Welcome back to Inside Isorropia. It’s been a glorious start to September thank goodness. I think we all feel so much happier when we are able to get outside and feel the warmth on our skin. It was somewhat unexpected, although I had mentioned in my previous post that an Indian summer would be nice. Did you know that strictly speaking, an Indian summer is actually only classed as such if it occurs after the first frost? So, it turns out, it was just a short spell of unseasonably warm weather!! Nevertheless, it went some way towards making up for August which, generally speaking, was on the disappointing side for many.
September marks the anniversary of our first visit to the Medina Valley Centre. It seems impossible to believe that a whole year has passed since then. There have been lots of changes along the way but things have fallen nicely into place in recent weeks, with our members now able to access all workshops on the Wellbeing Programme here at MVC, travelling on our very own Isorropia Foundation Minibus! This is making such a huge difference to our member experience and also for the workshop facilitators who now spend less time travelling. By far and away the biggest benefit to this way of working is that our members get to enjoy and experience the beautiful surroundings and the peaceful ambience of our riverside setting. We are getting lots of very positive feedback on both the bus service and the new workshop setting.
You may have seen on our social media in recent weeks that we have been spreading awareness of Grief and Suicide Prevention. This was to coincide with the awareness days that are marked nationally and globally. Grief is a topic that is covered in our Foundation Course – The Gift. It also crops up within our workshop sessions from time to time, depending on the topic and what members are bringing with them on the day, in terms of current situations & circumstances, personal history, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Our Wellbeing Coaches are trained to be able to manage the workshops and whatever may come up during those sessions. Sadly, grief is a topic that will affect all of us at some point, and many of our members and the Isorropia team will have some personal experience of this already. Our team of coaches all have lived experience of mental health and often speak from those experiences when delivering a workshop or supporting a member on the Duty line. They do a wonderful job of listening, validating and empowering people, whatever they are going through. I was touched to read a piece of writing from our Wellbeing Coach Hannah, as we marked National Grief Awareness Day back at the end of August, as well as a lovely poem from Wellbeing Coach, Marie. It is my pleasure to share these with you here:
“Grief is something all of us go through at some point in our lives and something that isn’t talked about enough. Whether that’s the loss of a family member, friend, loved one or even a pet.”Grief is something all of us go through at some point in our lives and something that isn’t talked about enough. Whether that’s the loss of a family member, friend, loved one or even a pet.
Throughout my life I have experienced grief in many different forms, relationships ending, loss of friendships, family breakdowns, losing my pets and death.
Before I came to work at Isorropia I worked in end of life care for many years and death and grief was something I dealt with daily and seeing the impact it has on people’s loved ones.
For me personally, I lost my Grandpa, my best friend when I was 10 years old, He was 83. I remember someone once telling me grief is a cycle and you come out the other side. This is something I’ve come to realise isn’t necessarily true. For me that grief will always be with me but it’s how I’ve learnt to live with that grief is what is important.
Grief isn’t a linear process, it’s messy, it takes time and it’s hard. It leaves you feeling lost, lonely, isolated and angry. This is absolutely valid. For me I go through that grief cycle regularly. There are some days where the pain is as if Grandpa had died yesterday and there are other days that it’s just a little niggle in the back of my head. One important thing I have learnt through out my journey with grief is that grief, although it is one of the hardest things, is also a blessing. Grief for me, shows how much I loved Grandpa, how much he loved me, the incredible impact he had on my life and how truly lucky I am to have had him. For me, this has really helped me to move forward while living with grief and realise while it never leaves me, my life is a whole heap richer for Grandpa and my life can still progress in a wonderful way.
One final thing I’ve found helps is to talk about Grandpa. Whether that be with Mum, Grandma or even to people who never knew him. This makes me feel like he’s still with me and keeps his memory alive even longer. Talk about the memories, the good ones and the bad ones, talk about how you are feeling or the stage of the grief journey you’re on. Talking about it is so powerful.
Grandpa had cancer and was nursed by the truly phenomenal team at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. Other family and friends have also been supported by their services. This is a place that I will always be eternally grateful for and in April next year I will be doing a wing walk to raise money for them to continue their work and in memory of my Grandpa.”Hannah (Wellbeing Coach)
Grief never ends.
It is a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a weakness, nor a lack of faith.
It is the price of love.– Author Anonymous –
Shared by Marie (Wellbeing Coach)
If you would like to chat with our team about how the Wellbeing Programme might be helpful to you if you are an Island resident and currently processing grief or going through a bereavement, then do call: (01983) 217791 or take a look at our Instagram and Facebook pages for more information.
We were all delighted to receive feedback from one of our Graduate members last year, who turned to Isorropia for support following her husband’s suicide. It was an honour and a pleasure to be able to make a difference for this lady at such a tragic time in her life. Thanks to her own commitment to the Wellbeing Programme and her own wellness, Louise was able to find a new sense of purpose in her life, and here she describes all the ways in which Isorropia helped her and how we have the potential to help you too:
Isorropia saved my life after I lost Pete. They taught me so much and through their support and guidance I was able to start to live again. This encompassed many things on the way. The constant support, encouragement, and educational tools they provided, helped me to learn to live my best life after what happened.
The team are amazing, each one with different lived experience, who are not only able to understand what you may be going through but are also able to provide you with coping mechanisms and strategies to support along the way.
Some of the most important things I learnt through my experience with Isorropia was:
- I was not to blame for my husband’s suicide
- To accept that there are things I have no control over
- That I do have self-worth, and my life has meaning and purpose
- I was not responsible for what Pete did, but I am responsible for living my life
If you or anyone you know has experienced loss by suicide, Louise has set up a closed group on Facebook which you can join by searching ‘Survivors of Suicide IOW’ on Facebook and requesting to join. You can also watch the Facebook Live that Louise did with Deputy Lead Natalie Streets by following this link: CLICK HERE.
As you may recall, in July I shared some information about the colour Yellow, what a Yellow personality means and what that might look like. This time I’m shining the light on Blue.
Blues are deep thinkers, analytical in nature, very detail focused and formal in their thinking. They can come across as being aloof, but are deliberate in their approach and systematic, precise and pays attention to detail. Blues like things in their place, and are very organised with good time management skills. They are sticklers for time and are capable of coming to their own conclusions without having examples of others pushed at them. They take their time in their thinking and are much slower paced than the reds or yellows. Blues can come across as perfectionists due to their logical, systematic, precise and deliberate approach to problems or solutions. Blues like to have all the facts, and then logically put together an answer that is suitable. They don’t like vagueness, a lack of detail or an absence of facts or figures.
While taking their time and being thorough is important, sometimes we’re working to tight deadlines and a fast turn around is necessary. In these instances, explain to blues the time frame and the importance of finishing a project. Be sure to offer support and explain the importance of prioritising and delegating tasks. This way they won’t feel immense pressure and worry about burnout, but will understand that they need to pick up the pace – and will have help to do so, if necessary!glurecruit.co.uk
Colours in the Isorropia Foundation Team
Blue was the colour that myself and Deputy Lead, Charlie Stevens, came out as being, having done the online personality test, along with our Tom and June in Admin, who are also Blue. This is what they had to say about how they identify with being a Blue personality:
Tom – “I’m Blue!
In fact, I’m so Blue that there are sapphires, birds over the White Cliffs of Dover, and the Danube that are less Blue than me! This has its pros and cons. I am great at detail, analysis, and planning.
But ask me to be spontaneous and experimental and … I’ll get back to you next week with something tried and tested. I relate to the Blue personality type with its idealism of wanting a better world. This comes from our instinctive empathic nature. We have so much heart for fairness, peace and integrity. We firmly believe in honesty, but that can make us a bit blunt and seem too direct at times.
We can be really determined and focused when we (finally!) decide on our course of action. The downside is that can lead to inflexibility and an inability to adapt. Ask a Blue to just “wing it on the night” and watch our brains melt before you in utter confusion. Since we’re driven largely by emotional factors – like doing what’s right, compassionate and just – we can slip into being overly sensitive. We don’t always show it on the surface, but we really feel things deeply. So, if the emotions get overwhelming, we aren’t at our best in terms of our performance. I guess what we Blues need most is to feel understood, valued, appreciated and accepted. Which, although that’s also true of most people generally, I just need to remember to be grateful that at Isorropia, I get those needs met every day.”
June – “I was a blue!
I was practical and focused and not a lot of creative vision but enjoy the fruition of others with this gift.”
Charlie S – “Blue, through and through!
Attention to detail, methodical and logical, processed, precise, calm, cautious and considered… some would describe as faffing, some might say slow!”
Lucy (Yours truly!) – “100% Blue on the test!
I also had a second colour that was a strong 70%. I would say there are a whole lot of blue traits running through me and my way of working; being so cautious and considered does tend to hamper my speed at times, but I have high standards around the finer details (which I see as a positive). Interestingly, I also feel very connected to the secondary colour in my results. Stay tuned to upcoming posts to find out what it is.”
Benefits of Blue in Nature
I’m sure you have all been making the most of the good weather and getting outside, hopefully in nature, but wherever you can really, to get the fresh air and goodness from being outdoors. I recently read about ‘Blue Mind Theory’ whilst scrolling through Instagram and wondered have you heard of it too? I follow a lovely account called Nature’s Wild Medicine (@natureswildmedicine) and one particular post grabbed my attention. It was this photo that initially caught my eye (see above) as with many of the posts on their page, but the caption was so interesting. According to the writer, the benefits of getting out near a body of water are huge, both for mental and physical health. This idea is based on Dr. Wallace Nicholas’s theory which suggests being on, around or in water can get you into a ‘Blue Mind’ state. This is described as being ‘mildly meditative, characterised by peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment’. Have you ever noticed that you feel better in any way if you are walking along the beach, sat by a lake, or taking a dip in the pool? I know for certain that this is one of the safest bets for me if I’m needing to get my mood back up or if I’m feeling a bit ‘out of sorts’. I never really knew why, but now I do! This kind of stress relief and relaxation is literally on our doorstep here on the Isle of Wight, and, unless you swim in a public pool, accessing this is completely free! Let me know in the comments where your favourite blue water place is and what you most like to do there. Charlie happily shared that his favourite place to be is Croatia, 2 metres below the Mediterranean! He goes on to say:
“Quite specific, but I love the tranquillity of diving into the sea and having absolutely nothing to disturb you. Serene, calm, just you and the ocean, bloomin’ love it!”Charlie Stevens
I can strongly recommend making use of the Waterside Pool in Ryde. They have recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary and I was interested to read that it started out as an open-air lido with three separate pools. It made me think how lovely that would be on the long, hot, dry days of summer and took me back to memories of my childhood when we would go as a family to @hilsealido back when I lived on the mainland. It has been well-documented how hard it is for these facilities to stay open, and communities and councils have to work tirelessly to ensure that they survive (check out: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-65056493.amp for more information about the challenges faced across the Solent in Portsmouth) Hilsea Lido is set to reopen in 2025 to mark their 90th anniversary. And what a celebration that will be!
I’m actually very happy indeed that our pool @rydewatersidepool now has a brick building and the novelty of an opening roof. It means we can enjoy the facility year-round with the best of both worlds – an open roof when the sun is shining and the weather is warm and the option to still swim in the cooler months regardless of the weather. Surely, that is a very wonderful thing for our Island-dwellers; how lucky we are! You can read more about the pool and the anniversary by clicking HERE.
There is further good news for fans of outdoor swimming, in the form of exciting plans for a sea pool at Sandown, including a science centre and facilities to carry out daily water testing; a fantastic idea, given the ongoing concerns around sea pollution. Click HERE to find out more details and, Island residents, be sure to join in the consultation by completing this survey http://swimthewight.org.uk/seapool (deadline is the end of September)
This brings me to the end of September’s edition. I hope you have enjoyed reading along. If you would like to find out your colour personality, click HERE for the free online test that we used.
If you have any comments about any of the topics covered please feel free to share. If you would like to find out more about Isorropia Foundation, either for yourself or someone you know who could benefit from our Wellbeing Programme, then give our Wellbeing Coaches a call on 01983 217791. We currently have no waiting list, so the help you need is literally a phone call away.
Enjoy this weather everyone, and make the most of the warmth and the sunshine while we still can (I know I will be!) Until next time,
Well, hello again, and a very happy Pride month to you all. Hasn’t this month just been glorious!? I know us Brits are renowned for talking about the weather and (more often than not) complaining that it’s never quite right, but I’ve actually found these past four weeks to be the weather of my dreams. I love the sun and especially like being able to sit out in it, at home or on the beach and not feel chilly when catching the breeze. I do like a breeze, especially when it is dry heat like this, but I am also ridiculously quick to feel the cold, so this has been perfect conditions for me… warm in the shade, just like being abroad! How have you been finding this heat? Have you managed to get yourself a fan to help you survive the inevitable heatwaves? And are you a fan-off or fan-on for sleep kind of person? I know that keeping cool and getting a good night’s sleep can be really tricky, so do take a look at www.goodto.com for some tips and tricks to try if you’re struggling.
Just a brief update on my role for anyone currently going through the Programme. I’ve recently taken a step back from the Wellbeing Coach role to focus on more creative pursuits at home and to spend more time with my family. I am, however, continuing to write blog posts for Inside Isorropia and will be helping the Media team create posts to go out across the social media platforms. I will also occasionally be supporting the team in workshops throughout the busy summer holiday period and any other times when cover is required. I look forward to reconnecting with some of you face-to-face really soon.
It has been busy, busy on the Wellbeing Programme this month with lots of workshops happening and members graduating following The Gift. Many of our Wellbeing Coaches have been undertaking training in the delivery of The Gift Foundation Course. I always think it’s so interesting how different coaches deliver things in their own special way, bringing a unique touch of personality mixed with appropriate elements of lived experience. This is what we feel works so well at Isorropia Foundation when we work with our members; we are able to offer educational content around wellbeing alongside the rawer, more personal stuff, which helps to foster a great sense of trust and empathy between the members and our team.
Here’s a thought for our Graduate Members – What key parts of your Gift experience stand out in your memory now, and how do you feel your facilitators contributed to any takeaway messages you carry with you still today? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments…
National Volunteers Week
As is the case every year, the 1st-7th of June was National Volunteers’ Week.
This was the perfect time for us to shine a light on the vast benefits of becoming a volunteer, the diverse range of opportunities out there for people wanting to offer their time to volunteering, and is also a time for organisations to pay tribute to and offer thanks to their loyal volunteers. It is something that I first became aware of when I was training to be a volunteer with Homestart back in 2018 (find out more about my own volunteering journey in an upcoming post on charities).
We are so thankful to all our existing volunteers and new mentors who are such a valued part of the Isorropia team. Due to some organisational changes, this Volunteer’s Week has fallen during a time of transition for our volunteers. We acknowledge the strength and resilience they have shown throughout their time with us so far and look forward to seeing them continue to grow and thrive.
Volunteering offers a fantastic platform for personal growth and positive change; this holds true regardless of how many hours you give or what skills and attributes you offer. Each and every volunteer has something special to bring, and we are so lucky to benefit from ours.
If you are considering taking up volunteering with us in the future, then you will be happy to hear about some very exciting new opportunities coming up soon. Keep an eye on our social media platforms for further details on this, and Isorropia members will also be kept updated via our monthly newsletter, ‘The Navigator’. Please do take a look back at May’s blog post for local Island opportunities for volunteering if you’re eager to get started right away. There you will find a link to the wonderful ‘Isle of Wight Volunteer Centre’ website. So many great opportunities; check it now, as I wouldn’t want you to miss out!
Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering has so many benefits, but the resounding thing we have found within the team here is that it was through volunteering that we were able to get back into employment following periods of ill health. Having mentioned to the team about the significance of Volunteers’ Week and wanting to mark it in some way, I was delighted to be able to share with you some of the stories of how volunteering has helped us to get to where we are today both professionally and in terms of our own feeling of wellness.
The Isorropia Team’s Volunteering Stories
Becky – Wellbeing Coach
Becky volunteered within NHS Secondary Care, having spent a period of time as a service user. Becky was initially invited to sit on interview panels, sharing her thoughts on potential new staff members from the valuable point of view of a service user. Following this, Becky began co-facilitating group sessions alongside a mental health nurse. Both opportunities helped Becky’s self-esteem to grow and her mental health to improve.
Ultimately, Becky successfully gained employment within the NHS, having been out of work for many years. Volunteering had left her feeling able to push herself out of her comfort zone in an environment where she felt valued, safe and supported:
“I hadn’t worked for years so was incredibly nervous. The staff and manager were so kind and were really keen to hear my feedback on the interviewees. I felt really included and part of a team for the first time in years. I felt my self-esteem grow where there had been none for a long time. I enjoyed it so much. 6 months of volunteering gave me the confidence I needed to get back into work. Volunteering saved my life I’m sure of that, it’s one of the best and most scary decisions I’ve ever made and I’m so glad that I did!”Becky Grice-McGrath
Tom – Supporter Relations Lead
Tom credits volunteering as a major part of his personal recovery journey. Like Becky, Tom also volunteered within the NHS initially, following a 4-year period as a service user. Tom began by offering his time: 2-3 hours, a couple of times a week, before taking on the role of Volunteer Service User Representative. Through this role he met Isorropia Foundation’s CEO Vicki Haworth and was subsequently invited to join Isorropia as a volunteer.
“I wasn’t sure I was up to the role (self-confidence and self-esteem still at the ‘work in progress’ stage!) but I came to see what Isorropia did and meet the team. I knew I wanted to get involved somehow. It felt special and in tune with my own values around wellbeing. Volunteering led to me getting the brilliant job I have now. I no longer require medication; and my life is full of family, friends, hobbies and soul-nourishing wellbeing.
Volunteering was one of the essential stepping stones to overall wellbeing. Without it, I wouldn’t have become the whole, healthy, happy person I am today. At the time I saw it as giving my time and skills for the benefit of others – which it was – but I also gained massively from the experience on a personal level too. As the expression goes: ‘it is in the giving that we receive’.”Tom Ferguson
Charlie – Deputy Lead
After two bouts in recovery from drug misuse, Charlie began volunteering for Isorropia Foundation, which eventually led to employment as a Wellbeing Coach, gradually moving upwards into his current role as joint Deputy Lead, working alongside Natalie Streets.
“Volunteering for Isorropia allowed for me to build my confidence around full-time work at my own pace, and it’s only thanks to this opportunity that I eventually got given the opportunity to join as a member of our wonderful team.”Charlie Stevens
June – Administration Lead
June currently volunteers for Beavers when her son attends, usually supporting on walks. In September, June hopes to transition with her son up to Cubs and continue offering her time and energy for this brilliant cause. Previously, June volunteered in her local community, at Sunday School and Church Choir for a few years when her daughter was involved. June arranged drinks and biscuits for everyone, which I am sure was always hugely appreciated!
“I wasn’t unwell, yet I had gone through a tough time with my ex-partner and the comradery of this volunteering and having a purpose to do good (as my job was a nightmare at the time!) was really felt to give me good vibes and made me feel I was worth something again.”June Kinnair
Lisa – 16-25 Transition Co-ordinator
Lisa volunteered for the Richmond Fellowship as a support worker until this organisation underwent operational changes, re-opening as Safe Haven. Lisa played a big part in helping to design the service crisis team and, subsequently, Isorropia Foundation.
“On returning to my wellness, I volunteered for Richmond Fellowship, Safe Haven and Isorropia Foundation. This gave me an opportunity to get into my wellness quicker.”Lisa Fennessy
It’s a Process
One thing I will say is that no matter how ready we may feel to get back to work after illness, it isn’t always that simple. I know that following my own spell of psychotherapy and group work with CMHT I felt absolutely ready and quite impatient to get started back on a career path of some description. It took me several more years and various different volunteering opportunities before the timing was right, and I eventually found ‘my place’ with Isorropia Foundation. I personally believe that things happen in perfect timing, and with a more spiritual approach to life now, that everything happens for a reason. I do, however, struggle when I can’t quite see or understand what those reasons might be, but I try to take comfort in ‘trusting the process’. I’d love to know where you stand on this. Are you a believer in allowing things to unfold at their natural pace, or do you like to grab the reins and make things happen? What do you think are the benefits, if any, of both approaches?
“To trust the process means to know and have faith that there is a divine plan moving through you and your life in any moment.”Connie Chapman
If any of you reading this now, graduates or non-members, are thinking back to a time when you have volunteered, we’d love to hear about it. What one thing has been the biggest benefit to you since you began volunteering? Or are you someone thinking that volunteering might be something you’d like to dip your toes into and that now might be the perfect time? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We love finding out how members have been keeping busy since graduation and are always eager to know what else is going on in the Island community. Imagine how many people you could inspire by sharing your story.
Update on Community
With a touch of nostalgia, we bid farewell to a few of our cherished social groups that concluded their journeys this past month. Vicky-Shaw Yates (Community Co-ordinator) will, however, be continuing to explore options to find and access specific, funded community groups for our members, such as the hugely successful Fishing Group that is currently taking place, courtesy of Black Rock Fishing Charters.
These changes have occurred following extensive engagement events and feedback forums with members, graduates, volunteers, and our team. We are confident that our new approach will give more consistency and reliability. Additionally, these changes will create closer links with our local areas and communities.
Our New Approach to Activity Groups
- Our member’s voices will lead our approach, and we will achieve this through a variety of engagement forums.
- We recognise that having social and activity groups are a fundamental need, and we will be investing our time into finding funding to facilitate these groups consistently and reliably.
- Some groups will be time-limited to ensure that as many people have the opportunity to experience them.
- Wellbeing days will become bigger and better. They will include our Island Community and will offer opportunities to link in with already established activity groups from across the Island. There will also be top-up sessions and a range of new activities!
The non-funded groups led by volunteers, including our sewing group and pain management group, will be moving into a new era whereby they are self-sufficient. The team at Isorropia continue to be excited and optimistic for the volunteers and members who have made these groups the wonderful spaces they have become, and we look forward to hearing all about what they are up to as they continue to grow in strength, confidence and numbers going forwards. You’ve got this peeps, so just keep going and do us, and yourselves, proud!
If any graduate members need more clarity around these changes, please check our Navigator newsletter for June via the closed ‘Isorropia Foundation Community’ Facebook page or by requesting a paper copy from the duty team on (01983) 217791. The same number applies to anybody curious about what we do here at Isorropia and all those wanting to work on improving their wellbeing (Isle of Wight residents only, I’m afraid). We have no waiting list and are eager to get you on board. Just think where you could be by the end of the summer! There’s no time like the present to make that call or drop us an email at email@example.com.
That’s all for now from Inside Isorropia, so have yourselves a lovely time in the sunshine, don’t forget your sunscreen and remember to keep hydrated.
Have fun and take care out there,
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,