On a coaching call last night, and I asked what does Level 2 mean for everyone. For some it does mean freedom and the chance to move forward with plans, for others it brings with it a huge amount of anxiety and fear of the unknown.
Whether people are immunocompromised and are fear of still getting COVID, or whether people have lost jobs in this time, or the future of their business is uncertain. Maybe relationships have changed over this time and now is the time where affairs need to be dealt with. Maybe as Te Raumahora. Our Whanau Leader, mentioned online recently people have been supported with housing or other living arrangements and now are facing struggles as those options come to an end.
For others it may be that for a while we were all in the same storm, but as we head towards a new normal, some may feel like they are being left behind again.
For some it may be that actually what they are going through has nothing to do with COVID, and it is ongoing battles they are fighting and that actually it makes no difference what Level it is.
If this is you. We hear you. We hear your pain and your struggles and we want to reassure you that you are not on your own on this journey. We may not have all the answers, but we are here in your waka to weather the storm with you.
I have been having many discussions with clients and in different groups that I run, around feeling safe during this time and really any time that causes us anxiety. Here are some of the ideas people find have worked for them.
Support and connection with others. Having a support network, this comes up so often, but in this case it really is those people, or even one person that can help reassure you, that gets it, that understands. It may not be a friend or family member, it may be a therapist, a member of the Retreat team or someone from another organisation that you have that relationship with.
Support and connection with ourselves. When we don’t have this self-connection going on things can feel very rocky, or we may feel that all the ‘good stuff’ is going to disappear. Tuning in to our own needs and responding to them, being kind, being gentle are all things that will help us feel calmer, feel safer, more grounded.
Looking after ourselves. This is probably talked about in every wellbeing article ever, but a reminder is always good! It can be hard to feel safe when we are not sleeping well, eating well, getting enough water, moving our body in a way that works for us. There are basics for survival (check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and it can be very hard to plan/move forward/create/resolve/action when we don’t have some of those basics going on. So what could be something in this area that you could do to look after you today?
Having a purpose. Some felt that having a sense of purpose helps bring meaning in to their life giving them another focus as well as the warm fuzzies when we do make a difference in someone else’s life. Sometimes when we are struggling that’s all we can see, it’s all that goes round in our head, a focus like this can help us give our mind a break from that for a while.
Imagine that safety. Thinking back to a time or place, whether just quietly or through journaling, that gave you that sense of safety, where were you, who were you with, what were you doing, sit in that space for a while and really wrap yourself up in those feelings again.
Identify your reliables. Whether that’s a playlist of favourite songs, a cuddle with the cat or a walk with the dog, a favourite spot around the house, in the garden or locally that just helps you feel the love or through four-legged ways, gives you that unconditional love that is so magical at these times.
So whether you have read this article for yourself or maybe there’s someone you can pass it on to, we hope it’s given you some thoughts to ponder on, and maybe spend some time with these points and seeing what may help you feel reassured, safe, secure, and grounded, because you so deserve to feel that way. And if you are feeling strong, confident and okay on all of this, maybe keep eyes and ears open for those that may not be. It may not be who you think, and they may be finding it hard to put their hand up or reach out.
You are loved.
You are supported.
We are here.
Liz the Life Coach
You may have heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs being mentioned on social media over the last few weeks. It explains what we need in order to survive, and how over these times, actually sometimes we just need to focus on the basics.
Feeling safe is one of these basics. It can be very hard to think about a new career path, finding a new job, or even rewriting our CV, when our foundations are feeling very unstable and there are so many unknowns out there.
Talking on a group call recently, and we were discussing how we feel safe. One of the ways just before lockdown for me was to fill my car up with petrol. Ironic as we weren't allowed to go anywhere, but that felt right for me. There would have been many reasons why people panic-shopped, but I can imagine for a large proportion it was around feeling safe, whether it was a conscious thing or not.
What can feeling safe look like for you? On the call I mentioned, there was a real feel of needing to have a purpose helped people to feel safe. I have one friend who has posted amusing things on his Facebook feed, and when I talked to him about it, he said it was to break up the tirade of fear and conspiracy etc that can sometimes collect there. For others it has been connecting with friends, supporting neighbours or the elderly, for others, fundraising, whatever that purpose is, it has helped people feel grounded and safe.
Something else that came up on the call, was support, and being really specific with this. Identifying those friends that we can call upon, others that maybe we can be distracted by and just have a giggle. We may not ever need to call on them, but just identifying who they are, can be really helpful.
For me, its also around having a physical space. A spot that I can go to and hunker down for a bit. Do you have a spot at home, in the garden or local to you, maybe by the river or down at the beach, that help you feel connected to Papatuanuku and safe?
Maybe it is through meditation, yoga, other practices, that help you get out of the overwhelm of fear in your head, connect in with your body and soul, and feel grounded once more.
How about spending some time thinking about what it is for you, so not only can it become part of a regular routine, you also have it up your sleeve for those times that those foundations are feeling a bit unstable.
And one last thing, don't forget to put the team at the Taranaki Retreat down in your support crew. Always here.
Liz the Life Coach, who hangs out over here
There's a inevitable frustration that comes with the not-knowing, and that's having an impact - sometimes in subtle ways - and, for some of us, in running low on patience.
Those of us who are planners need order where there's that lack of clarity - or even a stressful feeling of chaos and overload. With that in mind - having a go at "if this, then that" - as a scribbled flowchart can be helpful to mind, if it is racing.
The Retreat is here as part of a tapestry of a Community doing 'Recovery Together" - Kotahitanga. Last week we shared some of the contents of kete for support through Grief and Loss. This week our focus is on Tough Times. Economics. As most of us have experienced, financial problems can impact every area of our lives, and easily spiral out of control. Some of us face the terrors of that spiral right here, right now. We want to support you and yours through this.... We have excellent friendships with Budget Services and Grant-Making Bodies - we can help you when you're just not sure where to turn.
In our Kete for Tough-Times, we also offer:
1. Support from our Awesome Coach
What does the next chapter look like? Know something needs to change but not sure what? Time spent with our Life Coach can give a fresh perspective on where you are at, a reminder of what is important, some understanding of what might have got in the way in the past, and what may be some new avenues to pursue next.
2. A Business Brainstorm
A session with a business coach may help bring some clarity on what your options are or some ideas as as to how the business can be tweaked in these changing times. Maybe you are thinking of going self-employed or starting something and want to have a chat with someone as to whether this is viable or what some next steps might be.
3. Outreach Support Visits/Advocacy
Regular, informal catch ups face to face with a support worker to chat and be listened to. It’s a regular get together to discuss what’s been happening for you and to download what’s on your mind. This can be done in a place you are comfortable and feel safe, such as a visit to Taranaki Retreat or somewhere else like a cafe, the park or a beach.
4. Support Checkins
For some people, meeting face to face can be challenging. We understand that everyone is different and has their own way of doing things or perhaps you live out of the area but still need to chat? Whatever method you prefer to use to communicate is no problem for us. We can catch up regularly with you via email, phone, text or Skype to name a few.
5. Health and Wellbeing sessions
Self care is an essential part of our wellbeing, and even more so when things are tough. Sadly it is often the thing that goes out the window first. These sessions come in many forms, and can be a great starting place to ensure that we are filling up our tanks first. When we have our tanks full we have much more capacity to deal with what we are facing at the time, whether this be finding a job, dealing with staff, communicating with WINZ, starting a new venture.
We know these are tough times for many but if you are in position to offer some help, please consider supporting us. You can make a donation easily from our website or if you like to know exactly where your money will be used you can choose to Shout someone a stay, or a therapeutic session or a meal - have a look here for the options available. We appreciate every donation made towards our work, it all adds up to make a difference. Together, we can BE the change we want to see. And if you have a great fundraising idea (right now we need to think about alternative and out-of-the-box ways to fundraise) then we would love to hear from you!
No reira, tēna koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katou.
Jamie Allen, Executive Officer and a guy who wishes he had the hair left to shave...
Always having been "the strong one" or the person giving the care, now finding oneself being in need of a shoulder to lean on
Having to grieve alone (for any kind of loss). Knowing that soul-pain, and trying to get through it in isolation.We’re here for you, simple as that - kotahitanga - recovery together.
For this week's letter, I wanted to share with you a little from our Grief Support Kete, and have picked five of our resources to tell you a little about.
Does the image in this post look or feel familiar?
Some of these resources from our Kete could be what's needed right now:
1. Grief and Loss Workshop
If you, or a member of your whānau have endured a major loss - such as bereavement; loss of employment; loss of health / a recent diagnosis; divorce / separation / relationship breakdown... This support will bring new hope.
2. Remember My Loved-One
This is for you, if you have been through a bereavement, and would find a memorial occasion for them to be helpful. When we are grieving a loss, it helps to have ‘somewhere to go’. A place to remember them. Sometimes, that’s not always possible.
For some, at the time of the loss, tangi/funeral may not have been a healing experience. Revisiting that, and making new memories can be helpful. Together, we will plan a brief, uncluttered time of memorial for your loved one, to take place at the Retreat. There also is the opportunity to prepare and paint a memorial rock, bearing their name, and place it in the Retreat’s Garden of Remembrance.
3. Support from Our AWESOME Coach
Sometimes this is a one-off; sometimes the beginning of a more in-depth healing support journey. The mahi begins with a focus on what motivates you and what is holding you back. A great tool to untangle your thoughts and feelings around where you are at/where you want to be and offers you guidelines on how to work towards your goals.
4. Buddied Blogging
Ideal for when there's a physical distance between the Retreat and you - or when sitting down with someone to talk feels like 'too hard basket' - or if writing is your ‘thing’. We offer a secure online shared blogging platform. There, people privately blog on a regular basis; and one of our Care Team sits alongside you as a buddy in your blogging, sharing the journey; and responding with encouragement and reflection. It can really help to process stuff - and is sometimes a great scene-setter for further support.
5. Grief Journaling
If you have experienced a bereavement in which the circumstances were tragic, and you are hurting from that loss - this programme could be for you. In five one-on-one or whānau sessions, your story will be heard and honoured; recognising the magnitude of your loss, the mix of painful emotions experienced, and providing tools and empowerment to recovery.
Any of these sound like a fit for you? Or is there someone it might be helpful to share this email with? Anyone can reach out to the Retreat via Facebook, calling 06 215 0993 or texting our team on 0204 189 1236.
Our Grief Support Team
Our grief support is primarily peer-orientated - in other words, those who deliver these supports have, themselves, walked that terrible walk; are highly familiar with its meandering path, and have found the ways for their heart and soul to heal. If that's you, and you would like to work alongside others on that journey - please get in touch. Our Team are trained, loved and supported in their mahi, and constantly "make the difference". Thank you!
Finally, it goes without saying, but saying it anyway
...no bull, these are pretty tricky times for any charity to survive through. I guess many of us are reflecting on where our giving can really make a difference. Please support our mahi if you possibly can. Thank you, so very much.
No reira, tēna koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katou.
Executive Officer and a guy who is alongside you in all this.
You may have heard quite a bit recently, about how things will look different moving forward. Restaurants and cafes working out new seating arrangements, schools coming up with new ways of running, workplaces entertaining the idea of teams working a lot more from home.
Sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming, but then there are also the thoughts out there of what have we learnt during this time, about ourselves, our habits, the wider community and beyond. We have heard stories of Papatuanuku having a chance to breathe once more and to heal. We have seen how communities have got together and connected while still abiding by physical distancing rules. We have seen how there have been some amazing fundraising efforts still going on. We have seen how people have reconnected, and even been trying new activities.
I feel there needs to be a balance between the two, to comprehend the seriousness of what the situation could have been, but also to really acknowledge some of the things that have come out of this time too. At a team hui last week, the word rhythm came up three times. After it had come up twice, I thought to myself if it comes up once more I will write about it. Sure enough...
Whether it is the rhythm of the moon and the tides, the seasons changing, the beginning and ending of old relationships and the beginning of ones, whether it is doors closing while others open, whether it is the rhythm of the sun rising, only to set again in the evening. All rhythms constantly happening in our world, consciously or not.
While I was writing I went to substitute the word routine, but it didn't feel right. Maybe routine was common in our world before COVID, but maybe finding our rhythm is key now. We have experienced what a slower world feels like, we have made do without access to a lot of shops for a fair few weeks now, we have been without the pressures of go, go, go, where busyness seems to be a status of success or something to compete with.
How could the rhythm of your life change in a positive way moving forward? What are some things that you may have done differently recently that could be sustainable?
Henry David Thoreau said "if a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
Liz the Life Coach to be found at www.liz-fry.com
There is much that we want to say - but we will keep this as concise as possible - always welcoming your contact and knowing that there is a need for us to be singing the same songs of hope and recovery as a wide and diverse whānau who are all committed to suicide prevention.
What have we been up to?
So much has shifted, and yet so much stays the same. The Retreat has continued operating during the nation's lockdown, as an Essential Service, but in different and inventive ways - with a constant aim of responding to need, whether Covid 19 related or not. We are very mindful that for some people, more change and deep isolation is just too much. Adapting, which we can be adept at - does take energy and focus. If we have trauma in our story, these new challenges can be horrendous. Accordingly, we have ramped up our one to one support for whānau in the community; delivering care packages, packed not just with staples, but aroha. Keeping in regular contact with people is vital. Sometimes sharing the load to an understanding ear can help ease some of the weight of those burdens.
Often, as a team with many good connections we can offer advocacy with accessing support (making those difficult phone calls - being the squeaky wheel etc); and our role can also be to provide resources specific to a situation. Something we are all re-learning in these very different times, is the importance of connection. We are lucky to have so many options available to do this, thanks to the Internet; something we will take away from our time during lockdown. But nothing beats human, physical presence alongside each other. We all need human connection, whatever form that takes; we need others in our lives. The enforced paused mode has higlighted for many what can be let go of (busyness?) and what stands out as vital.
We are looking forward to Level Two when our ways of supporting people will be so much easier - and have careful processes in place to make sure we do so safely.
Not too much to report of course, all our planned working bees and other ongoing site-works have had to be put on hold. We know how lucky we are to have such beautiful setting - everything on the site, except maybe the odd gorse bush, has been lovingly placed and gifted by a huge team of supporters, volunteers, staff and Guests. It is amazing to think that six years ago it was just a paddock! So many caring people have contributed to make the Retreat what it is. It is the compassion of our local peple writ large. Our Chapel (pictured above) is often a place of solace for those who are hurting, facing directly onot the gorgeous view of our ever-changing but ever-present mountain; it is a wonderful metaphor for hope. Sometimes we cannot see the mountain or any trace of it, but we know it is there and that the clouds will lift eventually. It does feel like we are gong in the right direction with the emergence from Level 4. We send our aroha to you and your bubble; please don't hesitate to reach out if you would like support, the challenges of the past few weeks are making their presence felt in a whole range of unexpected ways. The clouds will lift, we know this, and we have plenty of hope to share.
Whānau - whatever your situation - we want to hear about it.
Our strategy is a proactive response in the face of heightened national suicide risk due to Covid 19, and an exponential rise in those reaching out for support. Our kaupapa is to provide a unique presence and service for Aotearoa New Zealand. The reality is that we need support in times of distress and when hope is out of sight, and there are many cases where a person is returning to an isolated/solo-living situation following a close call, and continues to be at such risk and in terrible deep inner pain. Taranaki Retreat's service is open-ended and provides the space and support to recover and gain the hope that is the oxygen to continue living.
The Retreat was envisioned and created through the lived experience of whānau who know, from heart-breaking first-hand experience, that those needs for support at the right time were not sufficiently available, and more was desperately needed. They had attempted to seek help, but to no avail. More than any other set of circumstances, the emergence from Covid 19 is causing distress to many who have never before needed to reach out for support; who may feel shame in needing to do so (shame that we stand against; kotahitanga is how we are made to be!). We are passionate to provide proactive, focused, non-judgemental reaching out, rather than expecting the need to be self-identified. Please help us achieve this. Get involved; and please support us in any way you can, financially - our usual round of awesome fundraising events have been utterly scotched, and, as yet, we don't fully know the hows; but together, we will find the ways to do it anyway!
More to come, but at the beginning, we undertook to keep this brief!
No reira, tēna koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katou
Jamie Allen, Executive Officer and a guy who is alongside you in all this.