Katie Webber: Don't forget what brings you joy

File photo dated 12/09/18 of students in a lesson at school. Extreme views like racism, homophobia a

It’s all too easy to lose sight of those things as we work towards academic excellence. - Credit: PA

A passion for wellbeing with Katie Webber www.rose-coloured.com: 

Some of my favourite people are beginning secondary school this week.

It’s an exciting and also daunting step and I want to share a few thoughts that might help the many other young people embarking on this new adventure, and the adults cheering them on.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone approaching teenage is this: Don’t forget the things that have brought you joy until now.

I have realised more and more, especially as I have watched my beloved nieces grow, that we are born knowing what lights us up deep inside.

It’s all too easy to lose sight of those things as we work towards academic excellence, pursue careers and envisage what ‘grown up life’ might look like.

I’ll always remember a friend of mine, a primary school teacher, telling me about an assembly he led on the day that Felix Baumgartner completed his epic 2012 sky dive.

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Adam showed the school a picture that the record breaker drew when he was just five years old, of himself parachuting to earth while his family smiled beneath him.

I believe that we are born knowing what we will shine at, and that we just have to try to hold on to that knowing as life gets more complicated. 

Like so many children, I loved to dance, sing, consume and create stories and make a mess with paint and colour.

My siblings and I would spend happy hours in imagination, that magical place where we encourage the little people in our lives to spend endless hours.

When I returned to Torbay from London I started to draw and paint and write. I realised that I hadn’t done those things for far too long.

My life had been dominated by spreadsheets and typed black and white pages and no time to do the things that made me feel joyful.

I make sure now that I carve out time to be playfully creative, because doing that isn’t a waste of time, it’s an essential.

On Saturday, I sang at Marldon Apple Pie Fair with local jazz guitarist and music teacher Joss Kidd.

Singing is the thing that lights me up above all else, and I feel so lucky to be able to make music again.

I hadn’t realised quite how important it is to my wellbeing until lockdown.

As well as the young people spreading their wings, I want to acknowledge the parents and carers who are watching their cherished children take one more step towards independence this week.

This time often coincides with the arrival of mid life, which has it’s own challenges for us all.

I urge you to be especially kind to yourselves, making time to do the things that bring you joy, getting lots of fresh air and nourishing foods, spending time with friends who are going through the same changes.

Don’t forget that the creativity you doubtless rediscovered when your children were very small is also very important to your own wellbeing.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that wherever you find toddlers colouring in and crafting, you’ll often find an adult sitting happily beside them joining in.

Research has shown that repressed creativity can lead to depression, especially in women, so trying that craft you have always liked the sound of, or signing up for a creative writing or dance class might be just the medicine you need to help you navigate what is also a big change for you.

Above all, try to enjoy every minute. I wish you a peaceful, healthy and joyful week ahead.