what seemed like a very long car journey, (I blame the small sprinkle of snow), I heard about yet another parenting programme. This one had been brought over from Australia, to support vulnerable families. I forget what name that was attributed to it, and I am not disputing its value but it got me thinking about the time and cost it took to train the therapists in this latest idea (which I can honestly say in my humble opinion, was nothing new.) Am I just getting old, but however you dress it up, whatever name you care to give to the latest therapy or idea the basic gift you are giving is TIME. If you are going into to a families home and spending quality time listening to their stories and working with them and their resources, it really isn’t rocket science to know you are going to make a difference. However, I do fear that maybe I have just become so unconsciously competent I am not seeing it? I am also not disputing the years of training and skills myself and the excellent therapists in my team have developed to help and empower our patients, but I do believe that if a family or person is ready and willing to move forward it is the time you spend with them that counts. Recently there has been a big change around with further investment into health visiting. Health visiting resources were reduced, and I won’t get into the politics of by whom or why, but it resulted in less time for these skilled professionals to spend time with new mums, and the consequences for those especially experiencing depression and anxiety, soon became clear, as child protection cases rose and children’s and adults mental ill health increased. Now there is a re- investment as someone who must be really smart has thought this is what was needed after all HUH, Is it just me? I must put in a plug here now for a similar investment into school nursing which I could talk for hours on!
How much time do you give to yourself, your family ,friends? Oh dear this isn’t meant to be a lecture and I can honestly say that I have been better at preaching than practicing this in the past, but being faced head on with a big life changing event pulls you up by your boot strings.
Take 15 mins of time tonight to jot down how you divided up your time today. How much time did you spend working, doing house chores, listening to your partner and family and how much time was purely spent on yourself. I can guess which comes out top. Of course most of have to work be able to afford all the luxuries that surround us and that we are convinced are most necessary in order to make our lives easier and more bearable to cope with, but at what cost to ourselves and the people we really care about and love? Ask any one in my amazing team, what is the number one criteria is for working in Step2 and if they don’t come up with the answer of, first of all making sure they are feeling mentally and emotionally healthy, and looking after themselves, then they don’t deserve to be there. How productive can you be if you are stressed out or anxious yourself, especially in a mental health service?
That reminds me, I did start to write a book which I must dig out and finish, I think I called it the Me Day concept or some other such catchy title, but it was all about permission and diary in time in for oneself. Maybe I had better get back to it?
It is amazing how powerful words are. We apply meaning and feelings to so many, and yet, often we forget that the true purpose of words is to remove the ambiguity of meaning. We get mired in what is expected of us, rather than what is right. We are more worried about how our actions are viewed, than whether the outcomes are right. We fear how others view us so we stand silent or chose conflicting courses of action.
The word ‘ selfish’ has been provided with such negative connotations. It’s seen as a tremendous character flaw. To be fair, part of that reputation is earned. We’ve all known people that are truly selfish , that step on others in order to pursue their own needs. They often know very little of caring, happiness, giving, and love. Yet it’s possible that, as a society, we’ve gone too far to the other side, promoting the idea that if we want to truly be good people, we need to be as selfless as possible. We see this with caregiving, volunteer work, and raising a family – many people dedicate their entire lives to others. But there’s a problem – complete selflessness has a cost – and that cost is often to our own health, happiness, and lives.
Having good mental health as an individual leads to good mental health as a society so let me take you back to the LAMBSS from a previous post which illustrates the importance of having our emotion and mental health needs meet in balance. I believe the same could With so much emphasis on helping others, be said for the balance between being selfish and selfless.
You should always remember that you deserve as much health and happiness as anyone else – possibly more. This is because…You Are a Person too, and with so much emphasis on helping others this can get lost with detrimental effects on the people around you that you love most and are so wanting to be there for. As much as you try to help others, the only person whose happiness you can fix with any certainty is your own. When it comes to your life, no one is more important than yourself but this last point is often forgotten. YOU are important, YOU matter. And you especially matter to you – the one person in this world that knows you best of all. It is for that reason that being a little bit selfish may be a good thing.
It’s time to be a little bit selfish. It’s time to care about your own health and happiness, even if it’s slightly at the expense of someone you care about. Your happiness needs to be important to you. But perhaps the greatest reason to be a little selfish is because it makes you a better person for others as well.
OMG this was going to be a short post about how you could possibly help me to help other cancer sufferers, and now look what I’ve done! I do hope you are still with me.
As I started saying yesterday I visited the Living Room, I was feeling a little anxious about my thinning hair and thought I would just explore a few options and before I knew it I had been whisked away by this lovely lady in front of a mirror and presented with an array of scarves, hats and wigs and I must admit I starting getting a tad excited (it doesn’t take much!). One of the very glamorous wigs, I tried on, would even give Heather a run for her money, who I think has simply gorgeous hair. ( you know who you are!) .
The wigs aren’t cheap although you do get a £64.0O prescription towards it from the NHS which isn’t bad. Also, by the time you have bought these special soft caps and an array of scarves I expect it soon adds up.
That got me thinking, I know we are all often looking for ways to help others but I don’t think it always needs to be about giving large sums of money, and, to be frank, in this day it is in short supply for most of us. So how about donating a scarf or hat? Ideally it would be new but if not I could easily wash and bag up. We could include a little inspirational note or kind message to brighten up someones day. I could hand them in to the Living Room for them to give freely away or sell them at a small charge with 100% of profits going towards the Macmillan Cancer Support charity, perhaps enabling more wonderful people to be employed to support others at their time of need.
What do you think, is it a goer? Perhaps you could get it started at your workplace and colleagues in your company could be encouraged to become involved?
I’ve also found some great knitting and crochet patterns for those so inclined to do so, in front of the latest episode of Coronation Street or Mr Selfridge, ( I am so loving that programme at the moment).
Get your thinking caps on and please let me know your thoughts.
Will I ever be short of subject matter for my blog…somehow I don’t think so.
Forever grateful knowing you are there.