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Time to talk – a personal experience

In Rose’s words…
Time to Talk Day was started by Time to Change and takes place on the first Thursday in February. It’s a day that brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems. Why? Because mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness. So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all. Since it launched in 2014, it has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online.

‘Time to Talk’ really resonates with me because of my first (identified) experience of depression…

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Time to talk and time to listen

It’s Time to Talk day and we’re looking forward to a time when we can say we’re struggling with a bout of depression as easily as we say we are suffering with a cold.

Here at Fresh Air Fridays we believe in sharing simple tools that support mental wellbeing with as many people as possible. One of these, as obvious as it sounds, is the ability to really listen, a practice that we develop and practice on every session.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and got suddenly excited because they’ve said something and you’re desperate to tell them how that happened to you

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The daily commute and the part perception plays…

The daily commute and the part perception plays…

Since I’ve been working in an office again, for the first time in nearly 20 years , I have deliberately tried not to learn the train times, knowing that they run at least every 20 minutes during the day.

Over time though, I’ve got to know the times and, the other day, found myself rushing to get a train which, when it arrived, had half the usual number of carriages and was completely full. Some of the people on the platform were obviously very frustrated and I could see that this was going to have an impact on their whole day.

I found myself thinking “that was a bit of a waste of time” before noticing a man standing and looking the other way.

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Create Your Life through Planning

Create your life through planning

I consider myself a free spirit. I don’t like to be told anything and I like a bit of spontaneity. Over the years I have read a whole load of business books about goal setting and planning and have noticed a certain resistance in myself.

Recently though, I’ve invested in a ‘self journal’, which divides my day into half-hour slots. There was a time this would have left me terrified but, having heard how someone else had used it to overcome their struggles, together with an understanding that I could do whatever I wanted, I took the leap.

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Letting go of Control – 5/5 ways to good mental Health

One in four of us is going to suffer some sort of mental episode in our lives, for many people this comes from going over and over something in their mind, more often than not these these ruminations are about things that are completely out of their control. Recognising what is out of our control and learning strategies to let go of those things and then realising what we can control and taking responsibility for those, ultimately makes us happier.

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Support, community and personal growth!

One of the major reasons that Fresh Air Fridays was created was to create a safe space for individuals to be supported in their own self development. Whenever Rose, myself or one of our facilitators leads a session we see how mutually supportive our members are and how the outdoor space and the themes we explore create a way in which all of us get real clarity on things that are important to us. I feel exceptionally privileged to be part of this, none more so than over the last week.

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The Value of Sharing

How good are you at sharing with your work colleagues or team? What about at home? We had a training day for our facilitators this week and what really hit home for Rose and I was the value of sharing. As a matter of course on our sessions and our trainings we review what has happened for people since our last meeting and we actively encourage people to share their experience. On this occasion someone was sharing their experience, but she couldn’t quite pin it down. When someone else spoke about what happened to them, the first person had a big Ah ha moment.

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Do you feel like an imposter?

I have always been a fairly loud out there kind of person, I suspect other people see me as confident and possibly even “sorted” whatever that means, but just like many people I have spent my life waiting for someone to “find me out!”. I have been reminded about this recently as I have been reading Amy Cuddy’s book “Presence” and I would particularly recommend you looking up her TED talk.

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Connection 4 of 5 Ways to better mental health

Glancing at the Newspaper headlines this morning seeing another shooting somewhere, I found myself reflecting as to how much pain so many people are in.  If that gunman felt truly connected then I don’t believe this would have happened. When we are seen and heard by others we feel so much better about ourselves, we feel less pain and have no need then to express that pain in unpleasant or self – destructive ways. The power of connection can change individual’s communities and countries.

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Get outside! – 3 of 5 ways to better mental health

I observe people rushing form their concrete box in their metal boxes, to more concrete boxes, where they spend all day looking at electronic boxes and rush back to their concrete box where they watch another electronic box. What I notice when I take a group of people out from their office and stand them under a tree is a complete state change.  Their shoulders relax and a weight seems to lift.

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How I surprised my self on my Birthday By Karen Robinson

Temptingly I had recently met a mobile massage lady and was planning to book a massage with her, where she would come to my home and save me the trouble of finding her, but unfortunately my birthday fell on a Friday this year, which is her day off. No matter, I could book it for another time or spend the money on something else.

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The Art of Gratitude – 2/5 Ways to better mental health

The practice of gratitude is a life changer! As a family we found that when our daughter was suffering from anorexia finding whatever we could to feel grateful for helped us through some pretty tough times. Forward thinking GP’s recommend it for patients suffering with depression, and many good therapist support their clients to practice it.

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Breathe – 5 Ways to Better Mental Health

We have all been breathing since we were born, and predominantly we do it completely subconsciously, so our breath is something we often take for granted.  However when we become aware of our breath we have an amazing tool that not only keeps us alive on a minute by minute basis, but can alter our mood, calm us down and give us something to focus on in meditation.

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5 Ways to Better Mental Health

Mental health issues appear to be on the increase, and when we look around us at the lives we are leading it is no surprise.  The exponential increase in the amount of information we are almost constantly subjected to; subconscious pressures to be more, have more, do more, and succeed.  We are constantly connected and constantly wired.  The menial repetitive tasks that used to take up large parts of our day and give our brains a moment of stillness have largely been automated, we are regularly fighting the clock and the demands of daily life mean that time outside in nature is side-lined to the occasional foray at the weekend, if we have time and it isn’t raining.  Little wonder we are feeling stressed and under pressure.

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This thing called love…..

My family were pretty British. Both my parents came from families where their parents were remote and without going into too much detail I am certain that they didn’t have people telling them they loved them. As a child growing up I certainly knew my family loved me, but I don’t remember us being particularly effusive about it.

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Five things that Fresh Air Fridays can do for you

Five things that Fresh Air Fridays can do for you:

1. Connection. With the vast majority of people getting into metal boxes, to travel to concrete boxes’ where they spend their time staring at electronic boxes and then back again, we have never been more disconnected from our natural environment. For many of us (particularly in the winter), time spent in green space is virtually non existent. Japanese research has shown us that trees actually release chemicals that are good for lowering our stress levels and forest bathing is becoming popular pass time there. What we see is when you stand on some grass or under a tree, your state changes. Your mood lifts, your shoulders relax. As if this wasn’t enough, the real magic follows, when you start to reconnect with nature you start to reconnect to yourself. You begin to once more find your inner knowing. When you connect with nature you find yourself.

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