This time in 2013 I was working at one of The Prince’s Charities in London, running a campaign that encouraged and supported businesses to engage with the sustainability agenda.
Back then the trouble our beautiful home is in was only openly recognised by a few early adopters, as they were known.
A business with a sustainability strategy was seen as novel, in the same way as a brand with an online marketing plan was just a few years before that.
Our mission with the campaign was to raise the alarm about the ill health of our world, state the business case for action and encourage much-needed innovation and collaboration towards a more sustainable future.
A highlight of my time in that job was an event where Prince Charles and a room full of business leaders watched Devon-based explorer Pen Hadow give a real life Mayday distress signal from the fast thinning Arctic ice.
Eight years ago this week my own internal distress signal sounded, and I went on to hit a metaphorical iceberg in the shape of a diagnosis of mental illness.
Like that of the planet I had been working to protect, my ability to continue existing in the manner I had been was brought into question.
In those days mental health, like environmental awareness, was still a niche topic.
I realised with a heavy heart that I needed to focus on my own personal sustainability for a while, and I moved back here, to the pretty, peaceful bay I was born and brought up in.
Although I now have to focus on my own wellbeing above all else, my passion for the planet has never left me.
I didn’t anticipate or plan this return, but it’s wonderful, and healing, to live beside the sea, in the heart of the countryside again.
Over time I have created a simple system to help me to stay well, and just before the first lockdown I decided to make it into a website to share with others.
The system is my blueprint for mental and also physical wellbeing, and is designed to help anyone of any age, with or without mental health problems.
At least one in four people will experience mental illness in their lives, and sadly that figure looks set to rise as a result of the anxiety, isolation and upheaval created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In February 2020, I enlisted the help of a local agency and then worked with the patient and supportive director over Zoom during the first lockdown to bring Rose-Coloured to life.
Having a purpose is key to my system, and this work helped me to tick that box during an incredibly difficult time for us all.
When I follow my own advice carefully, I feel well enough to focus on my passions.
Our beautiful world and its people continue to be high among them.
Awareness of the need to look after our minds, and our home, have skyrocketed in tandem during this global crisis.
This is surely a silver lining around a time of such darkness and tragic loss.
It is my hope that as a local and global community we will continue to focus on these areas, and be kinder to people and planet as we work together to create our new normal.
In this column I’ll be writing about ways to help ourselves, those we love and our world back to good health.
I am an eternal student, but I have learned for certain that often, these things go hand in hand.
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