Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Stress

It’s time to stop, check in with yourself, and notice how you’re responding to your environment and those around you. The truth is, none of us is immune to stress; it can creep up on us as we continue that relentless pursuit to pay our dues, being all things to all people while we neglect our own thoughts and feelings.

If you’re isolated or live alone, it’s even more important to be honest with yourself about how you are reacting to each twist and turn in your daily life, because, without witnesses, you can forget to deploy that OFF button and hurtle headlong into meltdown.

More and more people live alone, due to choice or circumstance, and one would hope that there are people around to support you, and who recognise when you’re taking on too much, or to be a voice of reason when you’ve been running on empty.

Be that friend to yourself, right now, and challenge those thoughts, which are, perhaps, telling you to carry on, regardless, when there is no dashboard to display the point at which you’re about to derail. We all have our limits: observe them, respect them, and respond with kindness.

Mindful moment at Malvern Spring Festival

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I’ve been pulled in all directions, lately, that it’s been difficult finding the time to be mindful, and truly present in the moment, but if ever a garden symbolises serenity and inspires self-care, this one does. The Spirit of the Woods, by Peter Dowle of Howle Hill Nursery, is more than a gold award-winning show garden; it’s an experience.

The moment you step onto that jetty, and look across the lake to the meditative mask, created by sculptor Simon Gudgeon, you disconnect from the baying crowds and reconnect with nature. Framed by the naturalistic planting, which blends seamlessly with the landscape beyond, it evokes empathy from the viewer as you become a reflection of the scene and intimately acquainted with it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to get up close and personal with this vision in the valley, such was the demand on its Designer, but it was so wonderful to witness its whispering waters, which spoke to so many, who may have needed it more than I did, from a young boy in his wheelchair, to many more who hugged its shores as I looked on from a distance. A sight to behold.