Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Luce Smith
Features Writer
9:48 AM 12th January 2021

The Age You Stop Sledging?

I had forgotten just how much fun you can have with a plastic sledge and some of that white stuff on the ground until last week. A few of us set out on a walk, with a sledge and a bit of optimism. We found a suitable hill and each had ‘a turn’ going down it at whatever speed you could manage, or seeing how long you could last on the small bit of plastic. It was hilarious and I certainly hurt my sides and that was just from laughing! Oh to be a kid again without the fear of injury! If we get snow again, please, do yourself a favour and get a sledge ……

Speaking of injury, I recently did a first aid course for my workplace and at the end of it, (I passed with full marks so just come to me if you need open heart surgery, a bionic leg, or a plaster) I was amazed to learn that whilst doing the initial checks of the patient we now have to get consent to do first aid on them. Yes, you read that right. Maybe it is known and I am behind the times, but whichever, I was a little alarmed. I don’t want to be sued for going ahead and treating a grazed knee because I just jumped in with my Elastoplast before asking if they’d like help? At the end of the course, we were invited to put our names forward for another course in First Aid mental health. I was interested in doing this for many reasons but it made me aware of how we have to add the mental health bit. We assume first aid is purely physical health and possibly assume correctly on this occasion. It’s only now that first aid in mental health is getting some recognition and awareness in the workplace and what better time than lockdown times to work on this? When people are finding themselves in low moods, anxious, lonely, isolated, furloughed, out of work, overworked, overturned on sledge slopes…

similar}It made me think of my own mental health and the difference between my physical health and mental health and how joined up they are. Isn’t this normal? I mean I’m not suggesting for one moment that I’m normal but don’t most people feel like their mental and physical health are connected? Unlike the services provided by most organisations, where you either access services to help your physical health or services to support your mental health. I have yet to come across a service that does both. It’s like going for a long walk. You might have walked miles and your physical health needs a rest and a refuel. Your mind might be tired and need some relaxation. Where do you go to get both needs met? A country pub (well, it’s been a while since that happened but stick with me on this one) where you can go and have drinks and you can have food. You get your thirst and hunger needs met under the same roof. Now I’m not suggesting that these health services should be provided by a pub, but just how joined up we are with our physical and mental wellbeing (can you tell I’m missing my country pubs?!)

Back on the hill and sat in the sledge, I was a little bit scared for a few moments. It’s been years since I was in a sledge, over 20yrs and a few more maybe. The feelings and emotions I felt when the sledge started to descend went from excitement to fear, to having no control and letting go, enjoying the sense of adventure and having fun. Then the not having control became a concern and worry and panic set in, but as I was enjoying myself so much, laughter took over! Which is a bit like my own mental health, going from one feeling to another, some I have control over but some I don’t.

But it’s ok, as long as I sit tight and have my friends around me and can laugh, then I can get up from the pile of snow, brush myself off and walk up the hill to do it all again. So this is how I will think of the third lockdown, like a sledging journey. It’s going to be slippy, with highs and lows, but if you keep talking about it and make sure you do things that you enjoy, then the snow will soon melt and the path will be less slippy.

Go on, go out and buy that sledge…