Support, community and personal growth!

One of the major reasons that Fresh Air Fridays was created was to create a safe space for individuals to be supported in their own self development. Whenever Rose, myself or one of our facilitators leads a session we see how mutually supportive our members are and how the outdoor space and the themes we explore create a way in which all of us get real clarity on things that are important to us. I feel exceptionally privileged to be part of this, none more so than over the last week.

A week ago I re-created an old injury when I stepped awkwardly off a style and turned my ankle. Leaving me in a fairly impressive supportive boot, not very mobile and in some pain. During that time I have had a massive range of emotion, what I have learnt through being involved with Fresh Air Fridays has been very helpful in making the last week much better than it could have been. Here is just a flavour of what has been useful over the last week:

  1. Processing my emotions – I have had episodes of feeling really lousy and probably a bit depressed. From what Fresh Air Fridays has taught me rather than putting on a stiff upper lip or a brave face, I was encouraged to explore all my emotions, the good the bad and the ugly. By creating space to process them, I have discovered that many of them were able to dissipate.
  2. Gratitude – gratitude is one of our core themes on Fresh Air Fridays and has been transformational. When I have been feeling sorry for myself noticing the things that are still ok and that I am grateful for has bought me joy. Being able to share this has been really helpful.
  3. Letting go of control – I am a control freak over many things! There are things I can’t do easily at this moment in time and the support I have had to just let things be, has been immense.
  4. Being present – another one of our core themes. When the pain has been bad, just being in the moment has been really helpful, not worrying about how long it will all go on, but noticing what is.
  5. Being in nature – even though walking is a bit challenging and at times painful I notice a big difference in how I feel on the days I have simply spent a bit of time sitting in the garden. It most definitely helps my mood.
  6. Community – the support I have had from members has been exactly what I needed. I know the above things, but the gentle reminder from people who use these tools too, has helped me pick them up. Knowing that other people have your back is huge. Having an injury has made me feel vulnerable and knowing there are people around me who care about me is making my recovery a whole lot easier.

We often say on Fresh Air Fridays the things we talk about are simple to do, which can make them simple not to do. I am feeling very grateful for the support, community and personal development that I have experienced during this challenge.

written by

Ruth Steggles