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Hi, I’m Charlotte

#CheckInTuesday

Hi everyone, my name is Charlotte and I’m one of the shiny new College Wellbeing Practitioners! I wanted to talk to you today about connecting – a really important topic in this time of isolation. I’ve heard lots of people talking about feeling lonely and disconnected right now, and I think it can almost take more effort at the moment to establish connections and keep existing relationships going, with the physical barriers and suspicion/fear (not to mention dodgy internet!). I want to share something that has helped me build and nurture connections in my life and I hope might inspire you too. 

One thing I started just before the lockdown, prompted by a good friend having a really tough time, was Check-in Tuesdays. Confession time: I have a memory like a goldfish and it felt like I was constantly beating myself up for forgetting to message this person or that person, and forever carrying around this heavy bag of guilt for being a ‘bad’ friend. I noticed that the day I was most likely to remember to get in touch with friends was my uni day, a Tuesday, and as soon as I discovered the catchiness of the phrase Check-in Tuesday, I knew I was onto a winner – into my memory it was planted like a bright, beautiful seed waiting to bloom. And bloom it did.

Starting with one person, it grew and grew to a whole garden of people in my life – not everyone every week, but that was better than none at all (as I initially had to sternly tell the niggly voice inside my head). I found that not only was my heavy bag of guilt becoming lighter and less troublesome to carry around, checking in with friends was a lovely way to start (and continue) the day – my whole mood was brighter and I felt my friends truly knew I was there for them. Plus it ticks TWO Ways to Wellbeing boxes (Connect and Give, with a touch of Notice) – win, win!

Now I’m not suggesting that you have to go away and start Thinking-Of-You Thursday or contact everyone you know right now, but just wanted to give you a flavour of how one simple thing involving connecting and kindness can really affect your whole being – at least that’s what it did for me. There’s a lot of evidence that giving gives back to the givers as well as the receivers (try saying that fast!) – giving can often make you feel great, as can connecting with our favourite people. It is important to remember my favourite saying, though: You can only do what you can do. Anything, no matter how small, that gets you connecting is enough. Yes, no matter how small. And if you’re anything like me you won’t feel like reaching out everyday – we all have different social batteries that need more or less time to recharge. I’m hoping though, you might pause and consider: How can I get a bit more connection in my life right now? Who might benefit from me digitally dropping in on them once in a while in these uncertain times? To quote a well-known phrase: Every little helps.

By Charlotte Fry

College Wellbeing Practitioner