Looking ahead and moving forward...

Our Director, Kieran, takes stock of what we have ahead of us as a nation (and town of Hitchin) and offers practical advice for this last stretch of lockdowns and restrictions...

It was exciting news from PM Boris Johnson as he announced the roadmap for the way out of lockdown and hopefully the dawn of a new era of life alongside covid. Despite feeling like we are still in the tunnel, the light is shining a little brighter than in February.

Phase is focused on building the wellbeing and resilience of children and young people. Their wellbeing has been tested more than ever in the last 12 months and they have coped with huge amounts of disruption and uncertainty. We've been continually impressed by the tenacity that young people have shown, their willingness to give online learning a go, and that schools have supported their students as much as they humanly could.

We have delivered our usual programmes virtually and developed new ways to support children through online mentoring and specific support groups for anxiety. We were excited to hear that schools would be opening to all students in the coming weeks and that key aspects of social connection would slowly start to return. All being well summer 2021 will be one full of fun and re-engaging with the world.

However, it likely that between now and then there will be bumps in the road and, knowing covid as we all do, the best laid plans can sometimes be sent off course by events. I want to share three key thoughts to help keep us mentally well and healthy, sustaining our resilience to manage any challenges we might face before 21st June.

Manage expectations

‘I am prepared for the worst but hope for the best.’

As we move towards June, it is good to have things in the diary to look forward to – seeing family, friends, holidays, even the Euros! However, by managing our expectations of what may happen we can balance disappointment if things change such as dates being pushed back by government or events not being able to go ahead as planned. Be prepared for things to change but have hope that all will be well.

Be aware of what you can control

There is much I would like to control – the weather, traffic, Luton Town FC winning!

We often want to control things that are out of our control, this can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Taking some time to go through a very simple yet extremely helpful activity called control circles can help ease the pressure and worry that can come from trying to control the uncontrollable. Phase have produced a short film explaining how to use the circles.

Take proactive steps to maintain good wellbeing

For us to enjoy the summer we need to get there in the best mental, emotional and physical state we can. The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer, and spring is in the air, but be proactive about building your wellbeing, like anything it takes action. Be aware of how you are feeling, do not ignore it, talk to a friend or a family member. If you are a young person in school you can use the Phase virtual mentoring service. If you’re an adult, then there are excellent services here in Hitchin – Herts Mind Network, Tilehouse Counselling and the Samaritans.

Acting early in any situation can have a huge difference on the outcome, Desmond Tutu once said ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.’

If you would like to talk about how we can help you, or a young person you know, through mentoring, email me at Kieran.murphy@phase-hitchin.org.

Blog image is an origianl photo from Bluehouse Skis

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