Mental Health is often top of my list of priorities. Especially working within healthcare, I often say that you can’t pour from an empty bucket. You need to look after you first before you can care for anybody else. Of course that goes for clinicians, but also for administrators like myself. You can’t do your best work without being your best self.
For Time To Talk Day back in February, I did a mini initiative at work in which I handed out “self care bags” in my department. These went down really well, so Amy and I decided to make the next one bigger and better! You can read about the original initiative here.
We went for May 15th, which was part of Mental Health Awareness Week this year. I contacted companies asking for donations for the bags and I’m sad to say that most did not oblige. Thankfully two did; Lush and Print Cakes. So, thanks to a huge delivery from Lush and a production line of an evening with Amy and my sister, we soon had 250 “self care” bags. These came in a pretty pink bag and contained a Lush product, colouring sheets and pencils, tea, coffee and a biscuit.
We handed these out at work with the help of some of my colleagues. Eden was doing her doctor “bit” and had a lovely time chatting with everyone and spreading joy. For a lot of the time, she put herself in charge of making sure every single person had a bag! I love bringing her into work with me, because not only does she make people smile, but it also normalises hospitals to her and means that if she ever has to go to hospital for some reason, she won’t be scared. She was born where I work, so it’s always lovely to bring her back. Although she is still yet to meet anyone who looked after us.
This time, we were also raising money for APP – Action on Postpartum Psychosis, who are a small charity who do a lot of absolutely fantastic work. We did this via a donation box and a Go Fund Me (link here) and raised $198. I have to be honest and say that this was less than I had expected – especially when we gave out 250 bags – but every little helps! I also like to think we raised a little bit of sunshine in the department, which is always good in a pressured environment like a maternity ward.
As a result of this, I was nominated as one of Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars! I was flummoxed to be nominated, but I was even more excited to be shortlisted and then to come in at number 12 in the list! You can view the full list here. The NHS is very important to me, so achieving this is a wonderful thing, plus it’s something for the CV! Having the achievement recognised by my employer (who helpfully linked to the blog twitter page) was awesome too. I have so much love for my department and for the work that we do here. I mean, this place gave me my daughter. I’ll never be done being grateful!
With massive thanks to Lush and Print Cakes for their help in this venture. Lush products are always just the ticket, and the cupcakes were absolutely gorgeous. The inspirational messages helped too, of course!