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,
Back at the start of May, the weather appeared to be dragging itself incredibly slowly into Spring which was such a shame. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in feeling the need for jumpers and even coats too which seemed to be required far later into the year than usual. This past week May has finally brightened up with more warmth and more sunshine; goodness knows we needed it!
With this being our first year here at Medina Valley Centre, we are seeing and experiencing all that nature has to offer around the site with fresh eyes and no preconceived ideas or expectations. I’m sure you are all aware that April-May is bluebell season here in the UK. My favourite way to enjoy bluebells is in woodland, where the flowers create a beautiful, blue carpet; a magical, breathtaking sight, and almost other-worldly. Here on the Isle of Wight, I believe there are a few good spots to enjoy bluebells; the only place I’ve actually been to is Mottistone Manor, a National Trust property near Brighstone. I recall the Bluebells did not disappoint! I eagerly awaited their appearance here at MVC and, whilst they did put on a show, my photos sadly never seem to do justice to nature! If you’ve seen any beautiful bluebells whilst out and about on the Island or further afield, please do share in the comments. I fear it may be too late, but if you’re on the Island, why not get yourself down to Mottistone Manor and see if you can catch their bluebells before they disappear for another year?! (www.nationaltrust.uk)
We have had a quieter month in the community here at Isorropia Foundation but that’s not to say the organisation wasn’t busy doing other things. We held our first fully funded public Gift Course which was a lovely opportunity to show the wider Island community the amazing work we do day in and day out with our members. There will be more fully funded workshops taking place in the coming months so keep an eye on our social media pages to ensure you don’t miss out. This month also saw our first ‘after-hours’ workshop, a new initiative to ensure we are better supporting our members who have employment or caring responsibilities and those juggling the demands of childcare.
One of the most delightful things I’ve seen since my last blog post was the Mellow Mondays group which is funded and run by Gift to Nature. Members were invited to an outdoors session here at MVC where they could create a hanging basket made entirely from natural materials. The end results are so unique and so pretty, each containing a little strawberry plant which, weather permitting, should thrive and provide an abundance of fruit. How lovely is that…all taking place within our beautiful setting, with the wonderful sound of birds all around and views of the river to boot! Bird identification cards were also provided (see photo at the top of this post), making the session informative as well as productive and fun 🙂
Did any of you manage to listen to the Island Stories podcast earlier this month when our CEO, Vicki Haworth, was featured? I’d highly recommend a listen. You can follow @islandstoriespodcast on Instagram. CLICK HERE to listen to Vicki’s episode.
“We are that bridge between someone seeing their GP and feeling like things are going downhill but not actually quite needing to be on medication…we are there to try and prevent people from becoming more unwell.”Vicki Haworth
The Big Help Out
How did you all spend the Coronation weekend? Did you do anything memorable with the extra bank holiday? King Charles III planned for it to be a day for ‘giving back’ to communities in some way, and it has been reported that 6 million people got involved! The campaign is ongoing, so why not check out www.thebighelpout.org.uk if you’d like to find out more; ‘Lend a hand. Make a change.’
“Your purpose in life is to use your gifts and talents to help others. Your journey in life teaches you how to do that.”Tom Krause
Volunteering is something we in the field of mental health recovery are very passionate about. As a team with lived experience here at Isorropia Foundation, we have numerous examples of how our team and graduate members have benefitted from volunteering at times of challenging circumstances in their lives, and who continue to give back in times of wellness too!
I look forward to next month’s post where I will be marking National Volunteers’ Week by sharing some of the interesting roles that our team have taken on and how they feel it impacted their own lives and the lives of others. This will be such an inspiring read so please do check back in for that.
Benefits of Volunteering
The Big Help Out shared statistics from a study of 7000 adults, highlighting that 73% of volunteers said they felt volunteering gave them more confidence, 73% agreed it gave them new skills/experience and 89% said they enjoyed it! These figures reflect our own experience here at Isorropia Foundation where volunteering benefits both physical and mental wellbeing. It is most definitely a win-win in my opinion. If this is something you are keen to explore, and The Big Help Out hasn’t provided anything suited to your needs/interests, there is also an Island volunteering service which you can check out www.iwvolunteer.org for opportunities specific to the Isle of Wight. Here are just a few ideas to set you on your path to greater fulfilment and better wellbeing:
- “Volunteer Photographer” – Social Heritage Ryde
- “Kitchen Help” – Ventnor Wellbeing Cafe
- “Land maintenance and fencing” – IOW Deer Farm
- “Various Roles” – IOW Donkey Sanctuary
I can’t see any negatives to getting involved with volunteering in your local communities. This ties in beautifully with Key 5 of our Keys to Wellbeing – ‘Connect to Meaning and Purpose’. I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. If you’re a member of Isorropia and would like a chat with one of our Wellbeing Coaches about volunteering and taking that brave step out of your comfort zone, just give the duty line a call. We would love to hear from you.
After six and a half months based in our new office at Medina Valley Centre, the team were all feeling pretty well settled and at home in ‘Glanville’. But, as we like to remind our members on the Wellbeing Programme, ‘change can be a good thing’ and we very much like to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk here. As such, we were delighted to hear that sufficient progress has been made in the main building that we are now able to move out of the ‘outbuilding’ and into our new upstairs office, overlooking the river with even more beautiful views than those we’d grown accustomed to! This was always the intention from our first visit to look around the site back in September 2022 but various different things had to be completed and actioned prior to this move being made. It is a slightly different set-up, with a few smaller offices for us to occupy, as opposed to one large, open-plan space. This is an adjustment and there will always be little hiccups to overcome when things are changing, but the team is strong and they will most definitely find themselves settling in and feeling ‘at home’ again in no time at all, I’m sure.
We can learn so much from nature and our location here at MVC is absolutely perfect for this. You may not be aware, but Medina Valley is one of a few, very select UK locations that have been blessed with the presence of a rare butterfly called the Glanville Fritillary (our office namesake) Medina has a rich history of flora and fauna due to its riverside setting and concerted efforts to protect its habitats. The Glanville Fritillary is one of the many species that visitors to the site should be avidly looking out for, as it would be such a treat to be able to say that you have seen one. My online research provided clear evidence to support this view.
Lifecycle of a Glanville Fritillary
- Eggs are laid on the underside of the foodplant Sea Plantain or Ribwort Plantain
- Emerging caterpillars are yellow/white with black heads
- Whilst living in silken webs the caterpillars undergo colour changes, developing a black body and brown head
- Glanville Fritillary caterpillars will hibernate in August, overwinter until early Spring when they become active once again
- By March/April caterpillars are fully grown at 25mm with a black body, red head, red/brown prolegs, black spines and white speckling
- In thick vegetation, pupation will then take place, with chrysalis attaching to a plant stem and butterfly emerging around 3 weeks later
- Peak flight period for Glanvilles is from 20th May until the first week of June (although they may be seen throughout June and into July)
- Flight period is affected by the onset of Spring (potentially meaning earlier or later sightings) and poor weather in June (bringing the season to an earlier end)
- The most significant population in the UK is on the South Coast of the Isle of Wight
- The Hampshire coastline is now also able to boast a small population
- Sand Point in Somerset is the only other recorded population of Fritillaries in the UK (although they are also found in the Channel Islands and throughout Europe)
- East Wight – Wheelers Bay to Horseshoe Bay
- West Wight – Compton Bay/Shippards Chine, Brook Green, Sud Moor, Chiltern Chine to Marsh Chine
Colonies of Glanville Fritillaries exist primarily on sandstone and clay exposures of undercliffs and chines, and on clifftop grassland above (www.hantsiow-butterflies.org.uk) Obviously, our habitat at MVC is quite different to that, so it is interesting to me that this species is still drawn to the area. However, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Butterfly Conservation state that during bumper years Glanvilles form transient colonies further inland, even reaching the northern coastline! So maybe this is what’s been happening in the past when MVC has hosted these rare creatures. I’m no expert! But I do think butterflies are amazing and incredible, going through so many changes within their life span. So many artists use this cycle to inspire creativity and particularly linking into wellbeing and how we, as people, need to accept that we evolve and change throughout our lives and that this is not a bad thing.
May 15th – 21st is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. This is very close to our hearts, being as Isorropia is a mental health and wellbeing organisation and we have a variety of helpful, thought-provoking posts going out on our social media pages. Do take a look, particularly if you suffer from Anxiety as that is this year’s theme. Don’t forget that we also run ‘Mastering Anxiety’ workshops for our members. If you are a member and would like to book a top-up, please do get in touch or you can book in the usual way via your Bookwhen link. If May has been challenging for you and your anxiety appears to be worsening, this could be the perfect time to reconnect with your fellow members and have a refresh of those tools and tips that we know can be so helpful when we remember to use them.
We at Isorropia Foundation are increasingly proud of the work we do for our Island community and, more than anything else, feel a sense of pride in the individuals who join us on the Wellbeing Programme and work hard to embrace change and show commitment in ‘Adopting an Open and Positive Mindset’ (Key 4). Our organisation is constantly evolving as we look to improve and adapt, ensuring we continue to provide the very best opportunities for our members. We may well have had the occasional bump to navigate along the way to get us where we are today, but this is normal for relatively new organisations as they grow and learn what works and what doesn’t. We do acknowledge wholeheartedly that change is not easy. But it is almost always worth it. We empower our members to overcome any difficulties they face in their day-to-day lives by using the tools they have learnt in the workshops to assert themselves and tackle any problems they face with an effective communication style. When we see our members managing their own wellbeing and pushing themselves further than they ever believed possible it is a wonderful feeling. It really does feel sometimes, as if we are watching people transform before our very eyes!
If any Islanders are reading this and are currently struggling with certain changes, or indeed challenges in their own lives, please do reach out. Our Duty line is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and we can have you signed up for the Wellbeing Programme within 2 weeks. We have no waiting list! Contact us HERE. To see the services that are available in your area CLICK HERE. Please know that you are never alone.
Until next time,
P.S. One small change to mention before I go: I’m actually going through a bit of a transition myself at the moment! For any members who know me as one of Isorropia’s Wellbeing Coaches, please be aware that I shall now be taking on more of a behind-the-scenes role within the organisation (which means I won’t get to see your lovely faces as much as before). Look out for next month’s post for more details of what I’ll be doing instead!