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Happy February!

Posted 22/2/2021

Hello everyone and happy February! I feel like January has simultaneously lasted forever and vanished into nothing – it’s always an odd transitional post-Christmas month for me but this year made even more strange/challenging by lockdown 3.0. I hope everybody is doing OK? I think after the first lockdown we all breathed a big sigh of relief that we had managed to get through it and we felt things were slowly starting to return to normal. I can remember saying “I don’t think I’d survive another one!” yet here we are… surviving!

 I feel perhaps this time around a lot of people are just fed up. We feel like seasoned ‘lockdowners’. We’re not as excited at the prospect of daily walks in the fresh air, at-home workouts and logging into work laptops still in our PJs. We want to be free! We want some normality! We WANT to go into the office! This time it’s really hard for many of us to find positivity and I think it’s important at this stage to recognise that now more than ever we need to be reaching out to those who might be struggling.

Which brings me nicely to the Five Ways to Wellbeing – the first of which is CONNECT. Make sure you are connecting with family and friends – whether that’s a quick text to check in with someone you might have had radio silence from for a few days to a full-blown Friday night zoom quiz with the entire family (yes I know we’re all kind of over those now as well!) It’s easy to slip into isolation and forget to reach out to others when we’re stuck at home and feeling a bit down. I struggle with this as a naturally introverted person. Taking that first step to connect can sometimes be hard but I know it makes me feel better as soon as I talk to somebody.

The others Ways to Wellbeing are: Be Active, Take Notice, Learn and Give. More info on these can be found here: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/

Finding time to put these into place and focus on your wellbeing is so important and can be so valuable. The Five Ways to Wellbeing is therefore the basis of a 5 week course of sessions for both Primary and Secondary age children which Nickie and I will deliver live over Microsoft Teams. This will be accessible for children either in school or at home and at the end of the course we hope the children will leave with the knowledge and skills to help them in implementing the Five Ways to Wellbeing in their everyday lives.

We also have ready and available two Anxiety Workshops for use in schools. ‘Max Can’t Sleep’ is aimed at KS1 and ‘Anxiety with Caveman Bob’ is aimed at KS2 children. Please contact either myself or Nickie if you would like the information for either workshop.

On our Service Children’s Champion YouTube Channel Nickie and I have uploaded ourselves reading a few stories which we would usually use within our 1:1 sessions. These include stories about deployment such as ‘My Daddy’s Going Away’ and ‘Lily Hates Goodbyes’, and books on dealing with anxiety and emotions such as ‘The Panicosaurus’ and ‘The Huge Bag of Worries’. Nickie has uploaded a gorgeous reading of ‘Coronavirus: A Book for Children’ illustrated by Axel Scheffler which is fantastic for explaining the current pandemic to younger children.

The below information was passed on to us by the SCiP Alliance to share with our Armed Forces community, particularly families:

‘Real Stories’ is a new online gallery representing the lives of Armed Forces families. Hosted by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), this gallery aims to reflect military families today to raise awareness and understanding among the public of the Armed Forces community.

The gallery hopes to be educational and informative, opening up discussion around the ways in which the Armed Forces community is viewed away from some of the more negative stories seen in the media and wider society. As well as this, a selection of Real Stories images will be on permanent display at the ADVANCE office at the Ministry of Defence’s new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall in Loughborough and will be used at KCMHR events throughout the year to showcase our Armed Forces community.

To make sure the gallery represents a wide selection of Armed Forces families, we need your help. We are now open to submissions of digital images of family life from anyone connected to the military. This includes anybody who is, or was in Service, as well as spouses, partners, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts & uncles and wider family members (e.g. cousins) - all are welcome!! Along with submitting a picture, there’s an opportunity to include a written contribution to go alongside about what the image represents or means to you, which will be presented in the gallery and in our Reflections booklet at the end of the project. Comments can remain anonymous if you wish. Children under 18 will need permission from a parent or guardian.

More details, as well as the online gallery, can be found here at https://kcmhr.org/real-stories.

The SCiP Alliance are also offering free virtual training for schools on their brilliant Thriving Lives Toolkit. You can register your place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scip-alliance-virtual-training-conference-for-schools-lancashire-and-nw-tickets-132817022289

We would also like to share the below information from the Never Such Innocence project for the interest of schools:

Teachers! Never Such Innocence is here for you and your students during this time of remote learning! They have poetry, art, speech and song writing practitioners at the ready to hold a live workshop for your class. The workshops are extremely flexible with timing and they are able to organise them quite quickly to suit the needs of your classroom. They target the content for the workshop on your current curriculum, on a theme for their competition, The Unheard Voices of Conflict: Stories from Around the World or could be held specifically with service children as part of their Voices of Armed Forces Children Project. To learn more or to schedule a workshop, please email Katie at ks@neversuchinnocence.com

The SFSG meeting will take place this month on Tuesday 23rd Feb at 9.30. If you would like to be involved in this, please let us know.

And finally, just a little note to express our sadness about the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore. As a young man he fought bravely for his country, and at the age of 100 he did the same again in the most amazing way that he could – raising money to support the NHS and help in battling this horrible pandemic. His legacy will live on.

Jess

 

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