R is for . . .

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At a time when we’re all being told to keep away from each other, it’s never been more important for us to reach out. Whether we’re connecting with loved ones, checking in on old friends or asking for help, it’s important that everyone feels that they have a way of reaching out and communicating during these stressful and uncertain times. Let’s see if we can help you with that…

The Postcard Project

We want to help you reach out to those you love this year. Between lockdown, tiers and household bubbles, there are probably quite a lot of people you haven’t seen much (or even at all) over the last year. Perhaps you, or they, live at opposite ends of the country, or in a care home, or are shielding – whatever the reason, let’s be honest, we all have people we’re missing sorely.

So, we’ve teamed up with talented local illustrator and all-round awesome lady Rosie Johnson Illustrates to create this little postcard project. Rosie has designed four postcards for us (two as line drawings so you, or your little ones, can colour them in yourselves)…

Postcards All In One Image

… and we’ll be dropping these beauties to libraries across Devon and Torbay to be included in your Choose & Collect order bags. Postcards will be given out at random by our frontline library teams and our hope is that you will use them to send a message of love, support or friendship to someone you are missing right now.

The postcards will be heading out to our libraries over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for them in your Choose & Collect bags.

Help others get online with Learn My Way

Get Online

In our current climate, most of us are using digital tools to stay connected with each other – from social media to skype, zoom to WhatsApp. But what if you, or someone you know, aren’t confident using these tools?

Learn My Way offer useful, practical advice to help you and the ones you love get online with confidence. They have great step by step videos and mini courses in a whole range of topics, from using your device and online basics to internet safety and public services online. They even have a short course on How to be a Digital Champion and assist others in your community with getting online.

Coping With Loneliness

Coping with Loneliness

If you’re experiencing loneliness right now, please know you’re not alone. Millions of people are going through the same thing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Seeing family, friends or just familiar faces has been put on pause for so many people that it’s no wonder loneliness is the second pandemic sweeping the nation.

MentalHealth.org.uk have a really helpful article, as well as other resources, on coping with loneliness during the pandemic. It includes helpful insights into preventing loneliness, helping others who are experiencing it and how loneliness can affect our mental health.

If you’re experiencing loneliness, there are a few things you can do – from picking up the phone and calling a friend to calling or emailing an organisation like Samaritans - call: 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org, who are always there if you need someone to talk to.

If you’re worried about someone who might be experiencing loneliness there are different ways you could help, but the easiest is just to pick up the phone. A message or a phone call could make a big difference to someone who hasn’t heard from anyone in a while.

For more ways of looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, check out MentalHealth.org’s Coronavirus advice hub.

My Dear New Friend

My Dear New Friend

My Dear New Friend is a project that encourages children to write letters to people living in care homes. Writing letters can make children feel happy and helps them express their feelings. Plus, children who write letters regularly are more likely to become confident writers and have more positive attitudes to writing – a great bonus!

To get involved in the project and make someone’s day with a lovely surprise letter, simply visit wordsforlife.org.uk. There you can find instructions on how to take part, templates for a covering letter and info on finding your local care home address.

Just, Girl.

Just Girl

You may have heard of the Just Girl Project. Started by Ilana Harkavy as a “fiery artistic movement that empowers girls to embrace their passions”, it’s developed into a space that encourages girls and women, offers advice and seeks to normalise the discussion of topics like mental health, body image and seeking help.

The Just Girl Project blog is brimming with useful articles, including plenty around mental health, and anxiety in particular. Not only do Just Girl give good advice around managing anxiety (which is, understandably, on the increase since the conoravirus pandemic began last year), they are also not shy about suggesting when is the right time to get professional help. Reaching out to friends and family for support is one great way of coping, however there are times when it’s best for your health to seek help from a medical professional.

Take a look at this article ‘When is it Time to Get Help for Anxiety?’ for some of the common signs that your anxiety levels may be getting too high to handle by yourself.