One of the best things about belonging to the WI is knowing that once a month you can spend an evening with likeminded ladies. The friendships and conversations that spring up in the Swallowtail WI enhance our lives and give us a chance to leave work and family worries at the door.
But since we are a group of busy women, it’s inevitable that we will suffer from stress at some time or another. We all know that this pernicious problem can threaten to overwhelm you at times, which is why we were delighted to welcome psychotherapist Regina de Mello-Barreto to come and talk to us about stress.
The first thing that Regina did was to present us all with bio-dots to press onto our hands to discover how stressed we were. Each dot turns a different colour, depending on your level of stress at that moment and it’s handy to wear them for a day and see which situations are likely to trigger you. Some Swallowtails were cool as cucumbers according to their dots, whereas others had the dreaded black appearing to signal they need to calm down a little. So, Regina talked us through some techniques to help alleviate the symptoms of stress.
Regina gave us a brief introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a technique to manage stressful situations used by many therapists. She explained how you could look at the situation from three perspectives – how you are feeling, what you are thinking and what you are doing. She showed us how if you can change on of the three things, you can successfully defuse the stress and help combat the unhelpful emotions and reactions that can blight your life.
It was an engaging and inspiring talk, and better still we welcomed Regina to the Swallowtail WI as she signed up as a member on the night. Also, there on the night were some visitors from Horsford WI who were great company and reassured us that despite being a relatively new WI, we’re on the right track!
If you’d like to know more about stress management and the work Regina Mello-Barreto does, please go to www.stresscatcher.co.uk.
Wednesday 8th March is International Women's Day and the Norfolk WI are organising an event at the cathedral called Breaking The Silence. It’s part of their project Women Reaching Women and the aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide.
Women Reaching Women was formed by the WI to increase their international work on women’s rights. It was part of a successful National Federation campaign from 2008 to 2011 and continues to flourish in Norfolk.
On Wednesday there will be a coffee morning in the Norwich Cathedral from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. It is free to attend and open to the public, not just WI members. Aneeta Prem is the keynote speaker and her talk will relate to one of this year’s proposed resolutions, more awareness and action to prevent FGM. She is the founder of Freedom Charity, who aim to raise awareness and prevent child abuse, especially forced marriage and FGM affecting girls in the UK.
There will be an opportunity to meet a range of organisations who work with women across Norfolk and globally, with a common aim to build women’s confidence and stop domestic abuse and violence. Make sure you look out for the Big White Ribbon that Norfolk WI members created last year. Though it will be hard to miss the ten foot high ribbon-totem! It was a community initiative led by Norwich City Council and the Norfolk WI. I and the other Swallowtails wrote several messages on ribbons to say “No To Domestic Abuse” and we’ll be looking to see if we can spot them.
It can sometimes feel like the resolutions are just a vote taken once a year but the Breaking The Silence event is a great way to get involved and support organisations close to the WI’s heart.
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