About asoothingresponse

I'm interested in emotional and physical wellbeing. Sometimes it's not easy to look after ourselves as well as we can if our emotions are leading the way. So this blog is about me trying to heal myself, as well as passing on information I discover along the way to others. I'd love to share information and comments are more than welcome. My aim is to build a blog which has resources for getting well and staying well !

Compassion is vital in the Workplace

Compassion is essential at work. Sadly even workplaces which are by nature supposed to be compassionate are often not, especially when scratched beneath the surface. 

The workplace can be a difficult area for many of us at times.  We usually work in teams, may have deadlines or targets, we may be placed within a hierarchy, change could be forced upon us, we may feel under-stimulated or over stretched, we may be observed and  judged, things may not be fair and equal and we don’t always feel in control. Phew!  You can see why we need to be resilient in this modern age.  Sadly we don’t always have huge reserves of resilience and may feel below par and not always handle such challenges well.

Problems at work can really knock people and there are huge costs involved – both the impact on people’s lives and financial consequences for society as a whole. People may suffer from stress (work) related illnesses and reactive depression.

It’s true that life can be  complicated and often problems outside of work can increase our difficulties within the workplace and everything can get a bit mixed up. People may be dealing with big issues such as grief, chronic loneliness or perhaps struggling in a relationship.  Lets face it;  life is life, we all face difficulties from time to time.  Employers need to understand this and cater for this with compassion, enabling employees to thrive rather than struggle.

Schemes such as the Mindful employer exist but often they fall short of protecting employees and don’t work.  We need more than tick boxes, we need a culture which supports people rather than punishes people.  We need ethical employers who act with kindness and understanding. We need real living, breathing compassion.  

Managing Mental Health in the Workplace from the Mental Health Foundation.

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BE COMPASSIONATE 

Some people seem inherently more compassionate (it is active) than others, however the good news we can learn about compassion and we can strengthen and develop our compassion muscle.

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Can a digital app turn my life around?

Why I’m using a digital Android application called Colornote to help me become more organised, less stressed and have more control.

 

Firstly it’s important to know that I am a huge procrastinator. I avoid and forget things. I often catastrophise when faced with something stressful. I can become absent minded and I wonder if this has become a trait of mine.  I have self-diagnosed myself, especially the younger me,  with Attention Deficit Disorder on numerous occasions.  Or at least when I type the symptoms in Google that’s one of the options!

I do know that leaving things to the last minute or missing opportunities isn’t helpful for me.   In the past I tried to write lists on bits of paper and  I even bought a special to do list pad from Wilko’s.  However it didn’t work for me although I know it works for many.  In my case the Wilko’s pad  gradually became submerged under newspapers, paperwork and unopened mail.  I found it six months later and noticed that I was only half way through a to do list.  I had no chance with a scrap of paper!

My organisation skills are one of the first things to slip if my mood becomes low or if I become overly anxious.  This decline in organisation and my ability to manage time effectively can lead to a negative spiraling of my mood.  

Hello digital !

Moving forward a few years and I’m in a slightly different state of mind and my Smartphone is now attached to me like an umbilical cord.  So hey ho, why not try again with digital?  I am trialing Colornote which is an Android App for note taking, to do lists and general organising.  It is free to use,  at least for the basics.

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The verdict

It feels like it’s working and I feel like I need it.  I’ve had a very productive day and I doubt that I would have written a blog post for a while without it, at least not yet.    I also feel very satisfied after I tick things off as I watch a little line appear through the task relegating it to the bottom of the list.

Managing the overwhelming feeling that comes with some of the tasks

Many of us have to manage our mental or emotional health.  We may be less robust in certain areas.   I have to guard against feeling overwhelmed with stress, at least I do presently.   The words to do list immediately send me into a Flight, Fright and Fight response, so I alternate my tasks and soften my approach.   I complete one stressful task and then move on to a comfortable buffer task, I see this as a recovery phase.   For instance a difficult phone call may be followed by ten minutes of guitar practice and even the washing up can feel therapeutic at times.  The app is aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.

It is early days but I’m really hoping that I stick with this app and that it helps to keep me on my toes.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has any  comments, maybe you feel the same way? Maybe you have some tips or questions?  An app you can recommend?  Maybe you feel the opposite ?

Please either leave a message on the blog, send us a tweet or a comment on Facebook. 

Many thanks XXX

Instrumental evening, Love Arts Festival, October 2012

As part of the Love Arts Festival, Instrumental hosted a great evening at Swarthmore Education Centre.  This quick film shows the highlights of the evening.

I interviewed Dave Lynch who represented High Royds Memorial Garden and Mike Jolly from Cloth Cat, a music charity in Leeds.  Dave talks about how music helped him express his feelings and Mike Jolly encourages people who are in receipt of means tested benefits to take a free course.

The artists involved were Lunar Calling, Georgette Hilton, Dave Lynch, The MoMo’s, Instrumentalists and Biscuit Heads & the Biscuit Badgers. They were each very different in style and the talent really was outstanding.

Instrumental promotes gigs in Leeds to raise awareness and money for mental health causes. The evening was a collaboration between Arts and Minds, Cloth Cat and High Royds Memorial Garden.

A very inspiring evening..

Thanks Vicky 🙂

Creativity and Madness – AL Kennedy, Love Arts Festival

Do you have to be mad to be creative?  Could too much creativity drive you to madness?

A L Kennedy is an Author and Comedienne. Recently she spoke about Creativity and Madness in a Radio 3 documentary. Tom Bailey of Arts and Minds listened to the piece and invited her to talk at Waterstones as part of the Love Arts Festival in Leeds.

The talk began by examining the supposed link between creativity and madness. Mozart and Van Gogh were hailed to be creative geniuses and it has been said that this creativity is connected to their madness.  Kennedy’s view however is that some people experience mental health problems and some people are very creative – but that the two are not inextricably linked. She wittily critiqued the school of thought that   ‘It’ll make you mad ‘  by comparing the risks of poetry writing with those of boxing.

A L Kennedy suggested that certain creative jobs may allow a person the freedom to be themselves. As a writer she doesn’t have to work with people and tone down her personality to fit within a culture. Could this be interpreted as madness?

She reminded us that these views were simply her opinion. In contrast Twitter re-directed me to two articles this week which suggested there is a link between creativity and mental health. One was a BBC Health News article – Creativity ‘closely entwined with mental illness,’ the other a blog on Creativity and Madness which talked about Bi-Polar disorder in particular and describes mania as driving intense bursts of creativity.

One thing I do know from my own experience is that spending prolonged periods alone isn’t good for my mental health.  I am writing this blog post in a coffee shop as spending too much time in my flat is something I have to avoid and does make me mad!

Check out the Love Arts Festival Programme online for further events in October. Also there is a listing for  Events at Waterstones Leeds.

Cheers Vicky J