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A warm welcome to Ellie

Exciting news, our team has grown! We are welcoming Ellie to our team and we wanted to take the time to give her a warm welcome and introduction.

 

Hey, I’m Ellie!

I first came across Tribe when Dani hosted TedxPorty here in 2016 and I volunteered to capture the event. I’d recently moved back to Edinburgh after living in London and it was one of the first community events I was involved with and I loved it. Since then I’ve attended other Tribe events and spent some time co-working. The community at Tribe is so welcoming and inviting that when a role came up it felt serendipitous. 

Things that make me smile are a good cup of coffee, spending time with friends and family, hosting Soapbox events, time spent on the beach, dogs in clothes, working at Tribe! I love the community and the environment at Tribe. The way Tribe feels when you come in – everyone is friendly, I really enjoy the art on the walls, it’s a space that breeds belonging and my creativity flows here.

 

My working life & creative practice

Most of my working life has revolved around connecting with people; as a photographer having the opportunity to meet new people and discover what drives them, what their story is and how they express themselves is what I find endlessly fascinating. 

I love, and have spent many seasons, capturing street style at London Fashion Week because I love seeing how people express themselves through personal style. My favourite personal project was one I undertook in 2021 called Love Stories; where I spoke to, and captured, over 100 people about someone, or something, they loved. 

I’m currently in the planning stages of my next personal photography project, which I think will revolve around kitchen tables, dinner parties and portraits.

Creating community

My connection to the creative scene led me to CreativeMornings, where I volunteered with the Edinburgh Chapter for a number of years before starting my own event, called Soapbox, last year. We gather on the last Wednesday of every month to blether and meet like minded folk who freelance and are employed in the creative, cultural, tech and digital industries. It’s so lovely to see people come along who are brand new to the creative scene but also have attendees who have been doing it for 20 years. Everyone has something to offer and are there to connect. 

Knowing how much being part of a community helped both my personal and professional life was the driving factor in starting Soapbox. Bringing other people together and helping them with their own journey is something that brings me a lot of joy.  I’m currently working on the evolution of Soapbox and developing what events, along with our current monthly event, we might host.

I’m really looking forward to hopefully hosting some Soapbox events in collaboration with Tribe, but mostly I’m really happy to be part of Team Tribe and the community that exists here. I really like being part of organisations that are bigger than myself, and that seek to bring community together.

 

A quote that I love:

 

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”- Brené Brown

 

Thanks for reading,

Ellie

 

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Do good, Feel Good

This January, Tribe Porty has partnered with Vintage Vibes, an award-winning project tackling isolation and loneliness in Edinburgh. Volunteering has enormous benefits to our mental health, our communities and our local economy. 

Why volunteering is good for your health

There’s a common misconception that volunteering is a completely selfless act and that you are some kind of superhero if you volunteer. It might surprise you to know that volunteering has some surprising major health benefits. Volunteering is good for your health and community. So it is something you might want to consider adding into your self-care routine.

Studies show volunteering helps improve your mental health and wellbeing.  Helping other people triggers a release of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone has the effect of boosting your mood and counteracts the effects of cortisol aka the stress hormone in your body. When oxytocin begins to flow, blood pressure decreases, reducing social fears and anxiety. 

Giving an hour or so a week can act as a circuit breaker to the everyday stress of work and home life. It can give you a change of scenery, the opportunity to talk to different people, more structure to your week and allow you to build confidence or learn a new skill. It can also help you reset and appreciate what is important in life by giving you more self-awareness when starting to sweat the small stuff.

 

Vintage Vibes

Nicky Shallcross is the Volunteer Recruiter for Edinburgh based Vintage Vibes, a project working to combat loneliness amongst over 60s by creating 1:1 friendships between volunteers.

Nicky explains her motivation for volunteering…

“After starting my own business in 2022, I started to feel lonely working from home on my own. I’d gone from a busy head office environment to working alone and being all departments. I realised that you don’t have to be elderly or living on your own to feel like this, it’s surprising at how quickly this can happen to anyone. I was familiar with Vintage Vibes and their work from their annual Christmas Card campaign. It made sense to help someone else who was feeling lonely too by becoming a Friendship Volunteer.

I completed my volunteer training, the Vintage Vibes team then set about finding me a “VIP” who had similar interests to me. For the past year I’ve visited my 85 year old friend Sheila every week for an hour or so. We talk about anything and everything and are always giggling. My family live down south so there is something grounding and familiar having someone who is older to talk to. She’s warm, caring and dispenses no nonsense advice just like my Grandparents used to. I always come away from our visits with a sense of calm.

Sheila never ceases to amaze me with her constant curiosity on what’s going on in the world. In the summer she went on a girl’s weekend to Blackpool and enjoyed watching the Glastonbury coverage. Her highlight was Elton John, she said she turned the volume up and had a dance around her living room. Aging is natural part of life; I really hope I’m as sprightly as her when I’m older.

I’ve taken Sheila to local places close to where she lives that she didn’t realise were there. She loves the Edinburgh Printworks and Grow Urban plant cafe. The staff recognise her and chat, it makes her feel seen and included. For Sheila’s 85th birthday we went to Maison De Moggy, sadly she had to give up her beloved cat during the pandemic and misses her dearly. Despite personally not being a big cat lover, we had so much fun! I really felt that feel good feeling seeing her so happy.

Volunteering has personally given me a massive boost to my own mental health and was exactly what I needed. I’ve made a friend and got to meet so many amazing people. It’s even led to a part time job opportunity with the charity so you never know what good things volunteering can lead to.”

 

Fighting isolation

According to a 2021 study conducted by Age Scotland, more than 200,000 older people in Scotland are lonely. This study found that 10% of people over 50 feel lonely all or most of the time. Age UKs follow up 2022 study highlights that right now in Scotland loneliness among older people is at record levels. 100,000 older people say they feel lonely all or most of the time. Two years of Covid lockdowns and living under restrictions which prevented older people seeing family and friends have left countless older people feeling acutely alone.

The Scottish Government have identified that social isolation and loneliness are significant public health concerns in Scotland. Loneliness is linked to increased risk of poor health and reduced life expectancy. A Connected Scotland – a strategy for building stronger social connections and reducing social isolation and loneliness hopes to address this. Volunteering plays a key part in the plan to help achieve this. Volunteering at Vintage Vibes can supports both health and community.

 

Community impact

Government funding cuts to services combined with the cost of living and the fallout from the pandemic mean charities are under more pressure than ever. Charities must now deliver critical community support services that local authorities cannot. Volunteers are pivotal to being able to do this.

In addition to the benefits for individuals, volunteering can also have a positive impact on local communities. According to Volunteer Scotland, volunteers contribute an estimated £2.26 billion to the Scottish economy each year. Volunteering can also help build stronger, more connected communities by bringing people of all generations together.

If you’re interested in varying your week, consider volunteering as way to do this as well as making someone else’s. Volunteer Edinburgh is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your area to fit around your schedule and support organisations that align with your values, more information can be found here. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Vintage Vibes Friendship Volunteer, please visit their website here.

 

Thanks for reading,

Nicky Shallcross, Volunteering Coordinator at Vintage Vibes.

 

An evening with Vintage Vibes

For our first Tribe Talks of the year we are collaborating with Vintage Vibes. Join us on 25th January from 18:30 for a fun evening hosted by volunteer coordinator, Nicky Shallcross.

Vintage Vibes is an award-winning project tackling isolation and loneliness in Edinburgh. The project, a partnership between LifeCare Edinburgh and Space at the Broomhouse Hub, started in 2015 as a fresh new way to combat isolation and loneliness among over 60s (called VIPs) in Edinburgh.

Vintage Vibes creates long lasting one-to-one friendships offering support, companionship and the opportunity for lonely VIPs to be more socially connected and active in their local community. Vintage Vibes are looking for volunteers of all ages (17+) from across Edinburgh.

This is a great opportunity to break the ice with Vintage Vibes and find out more about their work as well as how to volunteer. Nicky will introduce you to Vintage Vibes and their work and answer any questions about volunteering or how to refer someone who may benifit from their service.

Join us for a tea and a sweet treat, click here for more information and to register.

 


 

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Hitting Pause on Christmas

Christmas is a time where life becomes intensified, days are shorter, money is tighter and you have social gatherings galore. As Christmas draws closer, the need for a pause button grows. 

 

As a fan of Christmas, there are times that it even makes me want to bury my head in the snow (Christmas joke). It can be a difficult time to adjust expectations as we fall into the usual routine of overindulging in every aspect of life. I often reminisce on that weird covid Christmas where we had to remain within our own households. I remember initially feeling sad, like something had been taken away. On reflection, it was probably one of my favourites. Yes, I missed my family but it was lovely to spend the day in my own home, possibly the most relaxed Christmas of them all. Yet, every Christmas since then the intensity comes back in full swing.

It’s not all bad, who doesn’t love the lights, spending time with loved ones and eating your favourite Christmas foods. It’s also a time to reflect and give thanks, especially as the year draws to a close. Team Tribe had an evening of wreath making with artist Jana Middleton at Dook Soap for our Christmas do this year. At the start of the evening, host Jana asked us all to close our eyes and think of a colour that comes to mind when thinking of Christmas. Orange, red, green and white all came up. She also asked us to think of smells that we attach to Christmas, pine, mulled wine, spices and homebaking were mentioned. Lastly, she asked us to close our eyes and write down words or a sentence that come to mind when we think of Christmas. The feedback felt warm and cosy, like a Christmas hug. 

Earlier that day, I had been constructing this blog post. A helpful guide to make the most of Christmas and enjoy the festivities. I came away from the wreath making evening feeling extremely mellow and calm about Christmas. I felt like that simple exercise served as an important reminder as to what is and what makes Christmas. It’s a lot simpler than the panic, gift buying hussle that we find ourselves wrapped in. Christmas isn’t always an easy time of year and it is all too easy to forget that you do in fact have control. As a team, we have gathered some thoughts around Christmas and how to thrive and enjoy this period rather than survive. 

 

Wreath Exercise

Close your eyes and think about the following questions, write these down on a piece of paper. Use this as a guiding force over the Christmas period, these are arguably what you love the most over Christmas and the easiest to forget:

 

Catch some Sun

Christmas is in itself tied up in the winter Solstice. The winter solstice marks a crucial turning point in the year as the sun is at its weakest point. This is a point throughout history where people would hold fests and gather at monuments. It is a time to remember that winter is not forever. 

It is widely known that the sun benefits our body in numerous ways and keeps our circadian rhythms in sync. Being in the sun can tweak our immune and cardiovascular systems as well as causing our blood vessels to relax and widen. When we feel the sun on our skin, we release endorphins which can boost our alertness and energy levels.

Over the winter months, it is so important for us to harness this energy. Next time there’s a cold bright morning or the afternoon sun is peeking through some clouds, try to get outside. The sun being out also makes an excellent motivator to get your family outside over the Christmas period. Here’s a great read on the power of the sun.

 

Take a break!

The busier you are, the greater benefit there is to taking some time alone and finding that pause button. It can take a bit of confidence but take a break when you need to. A 15 minute brain reset in solitude can make a world of difference to both your mood and energy level. Studies show that alone time can increase happiness, better life satisfaction, and improve stress management.

 

Practice Mindfulness

It may not be your top priority over Christmas but daily mindfulness is important at any time of your life. Through mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, breathing exercise and yoga you can become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This gives you time to both process and manage them rather than becoming overwhelmed. Click here for some easy and quick breathing exercises.

 

Take stock and look to the year ahead

The end of the year is a very natural time to take a moment of reflection. We should all lean into this urge to celebrate our achievements and note our successes. It’s important to refrain from a critical mindset and instead hone in on what has brought you joy this year.

If you are new to this, we’ve gotchu. Keystone have a free online course to help you on your way. This will help you designate the time to reflect, check in and gather yourself for what’s next.

 

Relax and say no.

Ya know you can do that at Christmas right?? Check in with yourself and make the time to chill out and do the things that you like to do. It’s also okay to miss out on things and to say no when your cup is already full.

 

Shop small, gift small. 

The biggest overwhelm and stress can stem from gift giving. It’s always important to reframe what and why you are buying a gift. Especially when you consider that 80% of returned gifts end up in landfill and this year alone 3,088,345 bad Christmas gifts were thrown away. Before buying something, consider the journey this gift will take and what its lifetime value is. Sentiment and gesture is always far more powerful than cost and volume. 

 

Considering all things, seek and stay true to the things that you love about Christmas. Here are some words from Nick Cave on the power of small actions:

 

“The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous.

Remember that ultimately we make things happen through our actions, way beyond our understanding or intention; that our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences; that what we do in this world means something; that we are not nothing; and that our most quotidian human actions by their nature burst the seams of our intent and spill meaningfully and radically through time and space, changing everything.

Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are replete with meaning, and of vast consequence, and that they constantly impact upon the unfolding story of the world, whether we know it or not.”- Nick Cave

 

As always, thanks for reading. You can read all of our previous blogs by clicking here. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletters by filling out the form below:

 

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Working For Progress

We recently took the time to record a season wrap up episode of our podcast, Working For Progress.

 

Reflecting on Working For Progress

Working For Progress was launched with the intention of clebrating our communities and sharing their individual journeys. We are lucky to have a community of creative people, all doing interesting work and who are also interested in the bigger picture. Their health, their communities, their impact on the world. It is important for us to connect through conversations about how we craft our working life and make progress. Each episode sees us ask our communities questions about their working life, the challenges they’ve faced and the progress they’ve made.

It was funny to think back to the initial awkward fears that producing and recording a podcast brings. We are forever grateful to our pals over at Glocast for allowing us to record our trailer episode with them. Perhaps without this as a date in the diary to record we would not now be reflecting on our eleven published episodes! 

We spoke at length about what stood out to us in season one and we really wanted to thank our guests for their honesty and vulnerability. Even recording a conversation with people that you know in a place that you are familiar with can bring nerves. Not to mention that using a mic can initially feel very intimidating. It has been a joy to listen to the intricacies of people’s journeys and without creating the space to reflect there’s so much we may have never known! The podcast has made both myself and Dani feel ever more connected to you all. Taking the time to interview each person has served as a valuable reminder of how important connection and conversation is. 

 

Dani reflects: “Each person brought their unique story to the conversation, a bit of where they have come from in terms of significant life moments which have impacted on what they are doing today. Thinking back, it was often a person or an interaction which profoundly impacted a decision or direction. Sometimes only with hindsight do you notice such influences.”

 

Working at the speed of trust

We also spoke about what we wanted out of the podcast. I really wanted to showcase all of the possibilities your working life can bring and highlight the turning points in people’s career journeys. For myself, I am very early doors. I have spent most of my working life in hospitality. I adore the world of hospitality but always desired something more stable without losing what I value. Before Tribe, I remember having this weird sensation that I was failing or doing things wrong and that I simply wanted more out of my working life. 

Coming to Tribe gave me the term value based work. It’s a privilege to work alongside so many people where value is at the heart of their working lives. At points in my own journey, value based work felt out of reach and at times it just felt like ‘a nice idea’. I wanted this podcast to highlight how many different avenues and directions life could take you. Career journeys are not always a linear path like you are told at school. For me, each episode really encapsulates this as each guest highlighted the journey and risks that they have taken themselves.

It was interesting to note how the support of communities and the right people at the right time came up alot in each person’s journey. Alongside this came trust and putting yourself in the relationship of trust to find trust. These seem to be vital ingredients in both navigating working lives and in taking risks. Here’s what Nasim Forootan said about the importance of trust: 

 

“It’s okay to trust and to open yourself up and be vulnerable sometimes with how you are feeling and what you’re seeing. Sometimes you need to have difficult conversations to explore the nuisance of things. Have faith that things will come out right. If you go into a situation with doubt, you won’t let yourself explore the relationship that could be. Trust is a really strong value for me. Trust is embedded in everything I do. When we work in organizations or when we look at community spaces and governments, it’s one element that is constantly broken. If we had a tiny bit more trust in each other the world would be a better place”-Nasim Forootan

 

The importance of community

Trust and honesty certainly became an overarching theme, both in trusting in yourself and the people around you. This is why coworking is so incredibly important. It’s not often in life you get to choose the people around you and people are such a strong and beautiful part of Tribe. Tribe is not just a desk to work from, it is the people that you’re sitting next to, have lunch with and stop for a tea break and a chat with. Coworking perfectly encapsulates the human need and want for both community and connection. 

During our chat, Dani reflected: “Think of Brene Brown’s saying, ‘It’s hard to hate people when you see them up close and know their story’,  it’s true. Bear with me, I am so far from hating anyone, especially this crew. But in a similar vein, the care and love I now have for each guest has expanded. To know them a bit more, to be trusted enough that they share themselves with us (and everyone who listens) is not taken lightly. We could easily brush it off, quite normal to be on a podcast and chat about your working life. But when people share their values, why they do what they do, what brings them a sense of belonging and awe, it connects us in generative ways.”

Bob Cummins of SODAK amply said during his interview that “Emotional safety is formed with people. If you’ve got others you can take the journey with, it makes risks easier”.  We hope that in listening to each of these stories you may find more confidence in navigating your own journey and not to feel scared of taking the necessary risks. Founder of Good Life School, Lorna Lythgoe spoke of this in such a beautiful way whilst reflecting on her on career journey :

 

“I felt like I had leapt off a cliff, I was falling and would occasionally land on a shelf. It was painful and scary and uncomfortable, which sounds like I’m saying don’t do it. In retrospect, now I know that was the growth and the career path, I started to gleefully leap off as I understood It wasn’t an abyss”- Lorna Lythgoe 

 

Keep working for progress

Most of all, our podcast makes us feel so very grateful for the communities of Tribe Porty and Keystone. We are so lucky to meet so many incredible people through these communities. It is an honour to share your stories. We want to keep showcasing you as the brilliant, incredible and completely normal people that you are. People who are real and care deeply about others and this planet. We hope that our little podcast helps you to stay surrounded by good people, keep true to your values and to keep working for progress. (Too cringe? Nah, we love it!). You can listen to all of our episodes, including our season wrap up by clicking here. Fancy joining myself and Dani in an episode? Drop us a line at: more@tribeporty.org


As always, thanks for reading. You can read all of our previous blogs by clicking here. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletters by filling out the form below:

 

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Step up for Pride

Pride is more than a party, for allies of the community it’s an important time to step up and create inclusive change.

Pride March Edinburgh

 

I found it hard at times to write this year’s pride blog post. I knew I wanted to write a piece about creating inclusive culture and finding strength in community, but it’s hard to write about something that you feel should be an obvious and rightful norm. I’ve always been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, even as a youngster before the concept of an ally existed to me. So sometimes when I speak of allyship, it frustrates me because my brain can’t see it any other way.

But I have also seen friends targeted by bigotry and hate, I’ve seen friends struggle to defend their identity, I’ve seen the consequences of an innocent person being forced to be someone they are not. Sometimes it is important to remember that you as a person are shaped by the world around you. It can become hard at times to sympathise with the ‘it was different in my day’ notion. That’s why Pride is important and that’s why spreading this message is important. 

 

“I was not and had never been a part of a queer community, how to access such a thing was not just a mystery but an impossibility. The loss of which was sizable. Agony in isolation, the shame and pain that I thought was mine alone.” Elliot Page: Pageboy 

How to contribute to Pride

Pride is a time to celebrate, congregate and highlight the progress that society still needs to make. Pride is a time to spark conversations, collaborations and bring attention to both achievements and injustices all over the world. As businesses, it’s time for us to step up, contribute in meaningful ways and show our communities that we are always a safe space.

To truly be involved with pride celebrations is to contribute in meaningful ways and further the cause of LGBTQ+ rights and equality. The corporate world sees far too many important issues ‘washed’ and pride is not exempt to this. Highlighting issues around consumerism and ‘washing’ shows the growing recognition that businesses have towards actively cultivating inclusion and diversity. Every person deserves to feel safe and whilst progress has been made it’s still not enough. The past decade has seen an ever growing rise in reported hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. We must remember that inequalities and barriers still exist and we must do what is in our own reach to help. 

 

One in five LGBTQ+ people were the target of negative comments at work.

Over a third of LGBTQ+ people feel they need to hide who they are at work.

One in five feel that being LGBTQ+ limits their job opportunities.
-Britain in Work Report

What it means to be an ally

Being an ally is an ongoing mission and is more than putting up a flag once a month, this is at best tokenistic. We often believe in the myth of individualism, that we are independent from each other and the natural world. Whilst we do have individual agency, we show our true strengths when we collaborate and we become stronger when we act together. To move past tokenistic gestures, let’s work together to build stronger communities, safer spaces and secure workplaces. 

Even when you as an individual, an employee or an employer have good intentions, unfortunately there isn’t a button for instant inclusion. Instead it is an ongoing, ever evolving journey. Much the same, there is not a singular template that forms an inclusive workplace. Inclusivity should be seen as a process, not a quick fix. 

The best employers recognise the value in taking proactive steps to create inclusive culture and there is a wealth of information out there, the internet can be a magical place! Starting points can be as simple as developing clear policies against discrimination, diversity training and the most obvious, taking action on LGBTQ+ employee and customer feedback. As an employee, it may at times feel like an impossible task to generate change. As an ally, use your privilege to speak up and have difficult conversations with managers and bosses.

Step up and use your privilege

Being asked to understand your privilege is not an attack, it is simply acknowledging that you feel safe and valued in everyday life and recognizing that not everyone has the same experience. You can put this to work by being an effective ally and advocate for others. 

I often hear people talking around inclusive culture like it’s an impossible and bewildering task. It is okay to feel lost at times in an ever changing world, but do not stand idly by and become part of the problem. It is up to you to educate yourself, it is not someone else’s job to give you a lesson on gender identity. Engage with the LGBTQ+ community, work with other businesses that do it well and stand up for what is right. By networking with other members of the community you will not only show strong allyship, but gain invaluable experience and knowledge. 

 

Not sure how to step up? Start here: 

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Each month, we offer Tribe Talks. A free evening hosted by a Tribe member or friend of Tribe. We are so excited to share that our next Tribe Talk is to celebrate Porty Pride! Our Porty Pride poetry evening will be hosted by the wonderful author and poet, Anne Pia. Click here to find out more and book your free ticket. 

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, keep in touch by signing up to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Let’s talk about Menopause

 

“Around one in five women report experiencing health challenges relating to menstruation or menopause. Among the 15% of women who report experiencing health challenges related to menstruation, over 40% say they work through the pain and discomfort.”-Women at Work

 

If not now, when?

I am 26, I was not educated about menopause at school. I feel as though I was barely educated about periods at school. And here I am now, writing a blog post about menopause, some of you are thinking, ‘little young to be writing this’. But therein lies the problem. And whilst we’re talking directly, men, you should keep reading too. The only information I have been exposed to about menopause is through mainstream media. Even then, it is at most a joke about a character going through the change and experiencing hot flushes and dryness…

By not educating people from a younger age about menopause, it neglects the notion that it even happens. Like it’s make believe or that you will somehow naturally have the resources to hand when the time comes. I remember hitting puberty and my mum panic throwing books my way titled ‘have you started yet?’ and ‘girls only’. The illustrations on the covers would have teen girls whispering between themselves, this only reinforced the stigma of periods needing to be an uncomfortable secret, never to be spoken openly about. 

Thankfully (hopefully?), we have come away from this. Which as I grow older I see growing importance in. By gendering menstruation and menopause we only gate-keep vital and important information and care from the LGBTQ+ community. It has taken a long time, and I am still in the process of understanding my ever changing menstrual cycle. Thankfully, I’ve always felt a strong attachment to understanding my body’s natural process and hormone fluctuation. I only started to meet and converse with others that felt this way in my twenties. 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that if it has taken 13 years (that’s 156 cycles!) to get to grips with periods, I can only imagine the loss of control one would feel during perimenopause. When we think about menopause, we should think in terms of the time taken to complete the whole process, much like we do with puberty.

 

“The Change” unfortunately still generally remains a taboo subject, even amongst many women. That’s why we need to talk about it, to your mums, dads, brothers, sisters, children – anyone. And for those dealing with this, or about to, it’s so important to learn about it. Do your research and approach your GP armed with the facts and knowledge.”-Menopause Mandate

 

Finding yourself in Community.

The most powerful conversations I have had with friends and confidants have sparked from one person saying to the other an honest or uncomfortable truth. No matter the subject, be it partners, periods or mental health, a friend saying I’ve felt that or I’ve experienced that too can completely shift your mindset. You are no longer alone or alienated in your feelings and experiences. It’s in this scary sweet spot that experiences and knowledge can be shared.

This is also why menstrual health should not become a gendered conversation. How can we gain vital support from our partners and loved ones if they also have no clue or understanding over what’s going on? Being in touch with yourself, at all stages of life is a crucial ally to your wellbeing. Even when looking into the future is a scary prospect, understanding your body’s natural processes and forming a connection ultimately influences your comfort and welfare.

 

“A strong theme coming through from research on this issue is that perimenopausal symptoms ‘can be quite disruptive and distressing, particularly when women do not know why these things are happening to them in the first place’. If their partners do not know either, we have the seeds for an inauthentic challenge to even the most healthy of relationships.” -Richard Hull

 

When we can’t rely on governments and policies to support and educate us, this is when community and allyship becomes a necessity. With that in mind, we took to our community to ask questions about menopause, here’s what they had to say:

 

“When I think about menopause I feel old. I know so little about menopause I cannot answer the question of how we can improve workplaces to support those going through the menopause. I feel that education about menopause should happen at an early age, and we need to integrate healthy conversations into popular culture, to all sexes.”

 

“When I think about menopause I feel unprepared and in denial despite it being inevitable. We need to fully recognise that women’s normal health is very different from mens. In terms of changes that need to be made in the workplace, I have no idea where to start. I am not sure if I would have been open to being taught about menopause when still under the influence of teachers at school. That said, reproductive health education at school (in the 90’s) felt abstract and surface. For fertility and pregnancy there is no end of advice and information backed up from the NHS with information and appointments with health professionals, and even then there are still gaps. I am also not sure medicalising menopause or any aspect of a woman’s reproductive health is empowering. Being able to notice, examine and interpret the clues of one’s own body is probably the best. So how do we teach that? And if so, starting as young as possible is best… a useful tool for both sexes.”

 

“I have lots of feelings about menopause, but ultimately I am trying to rethink menopause like I tried to rethink birthing. It can be a wonderful thing yet mostly what we see are the horrors, the blood, the screaming women. What about the other side? The euphoria, the baby bliss, the overwhelming feeling of awe and love. So although I’m not there yet, I’m trying to think about the potential new wisdom that comes with menopause. The freedom to have some painless and bloodless months. The change in hormones that lead to changes in your body and mind. I’m not entertaining the old, dried up, wrinkled, useless characters of a postmenopausal woman. We need more awareness and research in the same way impotence is given.  There is five times more research into erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men, than into premenstrual syndrome, which affects 90% of women. And menopause happens to 50% of the population and 100% of women! We also need more research to combat the Women’s Health Initiative Study confusion over HRT.”

 


 

Each month, we offer a free talk open to the public. Our next Tribe Talk will be delivered by Yellow Empress Acupuncture. Hannah will be offering an evening around self-care for perimenopause with holistic perspectives for a healthy transition. To find out more and to book your free space, click here. 

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, keep in touch by signing up to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Community to the test

by Dani Trudeau

 

The real test of your character comes out when times are hard. This can be the worst and the best in humanity. I think we are all well aware of the negative actions of some so we are focusing on the positive and practical. We are reaching out to our incredible network, exploring solutions, pulling together and checking in on one another. Please get in touch if you need help with anything (micro to macro) or if you have some good ideas you need help implementing or sharing.

As we are mostly made up of freelancers, we need to look that ball of anxiety in the face and then find solutions, one challenge at a time. Not only do we need to navigate potential financial difficulties, we have to think about how to be at home with our children and other working from home housemates. Furthermore, we need to protect our mental wellbeing and we think this is where community is really put to the test and is at its best.

We have some good practical considerations below from our pals at Senscot Legal and Macdonald Henderson.

1) HMRC- If you have Corporation Tax, Personal Tax, VAT and PAYE liabilities, then you could approach HMRC to delay payments for them – they may be willing to negotiate a payment plan.

2) Suppliers-You may wish to approach your suppliers to extend credit terms.

3) Customers-Can you approach customers if you currently have credit terms, can you ask them to pay quicker?

4) Loans/ Bank overdrafts- If you currently have outstanding loans, would you be able to negotiate a payment holiday? Do you have an overdraft facility with your bank, and can you increase it in the short term? (From experience, the telephone waiting times are long so get a book or podcast going in the background).

Please remember, for the 4 points detailed above, you must ensure that you have an agreement with the relevant parties that you are planning to defer payment.  In the case of customers, propose more favourable terms. Be aware that if you do not negotiate an agreement, it could result in a breach of contract.

Your staff-The closest business relationship you have is with your staff. But hard decisions will have to be made if you are looking at a downturn in revenue. You may have to consider a reduction in staff pay to see you through the coming weeks.

The impact will depend on what you consider will be the revenue reduction. You may even have to ask staff to reduce their hours in line with the revenue reduction.

If the outlook becomes bleaker, redundancies may have to be considered. But remember, you will have to factor in redundancy payments.

Where can you find further help? -Both the UK and Scottish Governments have published a set of measures to help a business through the inevitable downturn.

The Scottish Government set up a dedicated advice helpline – 0300 303 0660 and introduced a set of supportive measures:

The UK Government has also announced measures to alleviate the effects of COVID-19

Here are a couple of Government web sites that are well worth a look.
Government Support for Employees and Benefit Claimants
Coronavirus Guidance for employees and employers
Government guidance to employers and businesses

Please remember keeping an open dialogue with suppliers, customers, staff and HMRC is key to building positive working relationships and managing your business through difficult times.

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