Wishing you a Happy, Helpful and Thankful Christmas

In our Champions group at Include. We have been looking at the topic of wellbeing this term.

For me, running a small charity at this busiest time of the year, it can feel like my own wellbeing is a long way from the top of my agenda. So many things to do, events to run, people to thank, last minute documents to write … wellbeing and self-care will just have to wait until the New Year – right?

Well… not necessarily.

Research says that helping others is good for your wellbeing. This is something that our Champoins and also our other supported volunteers (who help at sessions or behind the scenes) have told us too. Helping other people helps us feel good.

Using inclusive communication (signs, pictures and more) helps people with communication needs to understand and express themselves. We use and teach these skills at Include, which means that, just by doing my job – I can help others and boost my own wellbeing. Which makes me very lucky.

And other people at Include are boosting their wellbeing by helping too,

Our Champions group help other charities, like the Samaritans or Liberty, by giving their time and skills to check if their easy read documents really are accessible. They help each other within the sessions, and are a huge support to Include through everything they do. They helped us reach our ambitious fundraising target for the Big Give challenge through so many acts of kindness – making cakes, setting up raffles, videoing themselves, taking part in challenges – there is no end to the way our members have helped us over this last term.

It doesn’t matter if you have a communication difficulty, learning disability or autism – we all have the right to feel good by helping others. And Include can only do what it does because we have so many members, staff and volunteers who love to help.

Which brings me to gratitude – feeling thankful or glad about what you have.

At this time of year, it’s easy to think about all the things we want – and forget to be thankful for what we have. But it Is important that we do because, guess what, taking time to be grateful is good for our wellbeing too.

At Include, we have huge reason to be grateful to everyone who has supported us throughout the year, especially over these last months. So to all who took part in the This is Me challenge – a heartfelt thank you!

Communication needs two people – one to send the message and one to receive it. For people with speaking or understanding difficulties, the communication partner may need to give a bit of extra help to make communication a success. The good news is that both the helper and the person who is thankful for that help may actually be improving their own wellbeing. Inclusive communication is win-win.

So to round off the year, the Champions made these beautiful Christmas wreaths, stopping to think about what they were grateful for- and boosting their own wellbeing.

To help others to do the same, group have created Easy Read instructions and templates which can be downloaded here – and we would like to invite you to make your own wreath and enjoy a Happy, Helpful and Thankful Christmas this year.

Alix Lewer
Alix Lewer