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I think we all recognise that the last couple of years have been incredibly challenging. On top of whatever else life has thrown at us, navigating our way through a pandemic has been super stressful.

We’re getting better as a society about talking about our mental health and showing support and understanding for each other, but sometimes even recognising the sources of our stress is hard, let alone being able to do something about them. 

This month is stress awareness month and the theme this year is community. We need to recognise the value of connecting with each other in a meaningful way in order to give our lives purpose. We each need that sense of belonging.

Lack of community can lead us to feel isolated, and we know that feeling alone can give rise to depression.

I know how lucky I am to live where I do and have the beauty of the landscape around me and the animals close by. It does wonders for my own mental health, but what some might view as a bucolic existence isn’t without its own stresses.   The irony isn’t lost on me that the source of much of my own stress, is that I feel very responsible for making sure your stay here is stress free!

I recognise that many of you choose us as a place of retreat, a few days to get off the treadmill, a chance to pause, rest and reset – so my focus is always on making sure that happens and that we’re doing everything it takes to make your break as effortless and easeful as possible!  The payback that helps me manage my stress is through taking comfort in connecting with all of you – however fleetingly – when you’re here and hearing how your few days of slowing down has helped. Sometimes it’s not even what you say, you don’t have to, I can just see that you look brighter and are carrying the world more lightly when you leave. 

So wherever your stresses might lie today, be kind to yourself and remember that talking about things always helps. It’s only when we share our problems and worries that we realise we’re not alone. All too often, in that moment, if we’re brave enough to connect with someone and share, they will recognise what we’re going through and says ‘yes, I know that feeling, and I’m here for you’.

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