It’s Mental Health Awareness Week so my focus is on finding the joy in life. I’m giving thanks to all the people who’ve supported me over the last difficult year and celebrating the achievements and new relationships that have come out of one of the most challenging times of my life so far.
Now, as many of us languish somewhere between the fear and excitement at the prospect of ‘normality’, the virtual lifestyle is still messing with our minds. Even Mr Zoom said he’s fatigued from hours of looking at himself on screen! And despite the Government’s bravado about about replacing elbow pumps with hugs from 17th May, the perceived wisdom is that we should still maintain social distancing with those not in our immediate bubble.
We need some strategies to keep focused and not let the relaxing of lockdown confuse and overwhelm us. I don’t know if you’ve had the same experience, but even the few social get togethers I’ve had over the last month have left me feeling exhausted and a little bit emotional. While it has been fantastic to see some of my friends and family in ‘real life’, I’ve spent so much time with just my husband for company, I’ve got out of the habit of socialising and having a conversation about anything other than what we are going to have for supper or watch on Netflix!
So, what’s your strategy to reboot your contact with people? We warm up our bodies in preparation for physical exercise so it’s just as important to warm up mentally for anything you have to do that involves your mind, creatively and strategically.
If you are going back into a physical workplace, some gentle online networking with your colleagues and business contacts will help as we discovered when we ran our HERlarious event at the end of April. It was great to facilitate discussions, generate conversations and share experiences.
On the comedy front, I am excited to be running my first live, in person Stand Up to Stand Out comedy workshop in over a year back at the Groucho Club in London next month. Numbers are limited but I’m looking forward to kickstarting a few more comedy careers. Giving women the confidence to embrace humour whether they want to perform or write comedy, or encouraging them to speak up in the boardroom, is my favourite part of what I do.
The amazing team here at Funny Women has really worked hard to keep our community active and connected and, as we embark on the 2021 Funny Women Awards, some of the adaptations we made last year in the first flush of lockdown, have turned out to be a brilliant way of expanding the competition and opening entry up around the world.
This all goes to prove that Funny Women is truly my ‘happy place’ as it embraces everything I hold dear – friendships, humour, entertainment and empowerment. We’re here to get you back out there – with courses, workshops, gigs and the Awards. If ever there was a time to try something new, it’s now!
That said, it will be a while before any kind of normality returns and it may all look and feel completely different to before. In the meantime, let’s take things slowly and cautiously being aware of the mental impact that the last year has had on us all. Our minds will take a while to catch up and deal with the emotional overload of being in the company of friends, family and colleagues again, so please be extra kind to yourself and anybody you connect with during Mental Health Awareness Week.
PS: If you want a good way of committing to a personal ‘reboot’ and getting some extra support please consider becoming a Funny Women Patron from as little as £1.50 a month for a virtual hug of goodwill to a full on package of merchandise, exclusive content and free tickets. All details on Patreon here.
Book your place for Stand Up to Stand Out at The Groucho Club on Saturday 19th June here!