Take a pause for yourself during lockdown

It's OK To Say has launched the #takeapause campaign. Picture: Helena Mackevych

It's OK To Say has launched the #takeapause campaign. Picture: Helena Mackevych - Credit: Archant

A new campaign encouraging people to make time to reflect on their feelings during the coronavirus lockdown has been launched by a St Albans mental health awareness charity.

It’s OK To Say has unveiled the #takeapause campaign to offer comfort and reassurance throughout this period of uncertainty.

It is about supporting healing and recovery and offering hope by encouraging people to take a moment to have a chat, focus on their breathing and know that they’re not alone and it is OK to feel the way they feel.

Charity founder Stacey Turner explained: “#takeapause means kindly making time for yourself throughout your day. What does your pause consist of? Perhaps a cup of tea, a brew with a view and some focus on the here and now.

“You may even be considering how you feel it is best for you and your family to move forward. What essentials do you need in place? Right now, in this moment, try and focus on this pause. Your #takeapause might also include taking an inventory of the all the positive moments – big and small.”

It’s OK To Say GP Dr Phillippa Smith said: “We have introduced tea breaks at the surgery to help our mental health, we’re all in it together and it’s surprising how much a cuppa and chat can help. It has totally transformed my working day.”

The charity’s clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Adlington added: “The acronym B.A.S.E. is a reminder to create your plan for self- care, where B means doing something to nourish your body, A equals awareness; stop and notice what you need in this moment, and make time to do just that, S is social, connect with people that make you feel good, and E means enjoyment - just do something you enjoy! You can read more about this and have a go on our positivity wheel at http://www.itsoktosay.org.uk/i-need-some-help/

Stacey added: “It is helpful to recognise what connection you need, it’s a little secret that makes a big difference. It can vary from time to time, and I assure you, it is OK to send out an SOS should you need it. I recently did this myself and it afforded me the comfort I so greatly needed.

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“Reach out and allow people to connect with you. If you can’t chat, a check-in message means everything.”

To encourage people to take a pause, It’s OK To Say is giving two lucky readers the chance to win a year’s supply of tea plus seven passes and a lavender gift at Hitchin Lavender Farm post-lockdown.

Heather Kealey, assistant brand manager for Taylors of Harrogate said: “Yorkshire Tea is pleased to support the #takeapause campaign and to share the love with some proper brew. We know that at the moment, life can feel very pressured, but taking a pause in your day to have a brew is one of the best ways of being kind to yourself.”

Tim Hunter, owner of Hitchin Lavender Farm said, “Sending calmness and wellbeing to everyone in these difficult times.”

Stacey added: “I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Yorkshire Tea, Hitchin Lavender Farm and illustrator and painter Helena Mackevych for the illustration. Thank you for helping It’s OK To Say make this campaign possible, this support enables me to offer support and hopefully inspire warmth, comfort and the reassurance needed right now. Sending a distanced hug to everyone.”

You must be 16 years old to enter. Email support@itsoktosay.org.uk with the subject line “Tea/Lavender” and say in 30 words or less what winning this incredible prize means to you or for whoever you’re kindly treating. A panel of judges from the It’s Ok To Say team will pick the entries. The closing date is midday on Thursday, June 25.

The winner of the competition will be announced on It’s OK To Say’s Facebook Instagram (its_ok_to_say) and Twitter accounts. You can read the full terms and conditions www.itsoktosay.org.uk. Look out for the new #takeapause cups to enjoy your brew - available to buy soon on the It’s OK To Say website.