Mood change

One of our intrepid community reporters frequently finds low mood limits her motivation to keep active,  or track down local news stories. Fortunately West Leeds Dispatch are good enough to regularly host a news café in her neck of the woods, LS13,

‘it’s a great opportunity to share local ‘happenings’ and spark ideas for possible blog ideas.’

she says.

In the following two video clips she relates how a ‘lollipop’ has broadened her horizons and helped raise her low moods.

 

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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.

23

 

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

Brunch break

Eggs and Johnny cakesBloggers are frequently invited to free events, no doubt the invitee might expect their event or venue, will merit a blog post.

I recently received an invitation to attend a free bloggers brunch, complete with Bloody Mary’s. A cynic might have concluded, “there is no such thing as a free brunch” and declined the offer…I did not!

The stated aim of the venue offering the brunch, was to test run the menu prior to the its launch date,  scheduled for a week hence. They were keen for those present to comment on the quality of the food, the menu’s proposed pricing and service. I’d considered they might expect a favourable blog review. Didn’t they know I wasn’t a food blogger?  I wondered how, as an amateur blogger, more used to writing about my ways of remaining well,  I’d pitch my piece.

What I’d particularly liked about the invitation was that it stated the event wasn’t primarily about networking. The brunch was advertised as an opportunity for we guests to have a leisurely Saturday breakfast, with friends or family. The manager, and another very attentive member of staff, only interrupted discreetly to ascertain our viewpoint.

Other food blogging events, I’ve attended,…..(I like food)

mi' old yorkshirehad networking and brands as a significant part of the interaction. (not quite my cup of tea). Most in attendance at those previous gatherings were more concerned with eeking out an existence from small indie businesses, rather than making mega bucks.

At times I’d been hesitant to attend, would I be the only un-glossy  person there?  Although PR, food criticism and photography might be considered glam jobs, and professionals do frequent these events, I found them a decidedly unstuffy bunch. Their passion for food, writing blogs and photography  was most in evidence.

Naturally enough discussions about mental health are not a feature of these events. It can be disquieting to step out of circles where discussions on lived experience of  mental distress are commonplace. When I do attend, I try to dispel any discomfort I feel by reflecting that of the 20 or so present, most will have experienced life events that are equally difficult. Additionally I keep in mind, 1 in 4 members of the population are affected by mental illness at some point in their life, thus making it highly probable some in attendance are similarly affected. Appearances can be so deceptive.

Eating nutritiously, having an absorbing hobby, and sharing ideas with others has and remains part of my journey on the wellbeing route. Eating nutritiously is perhaps the one I do least frequently or well. I love tasty food and shopping for ingredients, but carrying them often sees me too tired to cook them straight away. Other interests, an inadequate kitchen space are all other excuses I make! Fortunately I know some quick fix recipes and some of Leeds cheap, quality back street eateries.

My companion and I were first to arrive for the brunch, a few blogging/foodie, cultural types sauntered in a bit later. I thought perhaps a nod of recognition would suffice, however many seemed more honed on the Bloody Mary’s, or Bloody Shames!.(all juice, no booze),  Pleasantries were reserved for the farewells, perhaps it was the post brunch, soulful, bluesy live guitar music, or the affect of the Bloody Mary’s, but people did seem more convivial by then. More used to seeing some with their other hats on, it was nice to find out a bit more about them while in leisure mode.

I felt a level of obligation to write a blog about.Soul Kitchen, my friend and I both enjoyed the Johnny cakes with eggs that we had chosen, however writer’s block had me seriously in it’s grip. Other writing and reading goals had me challenged, but I recalled the comments of a professional writer who’d said they were dubious about people who say that writing is their passion. He quipped they couldn’t be doing it right, which implied he too found writing, his chosen profession, hard. These comments helped me to stick with my attempts to transfer the ideas which swirl in my mind, in to typeface or on to paper.

In summary eating from the Deep Southern, Carribean, Creole influenced menu was no hardship, it was a very pleasant experience. I’ve since returned, the quality and taste was just as good. The pricing might mean it will be an occasional treat. Those watching pennies and calories, might choose the Fruit Loops. The venue, Soul Kitchen is situated in the airy space of the The Wardrobe bar, (opposite the bus station), an aptly named place to slip into something casual….perhaps not your pjs.

Soul Kitchen also serve evening meals.

Su

Wellbeing Web at Tropical World, Roundhay Park

A number of our blogging reporters met recently for an afternoon outing. We were intent on visiting Tropical World at Roundhay Park. We hadn’t met for a while, so it was pleasant to first catch up over lunch at the local hostelry. We sat outside in its sun drenched courtyard, where we sampled the victuals and beverages.

We had heard there were new residents at Tropical World, five giant leopard tortoise, which are the largest  of the species in the world. One of our members imagining they might be huge, was disappointed with their size and behavior, but  concluded they must be teenagers. They were bigger than your average pet tortoise, but they weren’t gi-normous,  they were more…..a-morous! Being discreet we did not linger at that section, and therefore have none of our own photographs of them. A return visit for a photograph, might see them grown not only in size, but also in number!

Here are some really excellent photographs of inside the tropical house. These were taken with a bloggie ‘snap’ camera/camcorder by one of our intrepid reporters, (a white hat is a clue to the person’s identity),

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sUE GETTING AWAY

and here are some more photographs, taken with a smart phone, by the blogger ‘that got away’

orchidscooling streams

It was the orchids and hibiscus that added a showy splash of  colour.The jungle room is predominantly, shades of green; the desert room sand coloured and the tropical ponds mysteriously dark, making it hard to spot the wildlife. Camouflage of course is the key to a longer life for wildlife in their natural habitat. Although the butterflies were strikingly patterned and coloured they too were hard to spot against  their background, At Tropical World their friendliness might be accounted for, by the fact we humans look like tasty morsels. We rumbled a rather rare creature which appeared suddenly. not well camouflaged, and normally camera shy.  Our intrepid  reporter managed to take that all essential shot for posterity, as he did of this other strange but fascinating creature.

 

All members present used their device of choice to take photographs, and we look forward to seeing their contributions later.

Needless to say the tropical temperatures had us all a bit hot under the collar, and elsewhere. Even the trickling streams and water fall did little to cool us down, NO we did not get in any of them.  We were however revived by a cuppa in the nearby tea room.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and said they’d like to do it again. We shared ideas of projects and events of interest, that might help us develop our photography, writing and filming skills. It’s good to reflect that social meetups for wellbeing, can be both pleasurable and creative.

S.M.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Leeds GATE

Having a sense of achievement for the things we accomplish, is vital for good health.This month has been an opportunity for the Gypsy and Traveller community to do just that. June is the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

The Gypsy and Traveller community have many valuable achievements to be proud of, and LeedsGATE is a local  project that works towards ensuring that positive profile is upheld.

LeedsGATE also actively promote good health for its members. It is well accepted that good health is a balance of emotional and physical wellbeing. The following old gypsy proverb, additionally names other valuable tenets of good health,

Rollin down the road

 

good health, aside freedom and love’.

This old proverb sounds like a salutation, or blessing. It reminded me of the expression ‘Peace’, adopted in the sixties  when wishing others well. Continue reading

Leeds Mind Peer Support Conference 6th June #peer14

The fantastic Peer Support team at Leeds Mind are presenting a free Peer Support Conference on Friday 6th June. Could your organisation benefit from using Peer Support ? Do you want to network with other organisations involved in Peer Support?

– tickets are free but need to be booked here via Eventbrite.  There are limited spaces so do book quickly!

The twitter hashtag for the event is #peer14

 

peer support flyer web

Learn about travel writing

how become travel writer

On Sunday, 1st June, the University of Leeds School of English is organising ‘How to Become a Travel Writer’, a one-day, practice-based workshop for anyone interested in learning the business and craft of travel writing.

Held from 9am to 5pm, the information-packed day will include masterclasses, lectures and roundtables with editors, publishers, writers and PR representatives from Lonely Planet Magazine, Bradt Publishers, Polarworld Publishing and Inntravel, among others.

Some of the topics that will be covered over the course of the day include: how to pitch travel articles to magazines, newspapers and travel blogs; how to pen narrative non-fiction out of travel experiences; how to effectively liaise with PRs and tourist boards; and how to negotiate the rapidly changing landscape of media and journalism. The day will offer a solid primer on how the travel writing industry works today, and will offer a step-by-step process for how to start getting published as a travel writer.

The workshop fee of £80 (£50 concession for students) includes all lectures, course materials and refreshments. Specific schedule information about the event can be found here

.Readers can also book online directly

Please note that a limited number of spaces are available.

For any specific questions about the workshop or schedule, please email r.norum@leeds.ac.uk.