Tips for a positive experience…
Think about what you hope to take away from attending – what are your expectations? Are they realistic?
- Create or revisit your ‘self-care plan’ before you arrive;
- Who are people you can talk to at the event?
- Who can you call during the event or at the end of a day?
- Is there somewhere close by to the event where you can take time out when you feel like some breathing space?
- Plan something that gives you pleasure, calms you for the end of each day.
- Remember that your lived experience is just as valued and important as anyone else’s
- Be curious – about conversations you have, presentations you hear, emotions you feel. Being curious can sometimes create space between your emotion and what may be causing it. It can help us be mindful and choose how we react and feel.
- Give yourself permission, to take time out for you, any point
- Its absolutely okay to walk out of a room, away from a conversation that is not helpful for you, or is making you feel emotions that are uncomfortable.
- It’s okay not to attend every session – choose what sessions you go to carefully, and plan ‘you’ time when you simply sit in the sun, relax in the breakout room
- Be flexible and allow yourself to change your mind or plans depending on how you are feeling.
- Make use of the support being offered at the event – counsellors, peers, mindfulness activities
How can I politely let people know that a conversation is not good for me?
“I recognise that this is a really useful conversation for you, but at this moment it’s not great for me, so with all respect I’m going to step away”
“I’m not comfortable answering that question”
“Some parts of my story are very private to me and I have chosen not to share those aspects”
“Every lived experience is so valuable – my experience was different to that, and that’s okay that we have different perceptions”