Ever since our community groups, courses and face-to-face coaching sessions were put on hold due to the risk of COVID-19, we have been determined to find a way to keep our Quiet Community feeling connected and supported. This revealed itself to be all the more important as a number of community members spoke with us within the first couple of weeks of ‘lockdown’ and shared how difficult they were finding the uncertainty, disruption of routines, extra time to sit with their thoughts and being unable to access their usual sources of support.
The Quiet Connections app
We knew that we needed to find a way to bring our Quiet Community together in a place of support and understanding. We initially started to increase the discussion within our Facebook group while, in the background, we were also working on our Quiet Connections app. Designed to bring together people who share similar stories so you can support and learn from each other; and gain friendship and understanding, the app was up and running for the first week of May.
The Quiet Connections app links you with a genuinely understanding community where you can share your stories, worries and successes; ask questions and feel supported and understood. We’ve included statistics and stories from people who feel socially anxious because we all need a little reassurance that we’re not weird, broken or alone. And we publish a daily Quiet Reflection prompt to help you recognise and appreciate all that you are and all that you can be.
The app is free to download and you can also subscribe to get tips, tools and techniques including conversation starters and creative how-to’s for calmness and self-expression. Find out more here.
Quiet Birthday Celebrations
Before lockdown happened, we had been planning a big Quiet Party for 12th May to celebrate Quiet Connections 3rd birthday as well as the launch of our Lottery-funded programmes running across Cornwall. Apparently the 3rd birthday is a big one so we planned to make a fuss in our own quiet way. With all this excitement postponed for now, we got thinking about new ways we could celebrate our birthday. So we’ve released videos of Quiet Conversations with 6 inspiring people exclusively in the Quiet Connections app. Search for the hashtag #birthdaycelebrations to hear from:
- TEDx Speaker, Julia Le Gallo, is sharing her experiences of perfectionism and how she’s learnt to manage those thoughts that she must ‘be perfect’ so she can show up and be seen.
- Emily Wheeler shares the benefits of writing for wellbeing and tells us that we don’t have to apologise for being quiet as she explores the strength in quietude.
- Person-centred counsellor (and Quiet Connections Director) Stacey Mills talks about using alcohol as a coping strategy to mask who we truly are as we try to fit in, and learning to appreciate and value our quieter natures.
- Nicola Congdon, who joined our Quiet Community three years ago, discusses the benefits of animals for anxiety, overseas adventures and stretching her comfort zone to run a radio show and TV programme!
- Katherine George, the owner of multi-award winning marketing company Oh So Social, reveals that you don’t have to feel confident to achieve what you want to; discussing imposterism and how attending meetings can be just as scary as visiting Downing Street.
- Young-persons wellbeing coach, Vicky Otter, talks about how our minds can tell us we’re ‘not enough’ and create thoughts that aren’t always true and how important it is to trust the wisdom that’s inside of all of us.
Studying & Research
As referrals for 1:1 coaching dropped off, we decided to use our new-found time to study two business courses to help us re-focus our efforts and make as much of our support as accessible as possible during these times of physical distancing. So we took the Uncage Your Business programme to help us design new programmes specifically to run online for you, and we also took Unlocking Potential’s InFocus programme which has been amazing to get us thinking outside the box and creating a strategy for the future. This, of course, meant more research (we do love to hear from you all!) which is always amazing to guide our decisions -so thank you for taking part again! We went back to basics and got really clear about the way forward. And then we got busy creating…
A New Website & Free Gifts
Quiet Connections got a refresh! We deleted almost every page to start over, with a more polished new look that works better on mobiles, and clearer communication so that it’s easier to understand who we work with and how we help. We’ve also been working on some new freebies for the site including our Free Workbook: How to Get More Calm & Confident in Social Situations (A Quiet Person’s Guide to Gently Stretching Your Comfort Zone at Your Own Pace) and there’s a report for professionals coming soon too!
The Quiet Speaking Toolkit
This short course came directly from the research. When so many of you told us that you just wanted some tools and techniques that you could use to reduce anxiety in social situations, you inspired us to pull together some of the most commonly used techniques and create a video series that you can easily access and work through at your own pace from the comfort of your own home, and return to whenever you want. Because we know that sometimes, you feel like you need to have a few techniques to manage anxious feelings before you can even start working with a coach or a counsellor or attend a support group. And sometimes, all you really need is a few useful tools under your belt and you can make good progress yourself! Find out what’s covered in the six modules of the toolkit here.
A New Online Programme – Coming Soon
After all the excitement surrounding The National Lottery Community Fund awarding us funding to run new programmes across Cornwall, we’re naturally disappointed that the programmes have been postponed, but The National Lottery have been absolutely amazing, allowing us to re-imagine our project in light of the coronavirus disruption.
So, because we think it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to safely have groups up and running before next year now, we’ve started tweaking our programme to bring it online. We’re making a few minor changes to the content so that we can better support you with the most relevant material at this time, and we aim to have the course ready to go by August. Want to be the first to hear about the programme? Sign up for all the latest news here.
Comfort zone stretching
What’s more, we’ve had a few appearances in the media which are always very good comfort zone stretches for us (44 newsworthy mentions since we started!) and we’ve been getting used to coaching via video and phone calls. As another stretch, I’ve been facilitating action learning for the Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) too.
Stacie and I have also been mentoring people who are stretching their own comfort zones by exploring a business idea on SSE’s Springboard and Accelerating Women’s Enterprise programmes (which are fully funded if you want to join!). We’re super excited about this work because it’s no secret that we love Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs –and their Lloyds Bank Start-Up Programme is the place where Stacie and I met and combined forces, for which we are forever grateful!
Stacie will also be appearing on CHAOS TV on 26th June, speaking on the panel of the Positive People Social Prescribing webinar to discuss delivering wellbeing services for local people and the funding challenges and successes surrounding this. You can sign up here.
All in all, we’ve ended up busier than ever before with the behind-the-scenes work happening at Quiet Connections and we are feeling absolutely positive that pressing pause on the day-to-day activities and re-evaluating our work is going to mean that you have more options for support and connection, and that Quiet Connections will come out stronger and more focused than ever at the end of 2020.