Tag Archives: Helping Others

Self Care In A Pandemic (42): What Are Your Mentors And Role Models Doing?

I don’t know who you look up to in life, or what you aspire your life to be more like. Many people when they are younger have role models that they look up to in terms of their career / occupation, fame, beauty, fortune or lifestyle.

As we gain in maturity, however, and as we realise more of ourselves in this world, and experience more of the harsh realities of life, our ideals and aspirations can change.

A ‘phenomenon’ of the past decade has been the rise of You Tube ‘vloggers’, personalities and influencers. While it is commendable that many young people have been quite entrepreneurial in building up these platforms and working hard to do so in what was once a new media form, I do feel disheartened that so many of them never seem to move past ‘influencing’ in terms of brands, beauty, health and fashion.

I think with maturity (not necessarily age) comes the desire to use our platforms, our voice for a greater good and to speak up on issues regarding social justice, helping others, raising awareness of key issues in society rather than just fun, games, and self focussed content. That’s not to say that these people aren’t putting something positive and hopeful into the world, it’s just not something after a certain age many of us want to aspire to or stop at.

In terms of role models and ‘mentors’ or people who I look up to, it is those who have faced and overcome adversity and who are seeking to help other people with what they have been through and what they have learned. I think this is because this is a journey I am on myself, having overcome many hurdles, and being on the cusp of being able to do more to help others as I continue to recover myself. I also look to people who are more focused on the inner content of their characters rather than only the outward appearance of things, although I do think there is a place for aesthetics and outward beauty, we only need to look to the creation and beauty of nature to see this and to think about how images and pictures and art can boost our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Whoever it is you look to, perhaps this is a good season to think about what they are doing and how they are finding positive ways forwards in the pandemic.

Are there people, whether known personally to you or not, who are doing something to help other people in this pandemic?

Are there those who are advocating for mental health, social justice, fairness, and humanity?

Are there others who are reaching out to the most downtrodden of society and seeking to lift them up and give them the chances that they never had?

Do you have role models who are overcoming or who have overcome adversity and who can provide a pattern for you to follow, or at least some ideas for you to implement in your own life?

While we may sometimes feel at a loss in this pandemic for what to do, how to use our time, or how even to make it through our days ‘in once piece’ if we are really struggling, it can be helpful to look to the lives of others who have found or are finding the strength to persevere and to make the most of what they have got, live out lives of faith and put kindness back into the world as they help others.

Who inspires you today? What lessons can you take from their example to apply to your life this week? x

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*Thank You* & Celebrations

This week I have two special occasions; a birthday, and reaching the milestone of 500 + blog followers. I know this might seem a humble number for some of you, but for me, my blog started at a point where things were very difficult for me personally and I thought that if I can write to help myself and even just one other person then it would be worth it. The thought that I might be able to encourage each of you is a real gift and blessing to me ❤

So, I want to Give Thanks for this journey, and to thank each of you for being part of it, so here is a celebratory picture of a mini cupcake from my recent birthday, and also a celebratory Word Press badge 🙂

Thanks friends. x

Helping People in the Time of Coronavirus…

The other day, I was talking on the phone with a Christian friend of mine, and she encouraged me for us both to pray for each other to know how God would have us serve Him and help other people in this time.

Neither of us are by nature the boldest or most confident of people, but sometimes we all just need to be willing to seek and find ways to help other people.

Perhaps you are similar. Maybe you want to use some of your time to help other people but don’t quite know where to start or maybe opportunities arise but you don’t feel confident in them. I have a confession to make that this is where I found myself, and therefore thought that writing a blog post would be a good place to start.

My friend and I were discussing ways in which prior to Covid-19, our churches did face-to-face work with international students to help them feel more welcome in our city when they were so far away from home and everything familiar to them in terms of culture, language, day-to-day life, and far from friends and family. We decided to pray about whether God wants us to help international students in any way or to use us in other ways.

Well, shortly after this, I came across an email from my church that I had perhaps missed before. It was a volunteering opportunity to provide telephone or online support for a short time to international students far from home, to have someone to talk to, practice their English with, and be a source of friendship and support during their start to the University year in the time of the pandemic.

I saw this and thought that’s a great idea. I only saw it a few days ago, at the start of October, but as I read through the volunteer application, for some reason, doubts began to creep into my mind. It said that the start of this would be the end of September. I start overthinking whether or not it’s too late to get involved. My friend was the one particularly interested in international student ministry, but she is away visiting family elsewhere so I can’t update her properly about it. What if I don’t know what to say, or if I’m not good at helping people practice their English, what if I’m not good at it? Doubts and questions came to my mind, as did the thought that I had previously wanted to volunteer somehow to ‘befriend’ by telephone an older person, isolated during the pandemic. Of course some of this may just seem ‘silly’ and overthinking, but I do have generalised anxiety disorder, and in a way this situation has kept me from action as well as prompting me to take action.

While the above doubts caused me to hesitate in one area, they also have spurred me to write this blog post to encourage you.

Sometimes we know we want to help but don’t know where to start. At other times, opportunities may arise but perhaps a lack of confidence or other commitments in our lives may ‘get in the way’ if we allow them, from taking action.

While in such cases, we may respond by ‘beating ourselves up about it’, we can also look at things another way.

If you want to help people, don’t feel discouraged if you are not doing as much as other people, or as much as you had hoped to. Simply start from where you are and allow that momentum to build.

There are so many people in need of help right now that if you miss one opportunity that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t be there to pick it up, or that you won’t find another opportunity. The whole world is in need of help.

As I said, start from where you are.

– Look around you and consider the people in your life whom you know and can provide some support or encouragement to.

– Maybe you can be that compassionate and listening ear to a friend who is going through a hard time. If you are not in a position to provide that level of support, perhaps you could send an encouraging text, email, message or card, or give someone a phone call to let them know you care.

-Maybe you can’t volunteer regularly at a food bank, but perhaps you could make a donation, or help one of your neighbours.

-Maybe you are helping others in your job or home or personal life and taking some time to recharge your own batteries right now is the best thing you can do to continue to be there for other people without ‘burning out’.

-Perhaps you can commit to praying for certain people.

-What do you enjoy doing and are good at? Maybe you’ve missed an opportunity, but you can take more time to reflect upon what you can do and start researching ways in which you can get involved in other things.

– Think about how to lighten the load of the people in your life just now if you live with others. Can you help with housework, can you take time to talk, or simply encourage times of fun and laughter, relaxation and play during what might be a stressful time?

– Can you use your platform as a blogger to share some love and kindness and encouragement? Maybe you can write a post about mental health and wellbeing, you could share encouraging stories of what you have experienced and learned from this very strange year, as it may be just what someone else needs to hear.

– Are you artistic or musical or creative in some way, and can you use and develop these gifts and talents to bring happiness to someone else?

There are so many ways we can continue to reach out to and help and support each other. Maybe we don’t always get it right, but a willingness to take these small steps forward, and making a change little by little could make a real difference to someone in need in these challenging times.

Take care, be kind to yourself and each other, and God bless. x

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Winter Survival Guide (26) ~ Reach Out and Ask For Help.

It’s a time for giving, a time for receiving…”,

“Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore, faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more, through the years we all will be together…

Can you think of other Christmas songs that warm our hearts with sentiments of togetherness, love, friendship, kinship and cosy happy times?

There are also many other songs, not particularly related to this season that also speak of the bonds we share and our need for one another:

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…”

“I won’t be afraid, I won’t shed a tear, just as long as you stand, stand by me”

Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on, for it won’t be long till I’m gonna’ need somebody to lean all….I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load, if you just call me….”

We have to realise that we all need each other, and we were created to be that way too. However, we live in an increasingly fractured and individualistic society, where we may feel ashamed or frightened to admit that we are as human as everyone else and need some help, support or friendship.

If you’re in this situation, please receive the encouragement from someone who has been in need and has at various times in my life had to reach out for help when I just couldn’t get through life on my own. It’s normal, it’s ok, and we all need each other. Someday you’ll be the one lending a helping hand, another day you might be the one needing help, life ebbs and flows and changes like the seasons.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and ask someone. Express what you need and ask for help. Sure, you might not receive a favourable response at all times, but ‘keep asking, seeking and knocking’ and you will come to an open door.

Don’t allow pride to keep you from the help and support that may be readily and generously available to you. Maybe the help you need is something fairly straightforward but that would make a real difference to you – you might be hosting a dinner party, and find that things are getting a bit hard to manage in preparing for it – in that case, why not ask a friend to help you do the cooking, or better still if there are a group of you then ask everyone to bring a dish, ‘pot luck’ style so that the work is shared and you all can spend more time focusing on enjoying each others company?

Your needs might be of a deeper and more serious nature, and in that case I definitely encourage you to please reach out and ask for help. It may be that you are going through a hard time with your mental and emotional health. Even if you don’t know anyone personally to turn to, there will be a doctor, a helpline, an organisation or charity that you can reach out to, to help tide you through this difficult time.

We all need each other, and none of us are meant to go it alone. Don’t talk yourself out of pursuing help if you are in need, simply because someone else has rejected you at some time or another – I’ve been turned down, and refused help when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable, but those people weren’t meant to be the ones to be there for me – others came along and were a real ‘God-send’. Receiving help from others enabled me to eventually get back up on my feet and lean hard into God’s strength so that I don’t need other people in the same way right now and I can use this strength that I have received to help and encourage other people.

If you are struggling to reach out and ask for help, try thinking of it this way – the help you allow yourself to receive today, could lead to the strength you have ‘tomorrow’ (some time in the future) to be the one to support and help someone else. Surely that is worth it?

man and woman near grass field
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Winter Survival Guide (25) ~ Offer to Help.

Helping others is often very good for us too. As the winter season draws in, it is not uncommon with the drop in temperatures, the low light levels, and shorter days for out mood to also drop.

We can become sluggish, lethargic and inwardly focused if we are not careful. Offering to help someone else can help us to keep an outward focus, think about the needs of other people, feel more productive and be more active.

You don’t need to overstretch yourself, but if you are in the position to, why not offer to help someone else with something?

Does your mum need help to organise a family event? Would your wife appreciate your help cooking dinner? Can you pick up some things from the shops for your elderly neighbour while you are doing your own shopping? Can you help a younger brother or sister prepare for their nativity play? Can you help with organising a particular event in your community, or babysit for a friend so that they can get a bit of a break?

Helping others ‘survive’ and thrive this winter can also go a long way to helping ourselves too. x

adult blond board brunette
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One sentence inspiration.

Boundaries can in fact protect relationships and friendships- you need the time and space to look after yourself if you are to be there for others, and to be a positive influence; don’t feel bad for taking care of yourself, it is a good thing for others as well as yourself, but also respect others enough to kindly communicate those boundaries when you can.

bench countryside couple dating
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