After we agreed to divorce, I spent time with coaches and counsellors talking and I talked a lot! It felt good to talk and to be listened to. The relief of having a safe, non-judgemental place to speak of my shoulder burdening worries and fears, helped me feel better. I realised too that it was not just me feeling the way I did... this was huge and is, on a simple level, it was just being human.
With this in mind I wanted to share with you 3 simple ways to remind us all how we can help make the biggest difference to those we care about and love today, this week or month...
1. Pick up a pen and write to someone, telling them how much you love them no matter how little time you spend with them. Let them know how much they mean to you and the gratitude you have for them being in your life.
I am so fortunate, my wonderful Mum always, always sends me newspaper clippings, a card she has found or a scribbled note, in her familiar, crazy, smile inducing handwriting with a quote she has seen and feels I would benefit from.
And without fail in amongst the faceless junk mail and formal letters, there is, the oh my goodness, the gift, the moment of joy I feel as I open postbox and find an envelope in there with handwritten script on - AND it's not my birthday.
Whether you are on your own, divorced, or not, the very fact that someone has taken care, time - and money, because stamps are not so cheap anymore, to put pen to paper and has given you time in their thoughts and efforts is loneliness salve. It shouts a big "someone cares" out and we feel the warmth of kindness.
So this month I have bought a book of stamps, inspiring cards and I am sending gorgeous people I care about a note telling them I love them, handwritten... simple. And it's not even Valentines yet!
2. Pick up the phone and have that intention to talk to someone... Take advantage of the free minutes you may get to speak to and check in with a person, who you know may just be having a hard time. These tough periods of time happen in all our lives and it won't be difficult to chose someone to put a call out to.
Talking to someone, giving them space to share how they are feeling, letting them compassionately and gently know you care about them and hearing them by acknowledging their problem can be so powerful.
Those going through separation, divorce or bereavement do not always have someone to talk to. Couples currently in a difficult relationships may have challenges finding a non-judgemental ear and for many lovely people there can be a gaping hole needing to be filled by caring lovely people close to listen to them. Pick up the phone, make that call and if they don't pick up, do LEAVE a gorgeous message - tell that person you love them.
3. And lastly, my top tip, is when we are feeling alone and sad, a little lost and overwhelmed in our lives it is so hard to make contact with others, even with our friends. It is worth remembering that we too can also reach out and ask for help. Having courage, being brave and feeling worthy of being heard is part of the process of picking up the phone or writing a note, this is how others know how we are feeling.
Even if we do not always think we are such good company in those darker moments and our inner joyous mojo is feeling less bright - make a list of those you can call, the friends, family and loved ones who do care and will listen to you talk, cry, grumble...
Everyone has tough times in their lives, SO reach out, smile, send love, write, speak, talk ... and the big fantastic happy bonus is... we feel better in ourselves too... winner!
Wishing you all a happy communicative week ahead.
Time to Talk is a campaign to encourage and support those suffering from depression, isolation and January blues to talk about their experiences and to give them a safe place to share how they are feeling. With 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health issues communicating has never been more important.