Coronavirus is likely to have had an impact on your life in the last few days. Chances are you're overwhelmed with the news on Covid-19. I certainly do not wish to add to this, so am aiming to do things a little different, keep you in the loop but also to help us all understand the new world order and how to navigate it.
Keep an eye out for my forthcoming blog posts as I try and help us all get our heads around managing different aspects and adjusting to 'the inevitable changes' coming our way.
Individual life's lessons are usually hard. People try and avoid them at all costs.
Worldwide crisis, whether financial, climate or what we're now encountering with Covid-19 is so much harder and asks far deeper questions of us all.
I do not believe that everyone is on board that this is a very real crisis that will affect everyone on the planet in so many ways. For those of you not taking action, or believing the pandemic to be “over hyped”, I hope you will change your mind very very soon. We all know the situation is extremely challenging, it asks us to change our habits, our way of life.
We are all - especially in the West - so used to the convenience of everyday life that it seems unfathomable to do things differently. I'm not playing down the ripple effect that a lock-down in a country like the UK would have on so many levels.
The question I'm asking here is: 'Do you see yourself as a part of a larger population or just simply as you and the closest people to you.
We've seen panic buying, the likes of when a war is about to start. Even the supermarkets are urging shoppers to minimise what they put in their shopping trolley. The reality is that there's enough food and 'toilet paper' for everyone to go round. This kind of irrational behaviour relates to a sense of being able to control something when panic strikes. And that's understandable.
My message today is about collectively coming together and to not just think about ourselves and our nearest and dearest, but about the wider community - especially older people and those with existing health conditions.
Personally, I'm all for social distancing. If we collectively practice conscious self-awareness, we will be able to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. And there's a lot we can do to help them without compromising social distancing. We can buy food and medicine, cook food and leave it at their doorstep. I hope there'll be some kind of systems set up by local councils so neighbours can check and make sure they are OK.
There's so much to come that will be challenging for many. Loneliness, (especially older people who will be isolated from grandchildren and their chosen social support systems), anxiety, depression, mental health challenges, grieving (those who are about to loose loved ones) - to boredom and unfamiliar territories for those who will work from home and not have their daily routine or the social banter from work colleagues.
Here's where the internet is MAGIC. There are so many possibilities and if communities come together to help, the sky is the limit. We can all communicate via email, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram - there's Skype, Zoom, Face time and on and on and on. We just have to be creative about all of this and I have no doubt there're already many great ideas out there how people are dealing with this unprecedented crisis.
Let's not forget the good old landline (I've got one) and mobile. Reach out to people. Reach out to helplines. Try not to 'isolate' yourself, despite the self-isolation. We are all part of a larger US. All of us need to manage our mental and emotional states now more than ever. I have great faith in humanity.
On a personal note: I struggled myself at the beginning of the week when the situation hit home. But then I realised that if I turn fear into empowerment, if I embrace what's happening and if I listen to the scientist and all the advice - I can still take matters into my own hand and be a valuable, empathetic and thoughtful global citizen.
Please practice social distancing as much as possible.
To help you with some ideas what you one can do if self-isolating, I've compiled the following list:
1. Spring clean your home
2. Do those repairs at home that always need doing
3. Read all yet unread books and magazines
4. Create a nice office space for yourself, however small
5. Make a post Coronavirus vision board
6. Do some sketching or drawing or use colouring books
7. Get a membership to online platforms like Skillshare and Yodomo
8. Watch Nexflix and make Popcorn
9. Call friends, family and helplines (they are there for you)
10.Snail mail: actually write letters to people
11.Dance to loud music
12.Stretch or do yoga
13.Tend to your plants. Spring is coming
14.Work ON your business/side hustle for when this is over
15.Dream up plans for the future
16.Look at improving your nutrition - maybe enjoy cooling if you don't usually
18.Create new habits
19.Indulge in a home spa - pretend you are on holiday
20.Get to know yourself - practice some self-development
21.Zoom with people/workmates
22.Watch comedy, laugh out loud
23.Keep a daily gratitude journal
24. Give living eulogies, tell people you love them
25.This is where jigsaws come into their own, great past time
26. Stay safe
I'm sure there are so many more things we can be doing while self-isolating, but I hope that these will give you some ideas to start with.
Me and million others were shocked to hear of Caroline Flack taking her own life. A woman in the prime of her life with a thriving career and maybe a colourful love life. Of course, I don't know much about her and am not a Love Island spectator. I did see Caroline in Strictly Come Dancing back in 2014 when she won the series.
Talented in dancing and obviously in presenting, she had everything to live for. So what happened? We know that there was some domestic incident with her boyfriend back in December 2019. A court case was looming, despite her boyfriend not wanting to press charges. So how do things get so out of hand?
For one, the media is to blame. The treatment of beautiful and successful women in the UK is outrageous. The relentless hounding, shaming and looking for something so they can 'trash them'. This coupled with online trolls makes for a dangerous cocktail if you are at all on the sensitive side with maybe not much resilience.
Is it any wonder that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to escape the UK media frenzy? The media does not distinguish between TV celebrities and royalty. Fodder is fodder to them.
Then we have the Crown Prosecution Service who felt they needed to press ahead with a trial. Why? There are so many cases of domestic violence that never come to trial. Why this one?
Suicide is preventable. It is usually death caused by depression and a final symptom of not being able to see a way out of the circumstances.
But there is always a way out of circumstances if one seeks appropriate help and here lies the problem. People don't ask for help.
Caroline wrote a post on her Instagram feed back in October 2019: " ....the last few weeks I've been in a really weird place... I find it hard to talk about it.... I guess it's anxiety and pressure of life... and when I actually reached out to someone they said I was draining. I feel like this is why some people keep their emotions to themselves. I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear...."
This here tells a story. Most, if not all people who take their own life, do send out (what is known as) 'invitations' - when these are not picked up by people, they retreat and in the end might take their own life.
It's a skill we need to learn, how to listen, how to ask: how are you? and really want to hear the answer. There is many things we can do to help those in need when in a crisis. One such thing is to go on a Mental Health First Aid course. I just completed a two days course for both ADULTS and YOUTH. Get in touch with the MHFA England.
In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
For depression, get in touch with The Blurt Foundation.
This is a post to all companies out there who think they can just go and copy a Mapology Guide.
A true story: Back in December I got a manipulative email from a female managing director of a British brand with over 1000 employees (and ACCREDITED as a B’Corp!!!) telling me she had ‘just’ seen what her team put together for an internal project for all staff. A brilliant one-sided visual diagram which she then was told was ‘inspired’ by Mapology Guides - apparently some of her team are big fans!
I was only sent ONE PART of what was being created. The rest was played down. I was taken aback by the sheer ‘copying’ of style/graphics/visuals and language used. She indicated she is merely emailing to seek my "blessing as that’s only the right thing to do". As a thank you they would credit Mapology Guides with ‘inspired by...’ on their piece of work.
Being busy before Christmas, I took the decision to be generous and reluctantly agreed - asking for a printed version when they have it. I strongly voiced my displeasure and reminded her that it’s NOT OK to copy from small CREATIVE independents.
I got a response letting me know she knows how it feels when 'their products get copied' and all of a sudden offering to go to plan B if I’m not comfortable with it. As I had already agreed, I left it at that.
A few days ago I did get sent the printed version. I had no idea what to expect (as I only saw a part of what was done) but assumed, after my stern response, they would have maybe created an A5 leaflet, a booklet or a poster for their staff to hang up. NO! They actually COPIED AN ENTIRE Mapology Guide. All they did is drop in their content (but still stealing some of our creative writing). An A2 sheet of paper folded into A6, they used every panel layout the way we did in that particular map. Same style, same everything. They plagiarised the entire Mapology Guides concept - in the name of ‘inspired by’.
I was shocked how any company of that ilk can go ahead and copy a whole concept without thinking this is complete copyright infringement in EVERY WAY. If she or they would have spent a minute researching what we do, they would have seen that we also create bespoke Mapology Guides for businesses and organisation, which they PAY FOR! They decided to just buy a Mapology Guide
for £5, take the full blueprint - layout, concept, style and metaphor - and adjust their content to it.I wonder whether they have ever heard of Intellectual Property (IP).
Who can guess what happened next? Yes, I emailed saying that Mapology Guides is trademarked and has design registration and EVERYTHING on every map is copyrighted. They must destroy the guides with immediate effect or I will tell B Corp about this and take legal action.
They obviously immediately agreed and called it an ‘unfortunate' MIS-UNDERSTANDING, but then - in a last attempt, when the realisation of loosing all that work and money spent hit home - I got a final email sheepishly asking whether I would be prepared to accept a licensing fee: “...in that way your business will benefit too.. “ Final nail in the coffin! Scrap and recycle….no ifs and buts.
Let this be a warning to all out there. But if any of you 1000+ of that company are reading this…. if I see any copy of that badly imitated, cheaply printed and substandard guide ANYWHERE on social media or floating about somewhere, I will name and shame you, come after you and show you what true creativity is. Shameful!
Oh, and you don’t deserve your signature: 'Certified B-Corp: Using business as a force for good in society'
Many thanks to Ink Global for mentioning Mapology Guides in the EasyJet magazine December issue.
If you fancy reading the whole issue, you can do so here
Mapology Guides are very excited to be part of this new retail experience.
Founded by Christina Larkin, the aim is to open pop up stores featuring some of the most exciting female founded, ethical and environmentally conscious online brands in the UK. For and by 'women who give a shit'!
This is about reimagining retail. This is about offering something more interactive. Come meet the founders (yes, I'll be there some of the time), go join a talk or a workshop. Discover some cool brands.
The venue is Boxpark Shoreditch, in their flagship 5-unit store (which has previously only been entrusted to well known brands including Nike). Maybe a shift is coming. Christina certainly hopes so!
All brands participating will be announced by @mychapter.co on Instagram over the next couple of weeks.
Look forward to meeting some of you.
It’s my birthday and I am 55! How did this happen? When I was younger, I had these preconceived ideas of what people were like when they were 50 and over – they were OLD. But....here I am and to be honest, I feel a lot younger than I felt when I was … er, younger. Back then, everything felt heavy and I was weighted down with the woes of the world. Not so now.
It's therefore appropriate that the 10th map just published in the Mapology Guides range (a real milestone) is entitled: The Sea of Uncertainty - how to stay afloat in challenging times.
I enjoy imparting some of my hard earned wisdom - that’s what all those years in psychotherapy and actual living have brought me. I’ve been reflecting on the last 55 years and everything I’ve learned, so I thought I'd share the most important lessons.
1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t screw up the present.
2. Life isn’t always fair, but it’s still damn good.
3. Despite what you might have heard, you can create your own life.
4. As a child, you are not responsible for your circumstances. As an adult, you are.
5. When you suppress a feeling, it doesn’t just go away. It goes into your body.
6. Mindfulness is the key to so many doors.
7. Don’t compare your life to others. Strive to be unique. Forge out your own path.
8. Chasing fame is unsatisfactory. Chase meaning and purpose.
9. Getting university degrees is easy. Knowing yourself is hard.
10. Family is people who love, care and support you. They don’t have to be blood.
11. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
12. Most people are kind.
13. You attract the experiences you believe you deserve.
14. Do what you love every day.
15. Compromise is underrated.
16. Patience is a true virtue. Stop hurrying.
17. Run far away from toxic people. They’ll poison you.
18. It’s good to talk. Please try and express yourself. Life will be easier.
19. However good or bad a situation is, this too shall pass.
20. Time heals almost everything. Give time the time it deserves.
21. Forgive everyone everything.
22. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.
23. Make your life as colourful as possible.
24. Live in the present. It’s the best place to be.
25. The most important person to have on your side is you.
26. Empathy is the lifeline to every relationship.
27. People are like plants. They need light to grow. Love is light.
28. Children get only one childhood. It’s the foundation for the rest of their lives.
29. Prevention is better than reaction.
30. Be gracious, be humble and remember your roots.
31. Be an eternal student.
32. It’s definitely quality over quantity.
33. It’s good to cry. Having a witness is even better.
34. ‘A life unexamined is a life not worth living’ is the best quote ever.
35. Life is short. Make it your priority.
36. Curiosity is the gateway to an exciting and fulfilling life.
37. Respect the elderly. They have a lot to teach us.
38. Beauty comes and goes. Invest in values and wisdom instead.
39. Go and find your people, your tribe.
40. There was life before the internet. Seek it out.
41. Gather an emotional toolbox. It will come handy.
42. Give your time, not just money.
43. Wholesome, plant based food heals many ailments and is very underrated.
44. Knowledge is power. Equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible.
45. A woman comes into her own at 40. Trust me, it's true.
46. Be ‘playful’ and ‘childish’ at any age.
47. The best is still to come. Make every year your best year yet.
48. Learn from mistakes. Repeating them is not wise.
49. Vulnerability shows great strength. It's sexy too.
50. ‘Love’ is the answer to life and it comes in many disguises.
51. Sex gets better with age.
52. You control your mind. It does not control you.
53. Shame is one of the most destructive of feelings there is.
54. Self-knowledge and self-love are essential for true happiness.
55. If you earnestly look for answers, you will find them.
And since I read this quote from Mark Constantine, co-founder of Lush, I've actually been looking forward to turning 55.
But hey, foremost, life is short, don't take it and yourself too seriously and don't ever forget to have fun, lots of it!