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Banishing the stresses of the last year

The theme for this year’s Stress Awareness Month is ‘Regaining connectivity, certainty and control’. These are key issues that we’ve talked about a lot at Brandon so, we’ve collated our best stories from the last 12 months to share how some of the people we support and staff at Brandon have stayed connected to combat some of the stresses of the last year.

Planning ahead – Banger racing

Mark is a sociable man who was struggling with lockdown. To ease his stress levels, Mark’s team helped him to plan fun things to do, ready for when lockdown rules were relaxed. One of the first activities he enjoyed when the first lockdown ended, was banger racing.

Enterprises keeping people connected through lockdown

Following government guidance, our enterprises had to stop supported sessions. This not only impacts the enterprise itself, but also our supported employees and people attending sessions. The team recognised that it was vitally important to keep in touch and remain connected. To break the cycle of loneliness and help promote wellbeing, the team has gone above and beyond in their commitment and creativity.

Making connections through technology

For Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week, Ben told us all about how he’s been learning to use technology so that he could feel close to his family and friends during lockdown, whilst enjoying some fun activities. Ben describes how technology has helped him stay connected this year.

Communicating in a year like no other

Luke is non-verbal and relies heavily on being able to communicate in person, so this last year has been challenging. Luke has gone from strength to strength and learnt to communicate his own needs in a way he hadn’t before. Find out more in this blog by Luke’s mum, which was written for Autism Awareness Week and describes the surprising impact of lockdown.

Secret gifts lifting spirits

We may not be able to control the virus, but we can control how we bring joy to others. Someone - identity still unknown – has taken that thought very seriously and has been doing something extra special for colleagues in Oxfordshire, Hampshire, and Wiltshire. The mystery person has been sending wish bracelets to brighten people’s day.

Being mindful of a balance

Heather, one of our support workers who is on the autism spectrum, shared her thoughts about the end of lockdown. She explains that, for someone with sensory needs, the return to usual activities can be overwhelming. Her reminder that stimulating activities need to be balanced out, is something we may all need to be mindful of as lockdown eases.

Pet therapy

Nicola, who is supported in Oxfordshire has borrowed a dog to take for walks. Nicola wanted to get healthy and needed a reason to get out and about. The dog belongs to locality manager, Kirstie, and has enjoyed regular walks with Nicola. Pets have also been making an appearance at one of our care homes. Locality manager, Alice, has trained her dog up and brought him in to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Working together

Some of our colleagues have been coming together on Teams for Friday afternoon yoga. It gives people, especially home workers, the opportunity to make contact with other people and join in with a fun ten-minute activity. Others have been busy crafting, with colleagues painting, clay modelling, designing and making clothes, and creating beautiful cakes.

Finding ways to reduce and manage stress is essential to our mental and physical health. Find out more about Stress Awareness Month as well as useful resources on the Stress Management Society website.