25 Oct Autumn 2020 – Team News
NEWS | INSIGHTS | ACTIONS | CHANGE
Hello from all the team at Unravel! We hope you are keeping safe and well, aware and mindful at this time, particularly since face-to-face interaction has started to move towards to some level of normality. In this newsletter we would like to focus on sharing some news about what we have been doing to keep our services as proactive as possible, as well as reflecting on the most recent lessons we have all hopefully learnt over the past few months to maintain our well-being.
Summer is over and it is back to school again, although everything seems to look and feel so different this time. The world does not seem to be the same, vigilance is high and discomfort felt by many. However “the show must go on” and our minds can and need to thrive whatever the circumstances as this is how we are designed and evolve.
Undoubtedly, you will have already done such a huge job preparing for your children to return to school and the transition back to face-to-face interaction. Expectations must be high, together with the pressures of adhering to all the guidelines put in place to keep our children safe.
Let’s not forget about the human side of all these experiences. As much as we would like everything to be perfect, we need to feel grounded and calm to remain focused and effective. To do that, we would like to share with you three main strategies to help you stay mindful and well-balanced in all of your face to face interactions and relationships:
– Listen vs Talk
In any situation, whether familiar or uncertain, try not to spend too much of your precious time rehearsing or preparing to be ready to act in a certain way. It is really important to maintain some degree of flexibility and readiness for whatever may happen during an interaction. Try to simply be present in the moment to listen, notice and ask questions. That’s right, ask questions, as they will help you to hear the message in the way it is intended to be conveyed. We can all react based on our previous knowledge of others’ behaviours and can react with our own individual interpretations and assumptions. Asking questions for clarity in the here and now helps to avoid any previous or current assumptions and any anticipatory behaviour on our part. Questions will also show that we are being attentive and interested in whomever we are communicating with, helping to create a strong reciprocal rapport to further strengthen those relationships.
– Think vs Worry
We can often worry about what might happen during an interaction, particularly with those we have a strong bond, either professionally or personally, based on what has already happened to them. Our brains are very helpful to us in terms of keeping us alert and out of trouble when we need it. However, we do need to be mindful to apply some filtering in order to rationalise a situation in the moment, rather than simply following our alert system too literally. Our human brains are so naturally good at automatically looking for strong predictions of the worst case scenarios. This is why it it so important to watch and regulate messages we communicate to others, especially the children and young people we are educating, inspiring and caring for. Children will hear that you care rather than feeling our worry and fear. Children worry for themselves so hearing it from us just makes their “emotional bucket” heavier. Sharing your thoughts and caring messages helps children’s emotional well-being and development, to use their past experiences as wisdom for future interactions, rather than mistakes they may come to regret.
– Hope vs Wish
Communicating hope rather than regret is so important when we are trying to connect with others who feels disconnected. Someone may already be feeling regret and disappointment, struggling to focus on a positive direction. Make sure you use messages full of direction and alternatives for positive change whilst validating what has already happened. This will create an opportunity for them to reflect, learn and grow. Share personal hope, as when you allow others to see that you believe in them and that things can work out, this will inspire their curiosity and focus for change.
During August, most of us here at Unravel were working either from home or face to face with private clients. We were also working on a variety of projects and collating various helpful resources so they can be to hand when we need them. Our organisational structure is continuously evolving and many of us now have home computers and mobile phones to provide the best level of communication and support to our clients. We have also started to organise some work with care leavers in Rotherham, which will provide many young people with the support they so desperately need.
In addition, we have brought together all our articles and supportive material produced during this period into a new manual. Published at the beginning of September, we are pleased to report that it is already generating positive feedback. “Healthy minds, happy kids” is all about supporting parents, carers and teachers of children and young people to navigate emotional challenges during these challenging times and beyond. Some of this content has been featured on both BBC radio and television broadcasts, and local and national newspapers to support families and the general public. We are happy and proud to share this with you.
It was not all about work and planning though. Many Unravellers had holidays, mostly here in the UK. To be able to completely disconnect from what we do as a job is so important to help to refresh and reset all our senses, restoring balance and recharging strength. Holidaying this time around did feel different, in the midst of everything unfolding and changing.
It’s certainly different communicating and connecting with other people whilst wearing a face mask and keeping our distance. It’s almost as if we have had to remain very alert and vigilant all the time, noticing more things than usual. Of course, this can beneficial to us and help us to check in with what we are feeling but can also be emotionally, mentally and physically tiring and at times, overwhelming. Our brains need much more energy during times like these and reflecting on your experiences at the end of your day can become a very powerful habit to practise to make sure we let things go to keep us calm and focussed for the days ahead.
We do hope you managed to have some restful time during this summer break.
Please CONTACT US to discuss what we can do to support you as best we can through emotionally challenging times such as these.
Meet Laura, her child was supported by one of our Unravellers during the Covid-19 pandemic:
“…My daughter has much improved now and I’m getting my little girl back to how she was before. She does have sadness and worry still, but I feel it is much more manageable and I can help her more with it, I think it is because she is so kind and aware that she takes on all the troubles of the world! She is really enjoying drawing and has made some new friends outside of her normal group, so things are looking better. Thank you for your help and understanding.”