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Feel Good Story

Eight year-old inspires ‘Share a Smile’ campaign

Sir Lenny Henry wrote to eight year-old Sonny to congratulate him on the idea behind this year’s ‘Share a Smile’ Comic Relief campaign.

During the course of the first lockdown, Sonny spent posted one joke a day, over 100 days, at the end of his Birmingham street to cheer people up.

The project grew, and caught the attention of some big names. The V&A Museum of Childhood in London are working to collate children’s creations over lockdown, and reached out to Sunny to congratulate him on his wonderful jokes.

Sir Lenny Henry was so blown away by Sonny’s idea, he started the ‘Share a Smile’ campaign, urging people to share their favourite jokes with their neighbours and local community.

Sonny received a letter written from Sir Lenny himself, thanking him for his idea and very hard work.

Here’s a taster of Sonny’s work, the very first joke he set up on Day 1:

Q: Why do seagulls only fly over the sea?
A: Because if they flew over the bay,
they would be called bagels.

Maybe Sir Lenny Henry should watch his back next time he’s on the comedy circuit… I see a bright future ahead for young Sonny! 🎤

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Spotlight

Re-emerging with resilience

As Forrest Gump once said:
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

After all, like a neatly wrapped box of treats, life is a gift. At some point along the way things are bound to go in your favour, like picking up a soft truffle or caramel barrel.

However, what’s also guaranteed in life is that we will all, at some point, encounter adversity, tragedy and other significant sources of stress – just like that surprise Turkish delight.

Adapting well in the face of life’s challenges is what psychologists call ‘resilience’.

By becoming more resilient, you’ll not only be better prepared to deal with difficult circumstances when they some your way, you’ll also be empowered to grow and improve your life when things aren’t going so bad.

The global pandemic has brought with it its own share of traumas, from the universal to the intensely personal.

As we slowly emerge out of lockdown and other hardships brought on by COVID-19, it’s worth thinking about how resilient we’ve been, and how we can take this resilience with us into the future.

By focusing on the four core components of resilience (connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning), you can learn to not only withstand difficult and traumatic experiences, but use them as fuel for your own growth and learning — especially important as we return to a ‘semblance of normality’.

Try some of these strategies from the American Psychological Association to increase your capacity for resilience…

…and maybe those Turkish Delights won’t taste so bad after all 🍫

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Monthly collection of news, wellbeing updates, lifestyle tips, and feel-good stories - delivered right to your inbox every third Thursday.

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Feel Good Story

Blind fox makes friends with dog and deer

When Geoff Grewcock, who runs Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, was brought a fox cub found by the side of the road, he feared the worst.

But after a careful recovery routine from Mr Grewcock, the cub has made a turn for the better and made best pals with Orla, the greyhound, and Bramble, the deer.

Despite being diagnosed “about 90% blind” by the vet, Mr Grewcock describes the fox, christened Woody, as “beautiful”, and a fan of custard cream biscuits.

I mean… who isn’t?!

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Spotlight

Staying on top of the lockdown blues

If you feel as though your mental health is suffering during lockdown, you’re not alone. 1 in 5 UK adults profess to experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of depression. This is almost double the amount of adults who said the same pre-lockdown.

(Source: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/what-impact-has-covid-19-had-on-mental-health-services)

While most of our favourite activities and destinations remain closed, and little in the way of plans to look forward to, it can feel like this lockdown is never going to end.

We’ve put together some top tips to help build your resilience, and maintain better moods during lockdown:

Remember it’s OK to feel this way – We should feel proud of the measures we’re taking to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. But it’s important to remember that just because we have a good reason to, doesn’t make it easy. Low mood, low energy and loss of interests are all common symptoms of lockdown.

  1. Remember it’s OK to feel this way – We should feel proud of the measures we’re taking to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. But it’s important to remember that just because we have a good reason to, doesn’t make it easy. Low mood, low energy and loss of interests are all common symptoms of lockdown.
  2. Don’t compare yourself with others – Everyone is facing a different set of challenges that will affect us in a unique way. While social media can be a useful tool to stay connected, be sure to monitor your time spent on apps, as comparison effects can lead to negative mental health.
  3. Go back to basics – Sleep and exercise have a profound impact on our mental health, but these are often the first things we neglect when we are not feeling so good. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker describes sleep as our superpower, and exercise can help aid healthy sleep. Why not organise an online group workout with friends?
  4. Set a new goal or target Whether as big as learning a new language, or something as small as trying out a new recipe for dinner one night, or taking a daily walk to somewhere new. Whether big or small, stepping outside your comfort zone will give you focus and a sense of control. For many people, this can be massively helpful for their mental state.
  5. Do it badly – Optimists live longer, have better relationships and better immune systems, says Olivia Remes of Cambridge University. The good news is you can cultivate optimism: Her number one tip is the principle of “do it badly”. In other words, don’t wait to do things perfectly, at the right time on the right day. Just do it!
  6. Be kind to yourself – It’s easy to think that your problems are small compared to what other people are going through. This shouldn’t invalidate any of your own feelings. If you think you need help, seek it out with someone you trust.
  7. How to help if someone else is struggling? – As part of our support networks, someone may eventually reach out to you for advice. They won’t expect you to have all the answers, and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself either. Try listening non-judgmentally, validate their feelings, and let them know they matter to you.

Wellbeing Champions Newsletter

Monthly collection of news, wellbeing updates, lifestyle tips, and feel-good stories - delivered right to your inbox every third Thursday.

☕ Five-minute round-up. 🤐 No-spam ever. 👋 Unsubscribe at any time.
Privacy policy for the fellow GDPR nerds 🤓