Last Tuesday’s Winter Wellbeing Festival Day was the perfect antidote to banish the January blues. Organised by the Student Forum of the Dublin North North East Recovery College and held in Dundalk Institute of Technology, it saw a gathering of like-minded people with an interest in emotional wellness. It was a celebration of the possibility and the power of recovery for those who have been affected by mental distress.
Lianne,did a great job welcoming people and introducing what was going to be on offer on the day. First up was two forms of creative expression, with people getting to choose either Drama or Movement Medicine. I decided on the Movement Medicine as having never done it before, I was intrigued with what it was all about. Facilitated by the incredibly nimble-footed Ann, it started off with gentle stretching and movement to music. Initial nerves and shyness, gave way to people really shaking their stiff and busting some moves! I have to say that it was definitely a first, it was hugely energising and everyone left, a little sweaty, but with huge smiles on their faces!
Afterwards people mingled over tea and biscuits and by all accounts the Drama session, facilitated by Kwasi and Bernie, was equally enjoyable. For the next session, Martha invited the speakers to the stage, Caroline , Marian, Neil and Bernie who spoke of their personal journey to recovery and involvement with of the Recovery College. It was a huge privilege to be in the room for this session, as the stories were incredibly honest, empowering and hopeful.
Following this Michelle, facilitated a Trialogue session on the topic of ‘Normal is an illusion’ with great contributions from almost everyone in the room. The day ended up with the release of balloons with personal messages and inspirational words written on them. Our car journey home was a very chilled out affair with people feeling energised and also with a sense of renewal.
Well done Dundalk, you knocked it out of the park and we’re already looking forward to the Summer Festival!