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Art Therapy: Photography Activities

This month, Skylight Mental Health Art Therapist, Nora, shares some photography activities to invite curiosity and inspire a new way of looking at the world around you. If you enjoy photography and would like to take part in a photography competition for Mental Health Month 2021, have a look at outfromthemist.com - entries close on 24th September 2021. Skylight Mental Health may be able to offer a discount on entry fees, call 8378 4100 for more information.

If you're interested in Art Therapy (group or individual sessions available), you're welcome to contact our Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100.

Macro Magic

For a moment, spend some time noticing your surroundings and stop when you spot a scene or object that catches your eye. With your camera or your phone camera, play with the zoom function to focus in. With a curious mind, explore your new perspective. Are there any new details that now stand out? Is there anything that you didn't notice before?

You could also pull the zoom function out or move back further from the scene/object. Can you see the bigger picture?

Photo credit: Aaron Burden @aaronburden

Textures

Tap into some sensory fun through touch and photography!

Take notice of your surroundings. Are there any textures present that evoke inner feelings? It could be something soft and cuddly like a scarf that might make you feel calm and centred or chalk that is sandy and gritty in nature. Use your camera to document this sensory experience.

What did you notice?

Photo credit: Matthew Henry @matthewhenry

Bright

"There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" – Leonard Cohen

Take a moment to explore the contrast of the light and dark in your personal world. Observe how they interact with each other. Photograph a perspective that resonates most with you. Explore further if you can play within the shadows or illuminate areas of darkness?

Be creative with this theme and we'd love to see your interpretation

Photo credit: Klara Kulikova @kkalerry

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Act It Out! - New Therapeutic Drama Group at Skylight Mental Health

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 
- George Bernard Shaw.

What was your favourite game as a child?

Children naturally play – both individually and in groups. Group activities that are fun and playful, and where we connect with peers, are important for our mental health and wellbeing.

Act it Out! – Skylight's Therapeutic Drama Group provides a light-hearted, supported connection with others. Aside from a sense of fun, the program also allows space and opportunity for participants to explore some aspects of their own stories.

Expressive therapies such as drama have many benefits for mental health. They provide an opportunity to explore our sense of self and often help us bring areas of concern into focus. We can also discover strengths that we didn't know we had! Expressive therapies are a wonderful tool as they allow us a way to do this important work without necessarily having to talk, disclose very personal information or even think too much about things, as our focus is on doing!

Act it Out takes participants through a series of drama games, leading to a sense of play, excitement, instinctive response and creativity. Seeking to foster a strong sense of group cohesion, we will be stimulating ideas for inspiring stories to reflect on and respond to.

This group runs in a 6-week block, starting July 8th 2021, every Thursday from 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM at Fullarton Park Community Centre.

If this group interests you, feel free to contact our Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Everyday Wellbeing

"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it"
- Maya Angelou

How often have you found yourself thinking: 'This is too hard…' 'If only this or that would happen…' 'Why can't they see it my way…' 'Why do these things keep happening to me…' etc.?

Here's the thing. Life is constantly throwing us curve balls. Some are wonderful and enriching, others are challenging and daunting. Adversity in life is inevitable. Every day we are faced with problems, both big and small. Every day we have to make decisions, some as seemingly simple as what to have for breakfast, and some as difficult as dealing with our own challenging thoughts and emotions. One thing is for certain, we have very little control over which curve ball comes our way on any given day, but we do have control over how we respond to it.

We always have choices in the face of adversity. One option is to deny that our difficult thoughts and feelings exist and try really hard not to think about them. (Now, if I told you not to think about pink elephants sprinkling love heart confetti as they fly past your window, what will you think about?)

No one likes to have difficult thoughts and feelings and we tend to go to great lengths to avoid them. We can do whatever it takes to cope with them. We can drink too much, eat too much, sleep too much, avoid people and places… We can do so many things to avoid our pain. We often prefer not to think too much about our choice of coping mechanisms or their long term consequences - all we want is immediate comfort and respite no matter what!

The alternative is this: we could accept that although thoughts and feelings can be difficult and uncomfortable, they are all part of the human experience. And although we'd all love to have a magic wand to wave away all discomfort and unhappiness, that's an unrealistic wish. Instead, we can strive to live our lives to their full potential and learn to grow and thrive through the good and bad.

So, how do we do that?

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach. It emphasizes that we don't have to wait for all the stars to align and all our worries and concerns to disappear before we can start to live our best lives.
By identifying our values, that is, what is most important to us and what we stand for in life, and by using these values as a guide to our behaviour, we can face difficult situations with resilience and strength. We can learn to be present in the moment and appreciate all that life has to offer.

In our Everyday Wellbeing Group, we work on the skills and tools to help us identify and live by our values. We also focus on our existing strengths, abilities and knowledge to help us navigate our way through life.

The next 6 week Everyday Wellbeing Program at Skylight starts on Tuesday, May 3rd. If you are interested in participating or would like to know more, please call our Customer Relations Team.

This article was written by Joumana, who runs the Everyday Wellbeing group at Skylight and also provides individual counselling. Learn more about Joumana by reading her bio. 

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COVID-19 Updates


Due to eased restrictions, Skylight Mental Health is back up and running with normal services in place. We will continue monitoring SA Govt. COVID rules and keep you updated if anything changes.

It is still important that you do not attend Skylight if you feel unwell, have flu-like symptoms, or visited any locations identified by SA Health. Instead, stay home and follow the SA Health guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100. 

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Writing: As a Healing Tool

Have you ever noticed how different your thoughts look when written down in front of you? Sometimes, our thoughts can feel like sand slipping through our hands – hard to catch and grasp. When we write our thoughts down and the words appear in front of us, we can gain insight into what we are thinking and even what we are feeling. This clarity allows us to explore our inner world and 'connect the dots' between our thoughts and feelings—a practice behind many therapeutic approaches. Expressing ourselves creatively—through words—can assist with processing our experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect.


There are four main styles of writing: narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive writing. Creative writing can cross over throughout any of these styles, using words for movement, exploration and expression. Creative writing provides an opportunity for the writer to build their unique voice and safely explore their ideas and values throughout the process. Creatively practising assertion is useful for people who struggle with establishing boundaries or who have a history of trauma and abuse. Writing out our feelings can help us use the two hemispheres of the brain (left and right) to engage our emotional and cognitive sides, allowing us to process information and experiences helpfully and organically. As a practice, writing encourages mindfulness and reflection, which can be soothing for our nervous system, giving our bodies a chance to relax and unwind. Writing can give us the space and time to allow our thoughts to just be and settle where they are. This reminds us that we have control over what we are thinking and that we may choose to practice different perspectives after noticing our thoughts. Once we understand our feelings, we can practice the skill of 'self-regulation,' supporting ourselves during times of emotional distress.


Writing can also help improve our memory and make us feel less 'full' or overwhelmed by writing down what is on our mind or making a list of things to do. Writing can provide us with new insights and perspectives and can help us reflect and make meaning of our thoughts, feelings and experiences. It can also lead to a deeper connection with oneself and therefore aid on the journey to self-acceptance and understanding. When you are wielding the pen (or the keyboard!), you are reminded that you are the writer of your own unique story and you can make choices as to where the story goes.


The Therapeutic Writing Group at Skylight offers participants the ability to explore their thoughts and feelings creatively, in a safe, supportive and fun environment led by a qualified Counsellor and Writer. Creative expression has many therapeutic benefits and is a tool to assist with self-regulation, mindfulness practice and exploration of the self. Writing can also help with the processing of experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect. You do not need to be a prolific writer to join the group – it is all about the experience.


Come along and express yourself. I hope to see you there.

Katherine 

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Always Was. Always Will Be. NAIDOC Week 2020

Last Monday morning, the 9th of November 2020, the Skylight Walking Group in the Murraylands joined the annual Bridge Walk. The Bridge Walk is held to celebrate NAIDOC Week, which aims to increase community awareness of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The theme for this years NAIDOC Week is "Always Was. Always Will Be." Skylight Murraylands Walking Group joined local First Nations people, as well as other community representatives from across the region for this event.

The Skylight Walking Group met at the rotunda near the local RSL club, and the local police closed the bridge to traffic to allow approximately 150 people to walk together across the mighty Murray River - known as "Millewa" by aboriginal people - acknowledging that First Nations people occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years and that they are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. The Bridge Walk was followed by an awards ceremony held at the local council office.

This event registered COVIDSafe Plans and met COVIDSafe requirements.

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Self-acceptance & Self-care

Self-care is a concept most of us have heard of – think: bath bombs, walks on the beach, dessert and days off. We know what self-care is, but for many of us, it can feel like an unrealistic or unattainable goal. Who has money for regular bath bombs and dessert – especially if they are taking days off!? However, self-care is about a lot more than experiences of luxury or material items.

For me, self-care is about the experience of connecting with yourself and prioritizing yourself. Therefore, this means that self-care looks different for everyone. The reason why self-care is so important, and why we encourage it as a tool for keeping well, is because it is an opportunity for you to let yourself know that you are important and worthy of care and respect. For some people, this means relaxing in the bath or walking on the beach. For other people, this might look like saying 'no' to working more or making plans with a friend. However it may look for you, self-care is a tool that allows us to take a little break, so we can 'fill our cup' and keep on pouring.

So what is the difference between self-care and self-acceptance? Self-acceptance is an idea rather than an act. It is about observing and understanding ourselves, rather than judging. Our perception of our self and our level of self-acceptance forms in many ways, through unique experiences and challenges. Our self-acceptance journey begins in childhood, where we mimic our environments, learning certain behaviours and ways of being. These experiences can internalize and come with us into adulthood. Sometimes, we have to re-condition ourselves and learn new ways to interact with our mind and body to create a healthier and more beneficial life for ourselves. Lucky for us, our brains have an amazing capacity for neuroplasticity – this means they can change and rewire through new information and (positive) experiences! No matter when or where you may be starting from, there is endless potential and hope for you to create a relationship with yourself that can be meaningful and loving.

Self- care can help improve our capacity to observe and understand ourselves, therefore aiding the journey to self-acceptance. But this is not a journey that you have to go alone! If you feel that you may benefit from speaking with someone about how you are feeling and ways to work on your mental health, please reach out to Skylight to see how we can help.

Take care of yourself.

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5 Cooke Terrace
Wayville SA 5034
Phone: (08) 8378 4100
ABN: 85 595 741 081

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