Breathe Into it
Almost a third of those who contracted COVID may have long-term symptoms, according to a recent UCLA study. “Long COVID” sufferers often receive little attention, partially because the symptoms are amorphous and treatment-resistant. To help manage common symptoms identified with long COVID, including fatigue, disrupted sleep, and anxiety, UK-based Breathworks has developed Mindfulness for Managing Long COVID with University College London and professionals from the National Health Service. Breathworks cofounder Vidyamala Burch says the course has been based on 20 years of experience in chronic pain and illness management and “centers on four key principles: Awareness, Relaxation, Pacing, and Self-Compassion.”
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
People in five neighborhoods in Ottawa are able to get help finding jobs and housing, accessing financial assistance, mental health counseling, and other resources, all provided by a diverse staff of healthcare professionals who speak a variety of languages and bring their own lived experiences to the table. These neighborhood wellness hubs are housed in local community centers. Hoden Aden is one of the project leads. He told CBC Radio that the hubs are a key way for folks to find the help they need. “The overall intent is to provide the right information, right where people live, where people socialize, where they gather.”
A Climate of Hope
EU officials working on green-deal climate policy are using mindfulness and meditation to turn toward feelings of overwhelm that arise from the climate crisis. Through the Inner Green Deal course, facilitated by Jeroen Janss, officials participate in forest walks, meditation sessions, instruction on how to regulate difficult emotions, and tips for collaborating with a sense of agency—all with the aim of fostering a deeper connection among policy decision-makers and negotiators. Deep sadness, frustration over lack of progress, guilt, and hopelessness often arose for participants, Janss told The Guardian. Early results from the first participants suggest the course helped boost officials’ motivation to act on climate issues and overcome personal feelings of despair.
It’s a Gamble
A clinical pilot program in the UK uses mindfulness training to help young people observe, assess, and choose how to move forward when managing a gambling addiction. Though just 5% of kids between the ages of 11 and 16 are seen as problem gamblers, or at risk, 36% of the young people surveyed had gambled in a 12-month period. Designed by mental health professionals and people who have lived with gambling addictions, the Mindful Resilience Programme was launched by The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust in partnership with Betknowmore UK and Bournemouth University as a resource for healthcare workers to better support kids and teens that come forward about gambling and similar concepts like pay-to-play video games.
Sue Hutton’s album of guided meditations, Mindfulness Meditations for a Neurodiverse World, released this past spring, offers a “buffet of options” for accessibility and inclusiveness. Hutton, a social worker and mindfulness teacher, says the practices were developed in conjunction with neurodivergent people she’s worked with individually and at the CAMH Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre in Toronto. “It’s amazing how much we learn when we pause and really listen to how people are engaging with mindfulness,” she notes. The 16 tracks provide a range of sense anchors, visualizations, and ways to mindfully connect to the breath—for example, moving your hand in sync with the breath, or breathing audibly and allowing the sound to be your anchor. The album is free to stream on major music platforms and Hutton’s website.
Among viral TikTok dances and trending audio you’ll find Rosie Grant (a.k.a. @ghostlyarchive on TikTok) cooking recipes preserved on gravestones. She learned about epitaphs through her studies as an archivist and decided to cook her way through the recipes people chose to leave behind. “It’s still a somber time, but it’s also a reflection of the beauty of their lives, of happy memories, of getting together over a meal or cooking together,” Grant told CBC Radio’s As It Happens.
Acts of Kindness
Kylie DeFrance spent hundreds of her own dollars on menstrual products so her students who couldn’t afford them didn’t have to miss school. When she asked for donations on NextDoor, people sent thousands of boxes of products, which now stock many classrooms, and take-home kits for students.
Pet photographer Lauren Smith Kennedy shared black-and-white portraits she’d taken of a dog’s last moments with his owners before being put down, and hundreds of people reached requested a similar shoot. To meet the demand, Smith Kennedy launched The Tilly Project, a nonprofit (named after her beloved late cat) that connects people with photographers willing to take end-of-life pet portraits at no cost.
In 1999, Tracy Peck gave two sisters on her flight who were fleeing then-Yugoslavia $100, a pair of earrings, and a note wishing them well. Ayda Zugay and Vanja Contino searched for Peck, and after their story was picked up by CNN, the three reconnected. “Your generosity is still in me,” Contino told Peck, “because I’ve been paying it forward ever since.”