The power of journaling

Having worked in the mental health and well being arena for so long, I’ve seen the power of journaling on the mind.  Capturing thoughts feelings, gratitude helps when reflecting back to learn to go forward.

 

But what if you are incapacitated and can’t journal?  Luckily for Mandy she had great nurses who went the extra mile to ensure when she recovered she could ‘fill in the gaps’ on the time lost through being in a coma.

 

 

93 days is a long time to miss from our lives.  We know how frustrating it is the morning after the night before not remembering what we said, did or where we were.  That’s just one night’s loss of memory through over indulgence.  But what about longer gaps like Mandy experienced through Covid-19?

 

The nurses started journaling each day for Mandy to read when she recovered.

 

 

Short entries but with powerful messages.  Now Mandy is home and starting the long recovering back to fitness without the worrying gap of those 93 days.

 

How amazing are our nurses?

Good spending?……..

Flicking through the Sunday Papers yesterday I came across ‘………..the PM puts the nation on a diet’.

 

 

The feature is about reducing obesity through bariatric surgery.  It’s long been known that people come to the point of obesity through a number of reasons all including some form of relationship with food – eating for comfort, boredom etc.

 

For some morbidly obese people, I can see this invasive surgical procedure could be a lifeline but is it right that investment for research into diseases, education, housing etc is diverted into bariatric surgery?  People have got to take responsibility for their own actions.  Very few need additional help and support – which those few rightly deserve.  A bit like some people who are really depressed will need medication to get to a point where they can change their mindset and not feel so clobbered that they can’t do anything.

 

I just wonder if we’ve become a nation where our actions are someone’s else’s fault.  We justify our behaviour due to a raft of excuses such as poor upbringing, lack of parental guidance etc.

 

Seeing the litter left on beaches after people ignored lockdown rules because the weather was so nice.  It’s one thing to ignore lockdown but is there a reason you can’t pack up your rubbish and take it home?

 

Isn’t it time we all took responsibility for our actions, thought before we acted/speak and treated ourselves and those around us with a little more kindness?  The bonus is these things don’t cost anything!

 

 

Thinking outside the box when you business takes a hit

Coronavirus and Covid-19 have put some businesses into positions of having to explore new markets and make themselves attractive to new customers whilst still being accessible financially to their new customers.

 

One such business is a ‘club’ of fishermen and women who had their usual market stopped overnight due to the pandemic with the immediate shutdown of restaurants, gastro pubs etc.  Under the Pesky Fish website, the daily catch is advertised at 8am each morning – be quick though most things are sold by 9am!  You can elect to have the fish filleted or left whole.

 

I made my first order a little nervously.  How can fish be delivered by courier and still be good quality and fresh?  I need not have worried.  My first order arrived today.  Sealed in an insulated box – full recyclable with a really nice touch of information cards about who caught the fish, their boats etc.

 

Not only have I got a good quality selection of fish that will last 4-5 days, it’s cheaper than supermarkets and higher grade but I also feel I’m supporting a niche industry too.

 

So Dean caught my Pollack fillets:

 

 

Matt caught my Mussels

 

Ian smoked my Salmon!

 

 

Fancy some fish? why not check these guys out and support our fishing industry as well

 

https://www.peskyfish.co.uk

 

The loo roll challenge…

This made me both smile and glow with pride.

 

Charlie-Ray was on Growing Talent in 2019.  With no experience in the corporate world and no previous exposure to Welcome Host duties.  Charlie-Ray embraced every opportunity outside his comfort zone, learning from his team, peers, management and all the other contractors on site at PwC alongside Charlie-Ray’s employer, Portico.

 

He is now well respected by all levels of management, including senior client management.

 

Accepting opportunities, trying your best whilst remaining yourself delivers potent results.

 

Well done Charlie-Ray – I look forward to watching you soar in your career.

 

 

Can we all rise from despair?

Overthinking negativity can feel like trying to swim in quicksand.  Panic rises, struggle intensifies the quicker we sink.

 

Taking a step back to analyse where we are, where we want to be and the journey to get there can give us the best foundation for change and getting out of that quicksand feeling.

 

Seeing the feature of new Graduate Malala over the weekend I’m reminded of where she started – shot by the Taliban for speaking up for girls’ education as a teenager – to relocating to the UK, going to school in Birmingham, studying, and graduating from Oxford University along the way becoming the youngest  Nobel laureate after winning the Nobel Prize in December 2014 as well as setting up the Malala Fund and the Education Champion Network with a vision to see every girl in the world get at least 12 hours education a week – what a journey.

 

Whilst Malala is an extreme journey, it shows we can change what’s ahead of us.  Opportunity lies in the most obscure places and can present when we least expect it.

 

Take a step back, analyse what’s really going on.  You can’t change what’s happened before – that’s history.  We can all change the path we’re on…….if we want to.

 

Doom & Gloom Overload?

It’s easy to slip into negativity when looking at social media, listening to the news, reading online news sites.  There is very little good news out there right now.  But strength, courage, inspiration can be found in the most difficult times.

 

Take these Kestrel chicks the most important thing for them at the moment is food.  Currently on the amber endangered list at the RSPB due to their moderate decline in the UK, their wildness a natural, thing of beauty.  Seeing this picture in the Sunday papers made me realise it doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, nature continues with it’s own survival agenda.

 

Taking a moment to look at the nature and beauty around us, lifts our spirits nourishing us to face the negativity all around  us.

What’s stopping you? – Yourself maybe?

Coronavirus has forced us to stop and take stock.  Yes, we didn’t see it coming.  Yes, we don’t know when it will end. Yes, we still don’t know what the end result will be.  But, this is a unique, once only opportunity to stop, take stock of where we are in our lives and ask ourselves – am I where I want to be?

 

Hopefully, for most of us it will be a resounding ‘yes’.  For those who maybe feel change is needed in some areas of their lives, what usually stops them doing anything about it is them.  The negative part of their brain interrupts with self-doubts which get louder and louder if we let them.  This is perfectly natural as our brains are programmed to keep us safe and they do this by amplifying risk – think fight, flight or freeze situations.

 

We can learn tricks to move forward such as not thinking you can’t but just doing it.  I’m minded of the people throughout history across all corners of the world who have achieved great things when on paper stereotypical thoughts would be they can’t.

 

One who had diverse careers including that of a stuntman didn’t switch to being an inventor until his mid40s.  Trevor Bayliss initially starting making products to aid his peers who had been disabled through stunts.  On hearing about the AIDS breakout, he got to thinking of the isolation of remote villages who didn’t get healthcare information easily until he invented the wind-up radio – no batteries needed.  Totally accessible.

 

A fuller interview with Trevor is featured below…..

Taken from The Conversation…  This interview was featured following Trevor’s death in 2018.

 

Trevor Baylis, who has died aged 80, left his school in London at 15 without any qualifications. But he went on to become a physical training instructor, an engineer, a stuntman and, at 45, a full-time inventor, eventually finding fame for developing the wind-up radio.

Many of Baylis’s inventions were inspired from his time as a stuntman. He had friends who had suffered life changing injuries as a result of their work. “Disability is only a banana skin away,” he often said.

As a result, he focused his effort on inventing devices to help people with disabilities in their everyday lives. He came up with over 200 of these devices, which he named Orange Aids and included one handed bottle openers, foot operated scissors, can openers and sketching easels.

Then in 1991 he saw a TV programme about AIDS in Africa. The presenter described the difficulty of getting important health information to people who couldn’t afford batteries for their radios. Baylis immediately went out to his workshop to see if he could build a suitable generator for a radio. It only took him 30 minutes to come up with a solution.

The resulting clockwork prototype worked well but he struggled to get anyone interested in producing it. In 1994, as a result of being featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme and in an interview on the World Service, a backer came forward to help start manufacturing the radios in South Africa, employing disabled people. The vast majority of these early production radios were sold to aid agencies to distribute freely, but over time they also became very popular with consumers in the developed world and were able to be sold for profit too.

When Baylis’s design was manufactured as the BayGen Freeplay radio, it won him 1996 BBC Design Awards for Best Product and Best Design. It is still considered an iconic piece of British design, featuring in the UK Science Museum collection. Spin offs from this design included a wind-up torch and MP3 player, along with shoes that generated enough electricity from the movement of the wearer to charge a mobile phone.

The wind-up Baygen Freeplay radio. J. D. Pfaff/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Despite his fame, Baylis felt he had often not received the financial returns he deserved for his inventions and began to campaign for better protection for inventors. He argued that intellectual property theft should be a criminal offence. He suggested that all school children should learn about inventing and intellectual property in the same way that they learn about art. In 2003, he set up Trevor Baylis Brands to help inventors struggling to develop and protect their ideas, helping over 10,000 people and launching many spin-off companies.

Baylis provided some early examples of how design could respond to both social and environmental problems by producing products that didn’t require expensive and polluting batteries. He made his radio very durable and easy to repair so it would last as long as possible, a real shift away from the usual consumption driven product market. A 1998 study of radios with different power sources found that, despite its weight, the Baygen had a significantly lower overall environmental impact over a five-year lifetime than any other radio on the market at the time.

Ripples of change

Sustainable product design still struggles to be recognised and applied by industry today. Yet the innovation displayed by the Baygen radio, initially using human powered energy systems and later supplementing this with solar power, produced a ripple effect in the market and large corporations began to develop similar products.

Although many criticised the product for being unnecessarily robust, it wasn’t created for the same kind of use as typical radios in developed countries and instead was designed to be as durable as possible. Baylis’s radio illustrates the complexities of balancing environmental, social, ethical and economic decisions in design and is still a useful discussion piece for aspiring designers today.

Trevor Baylis embodied the role of the inventor, always looking for solutions to problems and proving his novel ideas through many prototypes. He understood the value of design and considered this to be an important step in the commercialisation of his ideas.

Baylis received an OBE in 1997 and a CBE in 2015 for services to intellectual property. Despite his many successes, he once said he had one big regret: not being selected to swim for Great Britain in the 1956 Olympics.

Wind-up radios can still be brought today.

 

If you are reflecting on potentially changing something in your life right now, don’t let self-doubt in.  Instead think about the wider impact you could make not only on your lives but those around you.

 

You don’t have to be an inventor to make a difference.

Loneliness – a crippling feeling that can ruin lives

We’ve all been lonely at some time in our lives and know the fear, isolation and hopeless feelings experienced by it.  It doesn’t matter whether we have people around us or not loneliness can creep in at any point.

 

For people who live alone or in difficult environments, loneliness can be amplified and feel very palpable.

 

I stumbled across Wavelength, a great charity in Hornchurch, Essex which has tackled loneliness for over 80 years.  Starting by giving radios to people isolated by the World War through the decades evolving to include tvs, iPads and computers to all those in need from refugees, those leaving prison, young people, adults and families anyone already experiencing difficulty in their lives without the added burden of loneliness.

 

Their research of how people felt before contact with Wavelength and how they felt afterwards shows the massive impact they make.  Working with ONS in the UK tracks the impact of loneliness and the cost in human and family lives as well as business, communities and the health service.

 

Wavelength reminded me of an interview with the inventor Trevor Bayliss who invented, amongst other things, a robust wind-up radio to be used in global, remote villages which not only tackled loneliness but also delivered information and healthcare.

 

The simplest ideas are often the most effective and enduring.

 

Long may WaveLength continue its excellent work.

 

If you know anyone who is lonely and would benefit from WaveLength’s support, don’t hesitate to signpost them Twitter @WaveLengthHelp or website: http://www.wavelength.org.uk

Lon