Sometimes, we just need to talk and be listened to, without interruption or judgement. Our Peer Listening Project is a chance to explore how to create a space for others, how to listen and how to take care of ourselves whilst listening to others
Heading into spring with bounce or do you need a little extra support? However you’re feeling, we’ve got you covered with another packed month of The Wellbeing Programme, delivered by expert facilitators and wellness specialists and designed especially for women.
We’ve created a handy downloadable copy of The Wellbeing Programme for March, detailing all of the workshops and events that are scheduled for the coming month. You can download the PDF copy here. Keep an eye on our Facebook page too – we often add in special events and sessions as the month progresses.
If you have any questions, please do drop us a message here and we’ll get back to you.
Just listen to me!
We all need a good listening to from time to time. This year, with all the challenges we have faced during 2020, we need it more than ever. At the same time, we have been less able to be around friends and spend time together, so although we have the phone, zoom, social media and a variety of other platforms, it’s been a lonely time for many.
Human beings need each other: we are interdependent creatures. Yet, the society we live in right now, often leads us to think we should be able to do it all on our own and that needing others is a sign of weakness.
Not so. Sharing what is going on for us can feel vulnerable, but as Brené Brown says in her book Rising Strong:
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”Brené Brown
Sharing what is going on for us, being seen and heard may feel a bit vulnerable at first, but it’s amazing what a good listening to can do for us. When someone listens without judgement, we can feel a sense of being accompanied and less alone. And when we share out loud what is going on in our lives, we can gain more clarity about what is important to us. Even when all the listener does is just be there.
As a listener, it can be hard to see others in pain and we want to help. We might feel helpless, want to offer solutions or share our stories to let the speaker know we understand. Often, the best gift we can give to another is to just be there. Don’t just do something. Be there! Offer your presence as a gift and just be a listening companion. It can be a great relief to realise that you don’t have to fix anything and to know that that you can make a difference by simply listening.
The Listening Project
As part of The Listening Project, we will explore how to create space for others, how to listen and how to take care of ourselves so we don’t get bogged down by what we hear. We’ll need lots of practice so there will be lots of chances to be heard as part of the course.
At the end of the course we will partner you with someone else who has taken part so that you can become listening partners and continue to provide listening support for each other. So no matter what life throws at you, you will have someone to listen. This could also include sharing when things are going well.
The course will not only enable you to improve your listening skills and have the opportunity to be heard – the skills you will learn can be invaluable in daily life in being able to hear more clearly what is important to others, and to fully listen and understand before responding.
This course will take place online and is free of charge. It begins on Monday February 15th, with sessions running on the Mondays of March 1st, 15th and 29th.
The times are 1pm – 2.30pm, with a commitment to practice with a partner in between sessions.
The final session is April 26th.
You can book this course via the link here.
The sessions are led by Sarah Ludford and Hannah Ehlert.
New month, new initiatives! We’re still busy creating support systems for women in business, and indeed, all women who would like to access our wellbeing sessions.
We’ve created a handy guide below to The Wellbeing Programme for February, for the workshops and events that are scheduled for February. You can download the PDF copy here.
March’s programme is currently being finalised and we’ll publish this towards the end of February.
Any questions? Drop us a message here and we’ll get back to you. Happy February-ing!
This is an introduction to Self-Compassion, by The Growing Club’s Wellbeing officer, Sarah Ludford. Sarah will be running a Self-Compassion Series, starting on the 26th February 2021. Find out more here.
Compassion is an old word that is getting used a lot more of late but how many of us actually know what it means? The Latin root for the word compassion is pati, which means ‘to suffer’, and the prefix com – means ‘with’. Compassion, originating from compati, which means to suffer with. I like to think of the ‘with’ as being alongside. If we are alongside someone in their suffering then we are moving into the realm of empathy rather than sympathy or feeling sorry for someone. We accompany them so they are not alone in difficult times.
Self-compassion, is being alongside myself. Sometimes, particularly at the moment, it can feel like we are alone most of the time, and yet the way the human brain works means that we are constantly talking to ourselves, constantly having conversations with ourselves. Some conversations that we might enjoy and some that might be harder to deal with. What this means is that is possible to be alongside ourselves, and to do this with compassion. The dialogues we have with ourselves could be compassionate and understanding rather than critical or blaming.
Self-compassion came to me slowly. For a long time when I was dealing with challenges and trying to understand myself, I would push myself. I would be seeking to understand, trying to find the answer, trying to get to a resolution. It was painful because I was always trying to get somewhere, rather than being where I was.
Gradually, through the practice of being listened to and accompanied, by receiving empathy and compassion from others, I began to find compassion for myself. When things were out of balance, I would make a gentle and loving enquiry of myself. I would sit with my feelings and let them be there. I would get curious rather than impatient. And I found this to be so much more nourishing and supportive of my well-being and my personal growth. To accept and love myself in the moment and to open to the possibility of self-understanding and growth through the process.
Discipline and drive can get us a long way but without kindness and compassion it can be an uncomfortable way to live. With self-compassion I can celebrate the highs and be accompanied in the lows. I can be present and supportive to myself and take the time to get curious about what is happening and what is important to me. If I can hold myself with compassion, then I can feel sad rather than being sad – which also means I hold the potential to feel happy at the same time!
Dr Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself says:
“Self-compassion is not based on positive judgments or evaluations, it is a way of relating to ourselves. People feel self-compassion because they are human beings, not because they are special and above average. It emphasizes interconnection rather than separateness. This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself. It also offers more emotional stability than self-esteem because it is always there for you – when you’re on top of the world and when you fall flat on your face.”Dr Kristin Neff
I find self-compassion to be a powerful tool and I am passionate about sharing it with others. And it’s not just about being gentle. Self-compassion can include coming to know ourselves better and that can be very empowering. The practice I work with – Nonviolent Communication – provides the tools not only for compassion but for a deep understanding of self and others, and for developing steps to care for myself, to communicate with clarity and love and to consider and care for everyone’s needs.
I am excited about being able to offer this work to women as part of The Growing Club’s well-being programme. You can find out more and book here.
Hello and welcome to 2021! Yes, we are once again encased in COVID-19 impacts, with the UK currently in another lockdown situation.
Fortunately, we’re here for you with Wellbeing January (and beyond)! We’re delighted to have been awarded funding from the fabulous Smallwood Trust. As a result of this, we have a brand-new, sparkly Chief Wellbeing Officer, Sarah Ludford.
Sarah’s been super busy, devising a programme of wellbeing and self-care that’s designed to help you keep buoyant, healthy and present throughout lockdown living. Any of the workshops that are run as Facebook Lives will be available to access again whenever you need them, especially if you can’t tune in at the time they are live.
Have a look below to see what we have planned for you…
6th January 2021 – Facebook Live with Gabi Crossley. Gabi is a fully-qualified pre and post-natal exercise specialist. As The Mindful PT, Gabi works with women to balance all aspects of health and movement with everyday life. Link for the event can be accessed here.
6th January 2021, 10.00 – 11.00 am – Start 2021 feeling calm and positive, with a special mindfulness session with Hazel Hardie. This interactive workshop will include a guided meditation and mindfulness exercise about letting go of your worries and creating a positive vision for your year ahead. This is a Zoom class – link here.
Thursdays 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th of January, 12.30pm – 2.00pm – Weekly Drop-in Sessions. Every Thursday, join us for a relaxed session – grab a brew, talk about your business issues or just join us for connection. All women welcome! We offer good peer support and networking opportunities. Link to each week is here.
12th January 2021 – The Sowing Club is returning this month. If you are unemployed or on benefits and looking for your “What next?”, please join us on this fully funded course. There are still places left. Here’s the link to book your place.
13th January 2021 – Facebook Live on abdominal massage with Nicola Garret. Nicola runs Exhale – a wellness studio – focussing on a variety of massages, pregnancy yoga and women’s wellness workshops
She will be giving a demo on abdominal self-care – a simple self-massage that is deeply relaxing and can help digestive, fertility issues and generally help to boost the immune system.
*Postponed* 13th January 2021, 10.00-11.30 – Wellbeing Walk: Enjoying the beauty of nature with Alex, who runs a walking tour business, offering guided nature and heritage walks.
We have an incredible natural wonder on our doorstep. Morecambe Bay is the largest intertidal bay in the UK, the second-largest bay in Britain, teeming with wildlife – over 200,000 birds visit over winter and hundreds of seals colonise here to give birth.
The Bay is also one of the most bio-diverse areas of the country supporting nationally and internationally important species of wildflowers, and woodlands which in turn provide habitats for rare butterflies and red deer.
Join Alex for a 90 min (socially-distanced) walk, taking in the beautiful scenery of Morecambe Bay, discover some of the amazing nature, connect with others and get some exercise and fresh air.
13th January 2021, 4pm – a Zoom Game Party with Fiona Frank
Fiona will facilitate three or four Zoom games to play. It will be a lighthearted session, designed to help you have fun and a giggle together. The session will finish with a dance party so wear comfy clothes and clear your floor! Fiona has worked for the last nine years, up till September, as Projects and Outreach Manager for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities which, since March, meant moving all the organisation’s events online. She’s learned lots about Zoom along the way, and has led and been part of zoom tech teams for national and international conferences and for a music festival over the summer. As part of her Zoom journey she’s learned a few fun games that you can do on Zoom with friends, family, work colleagues and across large groups of people – whether or not you share a language. They’re all light-hearted, don’t need much equipment, and will be handy to brighten up Zoom meetings that you might be running yourselves in the new year. Link for more information here.
20th January 2021, 12pm, – join Jennie for a session of Hormonal Harmony!
Jennie Edmondson will run a short session of Hormonal Harmony. If you suffer with hot flushes or low energy, she will show you how to work alongside your body to manage hormonal issues. Jennie is ex-military personnel who now works as a coach, specialising in online nutrition, movement and mindset, dedicated to keeping things simple and achievable to guarantee results.
Tuesdays 18th, 25th Jan and February 1st, 10.00 – 11.15am – join Laura Sandham-Smith from The Laura Sandham School of Dance for a jazzy musical theatre workshop!
This fun musical theatre workshop will be based around All That Jazz from the West End musical, Chicago. This dance-style session will work your body without you even realising, because you will be enjoying yourself so much! The routine will be easy to follow and no dance experience is needed. The cost for this course is just £10. Link to follow.
20th January 2021, 3.30pm – 5pm – 6 Essential Ingredients of Emotional Well-being for Building Personal Boundaries with Elaine Remy, Certified Emotional Well-Being Coach.
In this workshop, you will discover 6 Essential Ingredients of Emotional Well-Being for Building Personal Boundaries to prepare you for potentially difficult conversations and one extra ingredient: the cherry on the cake.
20th January 2021, 10.00am – 12.30pm – our January skills workshop is LinkedIn Essentials with Alex Dickson. Find out how to get the best out of LinkedIn for your small business.
Whatever type of business you are starting, running or expanding, having an engaging and professional LinkedIn profile and using its network is invaluable, and it’s FREE!
In this interactive workshop, Alex will help you get your profile page and your business noticed, and show you how to connect with people, businesses and organisations to help your business grow. Alex Dickson spent four years in the Learning & Development Team at LinkedIn HQ in California and has over 20+ years working in the IT industry around the world. She is now happily back in Morecambe, setting up her own Tour Guide business. You can view her LinkedIn profile here.
Tickets for this workshop are just £10, and as always we have some free places for women in hardship. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
27th January 2021, 1pm – 2.30pm – Art For the Heart: A Nurturing Session on Self-Care with Julia Yates from Lancaster Creative Counselling
Join an online art workshop focused on self-care and relaxation. This session is an opportunity to explore simple creative techniques to self-soothe. This includes a guided visualisation to help you tap into your creativity. No talent is required! Please have some paper, felt tips, pencils or paints to hand. This will be a safe and confidential space to focus on you. Link to follow.
This page will be updated with more events and workshops as they are confirmed.
As always, we have some funded places for unwaged or struggling women for any courses that have a cost to them. Please send us a message and let us know if we can help.
The Women and Enterprise Hub, 6-0-5 Alston House, White Cross, Lancaster, LA1 4XQ
Join us over the festive period to reflect back on 2020 and get ready to embrace with positivity, whatever 2021 will bring. To help you prepare, we’ve got some refreshing, rejuvenating and relaxing wellbeing offerings for you. A Winter Wellbeing helping hand.
Wednesday 23rd of December, 11am: Join Chartered Physiotherapist, Leah Dalby, for a Facebook Live, where she will guide you through a 15-minute session of ideas to help keep your body happy and healthy over the Christmas period. Click here for our Facebook page on Wednesday at 11.00hrs.
Wednesday 23rd of December, 7pm: Mindfulness Coach, Hazel Hardie PhD will be running a special mindfulness session to help you start a fresh new year feeling calm and positive. This interactive workshop will include a guided meditation and mindfulness exercise about letting go of your worries and creating a positive vision for the coming year ahead. (Hazel will also be running a one-hour mindfulness workshop on 6th January 2021 – keep an eye on our Facebook events page for further details.)
Tuesday 29th December, 10am – 12pm: Join The Growing Club’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, Sarah Ludford, on a 2020 reflection journey and intention setting session – marking the turning of the year. Find out more information and a Zoom link, here.
Wednesday 30th December, 10.30am: join Sarah Ludford in a small group of six (socially-distanced) women in a wellbeing walk, to stretch and move your body, exploring some of Lancaster’s beautiful spaces on a canal and riverbank circuit – around a 60-minute walk, depending on group pace. Find full details here, limited numbers apply.
These workshops and session are free of charge, however, if you are able to donate towards our important work, you can via this link.