In our weekly spot where we talk about things to do with mental health and general wellbeing, a few words about trying to find a little bit of light.

Hello, and welcome to Wellbeing Matters, our weekly spot to shine some brightness into the everyday.

Hands up if you’ve found yourself doom scrolling on social media recently? Both mine go up. The rolling news coverage is sobering, and it’s available 24-7. Repeat, repeat, repeat, with a chorus of angry voices. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

It can seem trite to want to hit the pause button on reality for a while. Yet this weekend’s coverage of Glastonbury Festival offered some of us the opportunity to do just that. And in doing so, to feel the warmth of the human sunshine that is Dolly Parton. Sweet, cheeky, all embracing Dolly Parton, the embodiment of warmth and charm.

Sadly, Dolly Parton isn’t on prescription, though I do seem to watch Steel Magnolias a lot. But it got me to thinking that I could try to change the rolling images in my mind. Seek out the people who give out light.

It’ll be different for all of us. An hour with Dolly here, a dance with Shakira there. A wallow in the human joy that is Keanu Reeves on the celluloid of your choice. A reminder that there are better times to come, what with Bill And Ted Face The Music on its way, festivals to wave a glass to in the future.

There are the people in our lives that give us joy, too. We’ve been cooped up with a limited pool of people for some time now. It’s easy to let that magnify irritations, when perhaps we should be looking at the shared smiles it can bring. Like my husband’s splendidly Wolverine lockdown hair. And the pot of coffee that he produces every morning to wake my grumpy face up with, just as I need that caffeine hit.

There are the people we miss that we can now look forward to some interaction with. Seek out the joy bringers, the ones with the smiles in their eyes. Enjoy their company, just for them being them. It doesn’t have to be a profound meeting of minds. Perhaps someone with whom you can relax.

It’s right that we acknowledge the awfulness and fear surrounding us right now. But it’s also okay to step outside of that for a while, and seek happiness, whether it is with a film that makes you glow, or people that make you smile. Life is much easier if we give each other a bit of light as we navigate the potholes.

Be that sunshine. Step away from the endless stream of angry noise, and into a stream of warmth. Smile at the people you pass, even if they frown back. We don’t know what’s going on in the lives of others, and it might be that yours in the only friendly face they’ve seen in days.

Take comfort in sound, in light, in good people. Let us know who you consider your own personal sunshine below the line. And take very good care of yourselves. Thanks, as always, for reading.

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