If I've been a little quieter than normal, it is because here at BG HQ we've been pouring our heart and soul into a wonderful project that has been 13 years in the making!
Shortly after the pandemic struck, I realised the immense pressure and difficulty our healthcare providers would be going through. In May 2020 a TV documentary shared an insight into the challenging and exceptional work the NHS were doing. At the same time Jim, a medics horse, shared his passion for providing health and wellbeing support to tired and overwhelmed NHS staff and the concept of Wellbeing Days for the NHS was born.
Anyone that knows me will know that I love being around and working with horses for their health and wellbeing benefits. Well-adjusted horses are naturally calming and grounding to be around, helping us to re-engage our rest and relax vagus nerve - where all healing and recovery happens.
I have been lucky enough to grow up with horses, but it wasn't until I worked in the NHS in 2008/9 that I came to understand just how useful and important they are in helping us to develop as people.
Horses have provided me with some of my most valuable life lessons, like the validity of self-care, the importance of clear instructions and how to be authentically me (a fundamental tenant of being holistically healthy and well).
Horses care little for job titles or status, and instead respond to the energy of the person they are with. No two horse interactions are ever the same, and constantly I find they remind me to let go of unnecessary thoughts and beliefs and instead reside in the here and now, and live life from the present.
Our gift to the NHS has been a series of Wellbeing Days for two local trusts. Participants from all aspects of the Royal Marsden and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals have been able to enjoy a "me" day in beautiful nature, with a herd of horses learning tips and skills to develop grounded awareness and an inner stillness and softness to reduce feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and improve recovery.
These sessions have been exceptionally well received, with many able to let go of some of the difficult experiences the last two years has brought. Participants have reported increased feelings of calm and contentment following the session, plus a greater sense of clarity and serenity both at home and at work.
Of particular value for the participants has been the chance to step out of their busy lives and focus on themselves. Being outside in nature has been useful too, a far contrast from a busy hospital or being office-based and spending long hours at a desk.