Mental Health Awareness Week – 10th to 16th May 2021
I don’t remember talking about feelings at school. I don’t remember my parents talking about how they felt and I certainly have some amazing relatives who have lived through so much. Yet they don’t talk about how it made them feel, nor the effect it has had on them.
Bottling it up
I am very much a bottle it up kind of person. Bottle it up, put a lid on it and crack on! This is something I am trying to work on as seeing my children copying me is heart breaking. I’d often sit there and think “What is going on in her head? Why is she acting that way?” I’d then realise that my girls only see my actions and don’t get a chance to know what made me behave that way.
Learning from each other
Whilst holding it together, I thought, had worked well for me; that resilience can be seen as a strength, long term it is good to talk. This is something my children and I have been working on together for the last few years. We have books about emotions: journals we complete together where we write down three positive things from the day. I am trying to explain how things make me feel and ‘why’ and ‘what’ I can do about it, and how our actions make others feel.
My youngest had a lot of anxiety about lockdown easing, understandably, and about going back into the routine of school. She had nightmares, was tearful and really struggled. She was conflicted between wanting to see her friends and the giant step that ‘getting back to normal’ seemed to her, so when she came up with the idea of the ‘Feelings Rainbow’ I was blown away.
The Feelings Rainbow is a spectrum of coloured rings. It radiates out from a central ‘Happy,’ through ‘Sad’ and ‘Worried’, to ‘Annoyed’ and ‘Angry’. Sometimes it’s a conversation starter and we then chat about why she feels that way. At other times she uses the Feelings Rainbow to let me know she needs a hug, or some time to herself doing something she loves, to calm down.
What colour are your feelings?
If you know someone else who might like to make their own Feelings Rainbow, then we’ve created a printable file from Faye’s original designs to inspire them to give it a go. You can download or print it here: Faye’s Feeling Rainbows
As those famous TV adverts say it really is ‘good to talk,’ whether that be to someone you live with, or to a friend, a relative or a befriender.
You can find a list of befriending organisations, and phonelines with friendly, ‘happy to chat’ volunteers at the end of them, in our Rural Coffee Caravan Virtual Leaflet Rack. There’s also a section with more information on our Noticeboard page.