Happy News…

So, this week the news has brought our attention to quite a lot of upsetting and distressing events around the world. I could talk about it or sit and think about it but like most human beings I have a limit as to how much I can handle at any given time. Sometimes my mind feels too full, and I find myself wishing I could empty some thoughts or have a ‘mental’ filling system clear-out. Although I am aware of what is happening in the world, I know that unfortunately I do not have a magic wand (although I wish I did!) and therefore there is not a lot I can do. In order to protect myself I can’t always think about these things and so I decide not to read all the news articles and instead go in my ‘bubble’.

I have spoken to people about recent events, and most are horrified, upset and some are even scared about what lies ahead.

I read an interesting article about ‘doomscrolling’ which basically means getting lost in news or social media threads and seeing the comments. People can find themselves almost getting drawn in even though what you are reading is disheartening. The article gave suggestions of how we can avoid doomscrolling including making your mornings sacred meaning not scrolling through social media as soon as you wake up (or before bed) and instead allocate time for this. If you do find yourself doomscrolling try telling yourself to stop (out loud), put your phone down, walk away and try to distract yourself. Finally, try to find something positive to do instead of doomscrooling such as reading a book, calling a friend, doodling, or journaling.

As a way to help prevent doomscrolling (especially given recent events), I have decided to dedicate this post to Happy News…things that have happened around the world in the past week that are positive!! It is rare for the news to cover happy stories which is why I am sharing some with you now…

  1. Scientists have reported seeing a remarkable number of blue whales around South Georgia. They spotted 55 compared with only 2 in 2018!
  2. A woman who fled the war in Syria as a teenager by swimming for 3 hours in the sea, saving passengers from a sinking boat along the way and finally walking from Greece to Germany has recently competed in the 100m Butterfly at the Olympics.
  3. I love this one…Japan has appointed a ‘Minister of loneliness’ to tackle the mental health crisis. This has been sparked by an increased in suicide rates since Covid-19. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every country had a ‘Minister of loneliness?’
  4. A social enterprise called Change Please is taking over 55 coffee outlets around the UK and Ireland. Change Please trains homeless people as baristas, offers them a living wage, helps them access housing, a bank account and mental health support. It is able to do this by using profits from selling coffee. What an amazing and life changing project!
  5. A wildlife survey in Scotland has revealed that beavers are rapidly recolonising the country’s waterways, more than 400 years after they were hunted to extinction. It is estimated that there are now 1000 wild beavers in Scotland.
  6. Sebastiao Salgado grew up in a part of Brazil that was full of beautiful rainforests, however when he returned in 2000 only 0.5% of forest remained. However, he founded an organisation which planted more than 2 million seedlings of more than 290 species of trees and plants. In 20 years, 1,500 acres of rainforest have been recovered, and 293 species of plants, 15 reptile species, 172 bird species, 15 amphibian species, and 33 mammal species have returned. What an amazing individual! It goes to show that we are capable of anything!

And if those positive news stories haven’t put a smile on your face, a scientific study has proven that forcing a smile actually makes you happier. So even if you don’t feel like it, smile! This can trick our brain into thinking there is something to smile about which then improves our mood.

Lockdown part 3…. Week 17

Here we are another week closer to life returning to some sort of normality! I am pleasantly surprised at how well I seem to be adapting to this new life so far, but I am not putting pressure on myself to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. I have booked tickets to take my girls to an indoor mini village play area later this month that they both love! (We’ve not been for nearly a year). I also got excited and decided to book a holiday to France next summer with the hope that things will have calmed down by then.

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I am proud of myself for making it to college this week after last weeks wobble, it took a lot of strength and reflecting to get past it as old me would have struggled and probably spat the dummy out (given up).

As I walked back to my car which was parked in a multi-storey carpark, I suddenly found myself thinking there was no one around and even though it was light I was thinking how easy it would have been for someone to be lurking around a corner, so I found myself running up the stairs. I have also been parking as close to the door as possible so that I don’t have to walk across the car park. I would never have thought twice about this until Sarah Everard’s murder, and I found myself feeling a little uneasy but at the same time thinking is this how I’m supposed to feel from now on? Is it not a good idea to be outside on my own? Especially after the tragic events of PCSO Julia James who was murdered earlier this week. An innocent woman walking her dog near her home, brutally bludgeoned to death and the killer remains unknown.

What can we do to protect ourselves? Are we supposed to walk around with a rape alarm, pepper spray? I will never condone anyone who walks around with a gun or knife however I do understand why some people may feel the need to, in order to feel safe. Just like people I know of who now sleep with baseball bats after being broken into.

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Last week I mentioned that I feel as though I am starting to rebel (or maybe I am just discovering my true self after my previous sheltered life) …I still can’t quite believe what I did. Anyone who knows me would know that I am not someone who has ever shown an interest in them let alone someone who would consider getting one, but something came over me. I did not even discuss getting one with anyone or seek approval. Yet here I am, with a purple heart tattoo on my arm!! It may not sound like a big deal, but for me it is.

My friends and family where shocked particularly as I am normally someone who needs permission to do things particularly as drastic as this, however they love it. They are probably wondering what’s next!! Aside from having a new hair style next week I don’t have any other plans (for now!).

I decided to book an appointment to give blood later this year (I have to wait a few months after having my tattoo) for the first time since being pregnant with my eldest daughter. Despite having health anxiety and not liking ‘medical’ environments I have given blood a few times and would like to start again.

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Finally, I wanted to share some happy news that I found. An alternative to plastic that can be composted (and even eaten) has won an award for innovation. Dr Anne Lamp has designed a system to transform agricultural residues into a range of plastics, which in turn can be safely reintegrated into the food supply chain. The process can cut carbon emissions by 87 per cent compared to conventional plastics production – and it promises to compete on price, too.

I’m not sure how I would feel about eating sweet wrappers, but I love the fact that it would be put on the compost heap and no longer polluting the environment. What an inspiring woman Dr Anne Lamp is, I truly hope this takes off!