Hi everyone, and welcome back to Inside Isorropia – The Blog.
I have been enjoying all the little pops of colour that have appeared in and around MVC over the past few weeks. Spring flowers are such a blessing; there is nothing quite like bright yellow daffodils to spark joy and optimism after a long, grey winter. I adore hyacinths, too, as they smell absolutely divine, so I was more than happy to venture onto a rather soggy lawn to catch a photo of this pretty pink one.
It is difficult to resist snapping pictures here at Medina, especially on a sunny day; at every turn, there’s something that seems picture-postcard-worthy! What things do you most like to take photographs of? Do you find yourself using your phone to capture images when you’re out and about or do you prefer your time in nature to be device-free?
Celebrating successes, no matter how small they may seem, is a pivotal part of wellbeing. This is a message we continually share with our members and why, as a team with lived experience, we make a special effort to role model this. We know many find receiving compliments or celebrating themselves deeply uncomfortable. This is often due to negative core beliefs that have developed throughout a person’s life. On the Wellbeing Programme there are workshops available which challenge negative beliefs, including ‘Inner Critic’, ‘Mastering Anxiety’ and on The Gift Foundation Course. We also provide opportunities within ‘Wellbeing Planning’ and ‘Gift Follow-Up’ sessions to share member successes and celebrate them within a safe, familiar environment. This is a gentle way to facilitate a change in established, unhealthy thought processes and a development of ease around self-love and the acceptance of praise.
March was jam-packed with activities at MVC, each providing a perfect opportunity to welcome new people and organisations to Isorropia. The first Isorropia Bake Off competition took place at the Easter Wellbeing Fayre with member, Kez, being awarded first prize for her Sugar-Free Cheesecake and Saffron taking second place with an Easter Carrot Cake. Many congratulations to both, and a huge thank you to all the other entrants who provided delicious baked refreshments for the event attendees.
The fun didn’t stop here on site, either. Out in the Island community, the Vectis Radio awards were held, and it was wonderful to see our Community Engagement Lead, Tasha West, being so well supported by friends and family as she was celebrated for her valuable contributions to our Community Umbrella and our monthly newsletter ‘The Navigator’. Congratulations, Tasha, you are amazing! It has also been a very successful month for our wellbeing coaches, with Laura passing her Corporate Wellbeing Coach course with a Distinction and Molly getting a personal best, despite injury, in the Southampton Half Marathon (whoop. whoop!!)
Last but not least, we had our first Team Wellbeing Day of 2023 at the end of March. There was a team-building challenge in which we were tasked with creating something to ensure the safe passage of an egg when dropped from the top of a ladder to the floor! With minimal equipment, including paper straws and string, three teams planned, made, and tested designs with a strict limit of only two eggs per team. A great deal of fun was had by all, and I’m thrilled to report that I was on the winning team along with wellbeing coach Laura Crew, Supporter Relations Lead Tom Ferguson, Volunteer Co-ordinator & Community Manager Vicky Shaw-Yates and our aforementioned volunteer Tasha West. Our prize, first choice from a selection of mini chocolate eggs, yum! Obviously, we opted for the Cadbury’s classic (do any other mini eggs actually need to exist?) Our approach to the task was a combination of a (not-so) snug-fitting paper straw basket, paper straw snippings to pad out the excess space, Sellotape padding, an additional paper straw as an outer buffer, followed by excessive quantities of scrunched-up tape to create a large ball effect. It was finished off with a decorative smiley face. And why not?? 😊 See below for a few photos of the team having a blast. If you’ve ever taken part in any team building exercises/lateral thinking tasks that you think we could attempt to try, pop your ideas in the comments, and we could well be doing it on one of our upcoming Wellbeing Days.
Whilst there is a great deal to be said for teamwork and pulling together, Isorropia places a big focus on Empowerment and encouraging our members to take hold of their own lives and their own futures. As such, I’d like to share some more details about how we do this for our members in a way that ensures they still feel safe and held.
Throughout our Wellbeing Programme members will be reminded that they themselves have the power and, oftentimes, the answers needed to move themselves forwards and out of any difficulties they may be experiencing. The workshop content aims to raise people’s self-awareness, and it is this which allows for personal growth to begin to take place. The psychologist Nathaniel Branden suggests that positive change can happen when a person first develops awareness and then masters acceptance (linkedin.com – ‘Self-awareness is the first step towards personal growth’ 27/05/2021). At Isorropia, we often refer members back to our 3rd Key to Wellbeing ‘Embrace Acceptance and Letting Go’, acknowledging the importance of these wellbeing/life skills.
Wright State University highlights that by learning and knowing as much as possible about ourselves, we can gain a better sense of who we are and create a vision of who we would like to be. This then allows for plans to be put in place for a person to work towards reaching those ideals. We like to call this goal setting, and it is something our members do an awful lot of throughout their Isorropia experience. Even when they are thriving under our community umbrella, the opportunities remain for them to attend Wellbeing Planning sessions, Gift Refresh courses and, for our volunteers, the invitation to attend training sessions, reflective practice, supervisions and team wellbeing days. This all contributes to that ever-growing knowledge of self that is so important to develop and maintain for ongoing wellness.
We emphasise throughout everything we do here at Isorropia the importance of social connection, and this is most often explored via Key 2 – Develop a Healthy and Balanced Lifestyle and Key 5 – Connect to Meaning and Purpose in Life. This is something I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, so check back if you are interested in reading a bit more about our awesome community.
There is much to be said for the personal benefits of being a positive, supportive influence on others – another huge factor in why our members experience so much personal growth during their time with us. As part of our volunteering programme, we encourage those graduates who thrive around this concept to consider becoming mentors for future members.
“Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.”‘All About Love’, Bell Hooks
This quote from American author Bell Hooks was shared on Instagram by @selfcareisforeveryone to mark Black History Month, and I feel it encapsulates all that we could ever hope to achieve with and for our members here at Isorropia. The quote was accompanied by the caption:
“We are all in need of a caring community that truly sees us on our respective self-care journeys, in order to heal.”
This is backed up further by ‘The School of Life London’ who claim that:
“There can be nothing better than discussing things within a warm and sympathetic group of people who know all about troubles, who don’t judge and with whom we can feel less alone.”
I hope that this ‘caring community’ and ‘warm group’ described above is exactly what our members experience when they come to us, often from a place of isolation, so that they may feel assured enough to take those difficult first steps on an unknown path and continue on towards transformation, wellness and fulfilment. This is not to take anything away from the remarkable work our members do for themselves. Empowerment is huge for us as an organisation, and as wellbeing coaches, we are here to help facilitate change. Our members know that they are required to do the work – take the steps and put the ideas into action in their lives – we simply plant the seeds. They have to find the courage and confidence to proceed, and more often than not, they absolutely do!
“Your purpose is not the thing you do. It is the thing that happens in others when you do what you do.”@drcarolineleaf
One of the most rewarding parts of the work we do at Isorropia Foundation centres around the person we see at the end of the Wellbeing Programme, at the point of Graduation. This is when we get a clearer insight into the changes that have occurred for our members, from their own personal perspective and expressed in that member’s own words. We, of course, will have seen this transformation happening over a period of time, but it is a powerful moment for both members and coaches to have that opportunity to reflect back on the whole experience and to acknowledge just how far a person has travelled on their wellness journey. Often there are significant improvements in areas including health, mood, emotional stability, connection and stress. Some members may have reduced their medication, increased their working hours, or signed up for further education. Many members have described the steps they have taken towards recovery here at Isorropia as life-changing.
This is what it is all about! Check out this amazing feedback from one of our recent graduates:
“The skills knowledge and self-awareness I have learnt has truly been somewhat life-changing. Everyone I have met on this journey has been inspiring brave and resilient, and passionate to educate and encourage others to become vulnerable and their true self with no judgement. The Island is a brighter place thanks to Isorropia. I can not wait to see you continue to grow, inspire and create hope for many others on their journey to wellness. Thank you so much for helping me to become me again.”Feedback from an Isorropia Member
This is why we are here, and it is this that drives us forward… to continue making a difference in the lives of those who need it most and who are brave enough to take that initial first step, willing to give our ‘unique’ model for wellness a try. If you’re interested in finding out more about Isorropia Foundation, please do get in touch.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”
Last, but not least, I’ve been thinking about the question I posed last time around…’What brings you joy?’ Given the time of year, you might want to think of it this way… ’what puts a Spring in your step?’ (humour me, please!)
It has come to light over the past couple of weeks that our team and coaches have quite a range of different activities that they love to do for leisure and self-care. I know I have a pretty long list to pick from when I get the opportunity to unwind and do something for myself. It actually makes it really hard to choose! Sadly, this can lead to procrastination, and (I’m hoping I’m not the only one struggling with this) time often ends up wasted on scrolling through social media. So it has been lovely for me to see the things my colleagues have been doing in their downtime. Check out these photos of the following activities and lovely Isorropia members. Have a think about who might be behind these wonderfully calming, inspiring images. Can you work out which activity belongs to who?
(Names at the bottom of the post if you need some help).*
As always, it would be lovely to hear what it is you do to reset and bring your life back into balance. Why not give some of these activities a try? If you don’t find it easy to prioritise yourself, or like me, struggle to make the best use of your self-care time, maybe book yourself in for a Wellbeing Planning workshop or have a chat with one of our coaches about the activities we have going on in the community right now. *Quick Plug* We are delighted (and incredibly lucky) to be offering our members their very own Fishing Group (exclusively for Isorropia graduate members). This will be starting in May, courtesy of Black Rock Fishing Charters and made possible due to a Sport England grant which aims to support people to be engaged and active – so there is no excuse if you’re feeling curious or inspired to give fishing a try! If you’re an Isorropia graduate member, contact the team on 01983 217791 to find out more details. Non-members can contact Black Rock directly to find out more about the services they offer to the public, visit their website HERE.
Have a lovely few weeks everyone and make the most of the sun when it shines; it really is so good for you 😊
Until next time,