Tuesday Tales: It’s Time to Celebrate You – Donna Thistlethwaite

So how was your year? As you take a moment to reflect can you reconnect with the big and small wins that dotted your 2021? If you’re anything like me you may have acknowledged, and perhaps even celebrated, your successes as they were achieved but shortly afterwards moved on to the next task or life goal without any further thought.

As the year draws to a close it can be a great time to reflect on the year’s highlights. In fact, I’ve found doing so can help to put us in the perfect energy for enjoying the holidays and for envisioning our amazing next year of life.

Quite a few years back I had the good fortune to attend a workshop with singer Darren Percival at the Woodford Folk Festival at the end of the year. Darren got the crowd going by singing some lines that the crowd then sang back to him. The energy in the room started to build as we all responded to his masterful ability to create connection and harmony amidst the cramped, hot, outdoor stage in the middle of a Queensland summer.

Darren then invited members of the audience to share something they were proud of achieving that year. It started slowly but in no time at all people were throwing up their hands, grabbing a microphone and sharing personal information that I suspect was the furthest thing from their minds when they rolled out of bed that morning.

One person had completed a PhD, someone else had learnt to love themself, another had come out, others had got married, had their first child, got promoted, started a business, and everything in between. We celebrated each and every one of these achievements as a crowd – it almost felt like we’d achieved something too as we basked in the connection and acknowledgement enveloping us.

While I didn’t grab the microphone and share that morning, I was definitely inspired to recognise how far I had come that year. That I’d reached a point of acceptance of myself and my journey. I realised that sharing the story of my mental health crisis, when it could be helpful to someone, felt good. I was proud of now owning my past and seeing its potential to give hope and helpful strategies to others.

As I reflect on this year, some of the achievements I’m proud of include speaking my truth more, creating a men’s mental health event that engaged 85 men in important conversations, taking time out for self-care, creating a new website, training hundreds of Mental Health First Aiders, my story being featured in New Idea, receiving my largest single order, winning silver for Best Wellbeing business in the AusMumPreneur People Choice Awards, and securing a partnership to run a national HR Wellbeing Survey.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to pull together your own list of achievements. Soak up all the beautiful energy that can come from savouring your accomplishments – the big and the small! Why not invite some friends and family to do the same as a gift to them this festive season. It’s certainly on my Christmas morning agenda.

Wishing you and your family a fabulous festive season.

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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