Strength in connecting with others

Our Peer Support Workers offer amazing support to HeadsUp participants, but it’s also important that the project supports them too as being an ear for others is a tricky and often intense role to have. All of our PSW’s have lived experience of common mental health problems themselves so providing them with opportunities to share thoughts, concerns and ideas is vital to the overall health of our team and in turn provides the best possible opportunity to deliver a positive and healthy project.

One way that we look after our PSW’s is through Group Supervision sessions and one of our PSW’s shares the benefit that she felt from attending as she says ‘I didn’t realise how much I needed it or appreciate how much it would benefit me’, it was;

• Great to meet colleagues from other project areas
• It was good to talk about absolutely anything – home life, work life, how you’re feeling etc
• When you get things off your chest it does feel like a cloud has floated away
• It’s equally beneficial to be able to assist others in some way
• Received some really good advice about what you can do if feeling low
• I have always lived alone and don’t like group settings so try to avoid them if I can. I can be quite quiet in a group and this makes me feel awkward, but this group meeting was quite
different – hugely beneficial

And the key statement here I think is this one which just goes to show how important interacting with other human beings is especially when things are feeling a little tough.

‘Connecting with others lifted my spirits and am looking forward to meeting and chatting with HeadsUp colleagues in December when we will all don something Christmassy’

Tackling a dip in our sense of wellbeing

Over the last few weeks we have noticed that some of our participants are struggling with their wellbeing. The continued uncertainty caused by local and national lockdowns has left some participants feeling more vulnerable and less optimistic about their future goals. Their Peer Support Worker supports them, discussing their concerns but also looking at practical steps they can take to get closer to achieving their goals. Here are some of the things that PSW’s are saying to their participants at the moment:

“ Stay mobilised. Doing something physical doesn’t have to be about exercising but about staying mobile and active. There are proven benefits of keeping active for our physical and mental health.”

“Listen to music. Put your favourite song or music on. You can sing and dance along or you can take those minutes to take a moment for yourself.”

“Try to cook something new and healthy each day. You can try this on a budget and see what meal tasted the best for the least amount of money. Taking time to look at ingredients that you use will benefit your overall wellbeing.”

“Try to focus on the future. Although times feel incredibly strange, things will pass. This is a temporary moment in a sea of uncertainty.”

All great advice when things around you are challenging!

Keeping positive in a tricky job market

With unemployment figures set to rise further in the coming months, it is understandable that some of our participants are feeling apprehensive about entering the competitive job market. Some have stated that they feel deflated at not hearing back from applications or from being unsuccessful at interview.

So how can we go about helping participants?

We understand the importance of not only helping our participants build confidence but also to build on their resilience. As they progress through the project, they challenge themselves by undertaking employment related tasks often things they’ve not done for years or ever! With our support we offer participants practical tasks that they can undertake to “dust themselves off and try again”.

Here are some of the recent top tips our Peer Support Workers are discussing with their participants to help them keep positive and motivated;

• Remember that the current job market is extremely competitive and therefore to get to an interview is a huge achievement
• Make every application count! Spend time on it and double and triple check you are happy with it
• Get someone to proof read your application – is it fluid and articulate? Does it represent your skillset and the job specification?
• Don’t just apply for any job, make sure your skills reflect what’s being asked for
• Ask the employer for interview feedback: knowing why you were unsuccessful helps you to prepare for the next interview.
• Talk through the interview with the someone, talk about how it made you feel, how you felt it went, did you identify any particularly difficult questions that you can practice? We can
learn so much through an interview!
• Ensure that you tailor every CV specifically to the job that you are applying for – we know it takes time to get your application and CV completed, but a well thought out CV evidences
your commitment to the role from the get go!
• Resilience is key- if you are not successful try try and try again.

Our PSW’s have some wonderful tips and resources to support your journey back to work.

Make the best of the winter months

We recognise that as the days get shorter, the weather colder and as it’s getting closer and closer to the end of the year, it is getting harder to keep your motivation and spirits up. It is hard to beat the winter blues. However, there are lots of great opportunities out there at the moment, this blog is going to run through some of them, and hopefully give inspiration and spark ideas.

Christmas Temp work for example is a great way to get some experience and a bit of money around Christmas, you can carry on job searching throughout the holidays, but having something recent for your CV and a up to date reference will go in your favour!

There are a lot of Apprenticeships available which will give you training and work experience rolled in to one, this is great if you are starting out in your career, changing career or want to learn an unfamiliar industry

AND the good news is more and more jobs are coming on to the job market so now is a better time than ever to update your CV and get applying!

Whilst you are staying in more over the winter months why not complete some free online courses, you can still carry on your search for work, but having some recent courses to put on your CV is very beneficial.

So get looking and applying and persevere – even if you do have to do it whilst wrapped in a blanket with a hot chocolate!