Finding your good intentions for the New Year with It’s OK To Say

Stacey Turner with her daughters Emily and Molly.

Stacey Turner with her daughters Emily and Molly. - Credit: Archant

Stacey Turner, founder of mental health awareness campaign It’s OK To Say, looks at what’s coming up in 2020 and explores how to cope with the New Year.

Separation anxiety expert Stacey Turner.

Separation anxiety expert Stacey Turner. - Credit: Archant

This time of year is a reflective one. We've had the mad rush of Christmas with mixed emotions for many and then the in between bit before bringing in the New Year.

I am not one for New Year Resolutions - the practice just doesn't work for me. What I like to do is take time to reflect on the past year and be mindful of what I have achieved, what I didn't, why it didn't work while learning from the past year and carrying this into the next with my intentions.

The reason I don't make resolutions is that with all the best intentions in the world, other circumstances can influence the outcome and with this, it is easy to end up feeling low with it hovering over you.

Of course, many resolutions can be achieved, but I advise a step-by-step plan to allow you to achieve one step at a time with rewards. It is very easy to end up being hard on yourself, so try and find ways to prevent this and carry it over like long addition.

Separation anxiety expert Stacey Turner.

Separation anxiety expert Stacey Turner. - Credit: Archant

Someone once said, you've got to plan to plan to make the plan work and that's stuck with me.

But I still go about my year with good intentions. I do know this simply because I am used to adapting, I can easily go off script and hit the ground running. It may not be perfect, but what is?!

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I see my intentions as prompts. I have a quarterly intention both personally and professionally where I create a mood board reflecting my intentions. From there, I am inspired and add on extensions of ideal outcomes. That might be the teacher in me!

When I lost my father as a 13-year-old, I thought, this can't be it? People need to know that it's OK to feel and spiral. I had my troublesome teens not knowing where, what and how, but through all of it (and professionally), I've learnt we have a chance to educate, nurture and guide in the hope to live without fear. If you're like me and beginning the year with anticipation, we can start a new page any time we want, turn it over. We can make anything better!

Separation anxiety specialist Stacey Turner.

Separation anxiety specialist Stacey Turner. - Credit: Archant

The way you go about your year must start with you. You need to know you, as that is the secret of being able to stick to things. You also need to look after yourself, you're precious and mean the world to many.

Say yes more, try not to say no, instead look at how you can make something work, there is always a way.

Be kind to yourself, you can't do everything, getting to know yourself is enough initially and then go from there.

It is OK not to be OK, just promise me you will reach out. No matter what's going on or how you feel, there is something out there for everyone, do it! Ask yourself, what is the main thing I am struggling with right now? Make it your new year intention to regularly check in with yourself - Just remember, it all begins with you. Don't stop, tomorrow is another day.

Meanwhile, this year should be a busy one for the It's OK To Say campaign.

At the end of January, you can expect the launch of It's OK To Say's new interactive website with special thanks to Allister Collins, founder of Ace Digital marketing consultancy. This has been a year-long project we have been working on in collaboration with Oaklands College. It will go live with as much completed as possible; we will then be adding to it regularly.

It should not be a website you visit once; you grab the information and go, the intention you keep coming back and will hopefully be inspired.

You will be pointed in the right direction for support and help and be inspired with self check-ins and guidance on what to do if you're concerned about someone.

We will continue to feature the campaign in the Herts Advertiser with interviews and real-life stories to inspire you, but I also hope to open our support community online and connect with other charities nationally.

Coming up, you will be able to sponsor and attend our Ball of Hope with all night entertainment and special guest hosts.

February 3-9 brings Children's Mental Health Week across our district, when It's OK TO Say shines the spotlight on the importance of children's and young people's mental health. This year's theme is 'Find your brave.' As well as activities in various locations across St Albans, I will be visiting nurseries and schools to highlight our district's achievements, promoting our mentally healthy city.

May 18-24 is It's OK To Say's art exhibition in collaboration with Oaklands College at a venue yet to be announced. With a red-carpet open night, the exhibition will showcase an expression of mental health and wellbeing. You can register your interest by emailing for an invitation.

Working alongside the county council, I am looking at how we can provide pop-up counselling, making the most of spare rooms and offices and making help more accessible to fill 'the gap' for those waiting for a referral. This is for all ages and is only in its infancy, however, this is something close to my heart and something I'd like to instigate across our city.

I am also in talks with BBC Children in Need to feature our city.

A window sticker will soon be available and will be featured in all major windows across to highlight we are a mentally healthy city.

If you would like to raise money for It's OK To Say to aid our developments, please get in touch.