I'm just back home after searching for a vulnerable, high risk, missing person for most of the day. It ended well this time, but all too often it doesn't... I am a member of the local search and rescue team - if you've never given it a thought we are the ones the police call on to help them find missing people. Each search is an emergency, each search is an urgent race against the cold, the rain, the night and often also against someones personal black dog of despair and confusion.
So come rain or shine, night or day, team members will turn out and search for people hoping that, like today it will be a happy ending. Across the country there are about 2000 fully trained and operational people in 38 local lowland rescue teams hoping they won't get called out, but ready to drop everything and go out searching if they do.
As a coach I see a wide range of people: most people, most of the time are able to weather the storms of life and work when they come, but all of us- sometime or other will be unable to keep going. Sometime or other in their life almost everyone falls over for a bit. Mostly they won't need finding and rescuing by search and rescue teams in high viz vests, but will need some sort of rescue remedy to dust themselves off and get back on their feet again.
This blog post is about five such rescue remedies: remedies that work to help others but also help us rescue ourselves. More importantly they work in advance: we don't have to wait until we have fallen over but can start to build up a personal first aid box of rescue remedies today.
1) Challenges: Confidence is easy to lose and can be hard to regain at times. Making a habit of setting yourself small challenges frequently means that there is a good chance you will succeed at some of them and so keep those all-important levels of self confidence topped up. It can be anything - this week I made my first ever sourdough loaf of bread.
2) Gratitude: Taking the time to regularly pause and reflect on the things that are going well and make you quietly happy, filled with joy and content with your lot (even if only for a fleeting moment) means you have a ready store of good "vibes" to draw on when things get tough. Being able to articulate the things that make you happy is thought to help with recovery from illnesses and accidents as well as daily life.
3) Others: Having a network of good folk around you is key in so many ways- They may be lovers, spouses children or friends, neighbours, colleagues - who ever they are cherish them. When things get bad who would take you out for a beer and a good chinwag?
4) To be of service: Helping others is good for them - and also good for you. It often puts things into perspective, provides a wider picture, shows society to be just a little bit bigger and deeper than the bit that's affecting you. Perhaps you can fight someone elses' corner for a change.
5) Sleep: Yes. Not rocket science this one. Sleep is restorative and healing. And its driven by good habits- just speak to any parent trying to tame their baby's night-time tantrums. Sleep hygeine is what the medics call it. So banish the screens, open the windows, cut down the caffeine and up the hours of sleep. It's all good.
The ups and down of life are largely out of our control, as are illnesses and accidents: but taking steps towards strengthening our own resilience and mental and physical well being is within our control.These five steps are the start- try them and encourage those around you to try them also. Think of it like taking out insurance against an unexpected storm, a storm that we all hope will never come our way.
And finally remember that If that storm does come your way there is help. Like me there are hundreds of volunteers up and down the country working for the Samaritans, for Mind, for the Emergency Services, for Search and Rescue teams. If you or someone near you needs help, don't hesitate. Call.