Recently I have been thinking about friendships and the relationships we have with others. In my role as a nurture worker, I am often reminding the staff I work with of the need to nurture themselves, and to look after their wellbeing, but my focus has often been on things they can do to help themselves, e.g exercise, time to play, good food. The last few weeks I have been reflecting and thinking about my own life and what helps my well-being. I have been reminded how important friends are and the relationships I have with others, to my own wellbeing. Often our lives can be so busy with work, family life, and other commitments, it can be hard to make time to spend with friends. Since becoming self-employed I have had the opportunity to re think many things in my life. One area I have intentionally tried to do more of is seeing friends. I still don’t manage this as much as I would like, there are friends who live far away that I rarely get to see. Having opportunities to spend time with others, usually over a coffee or a meal, with people who I care for and I know care for me, is very nurturing. The relationship of listening and being listened to, of being with people who we can be honest with and who accept us is an important part of an enriched life and essential to our wellbeing.
In the nurture work, I spend a lot of time helping children with friendships, learning how to be a good friend, how to be kind to others and how to play well with others; helping children to understand the need to work on their friendships. With children and young people, we know friendships are key to helping with their wellbeing. It can be really upsetting seeing children and young people who are struggling with friendships, who have been hurt or rejected by their friends. In the early years in the UK, a lot of emphases is given to helping children with their social skills. In Sweden and Denmark, the curriculum is based on this until a child is 7, believing that if we don’t have those foundations right a child cannot thrive and is not ready to learn. As children get older we often stop thinking about those social skills, but I am beginning to think again about this. I believe we are never too old to think about our social skills, our friendships, and our relationships. Periodically we need to stop and ask ourselves, are we spending enough time with friends? Are we being a good friend? Do we have good, mutually nurturing friendships and relationships in our lives?
This weekend I have had the opportunity to drink coffee, eat meals, laugh, cry, be honest and just be with some great friends, for that opportunity I am very grateful and feel very blessed.
Photo is of one friend who my life would be very empty without her