To Infinity and Beyond

Carolyn Barber of Portsmouth’s Good Mental Health Cooperative, and local researcher and social entrepreneur, shares advice and resources on how to manage your mental health in lockdown. This week, Carolyn uses Toy Story to talk about shifting perspectives on social norms due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Believe it or not there’s a good deal of speculation on the internet as to the meaning of this much-loved catchphrase from Buzz Lightyear in the fantastic film Toy Story. But this is the interpretation I loved the most from a blog called Cantor on the Shore.

…we all think that we are trapped in our human limits, without escape, but in the end it is just an illusion. Buzz is showing us the way to recognize the illusion, change the perspective, finally break free and go! leaving all our chains behind, going where it was previously unthinkable, unimaginable.

This might feel a bit of a stretch, but there have certainly been times in my life where a shift in my perspective has transformed how I felt or how I chose to behave. Going where it was previously unthinkable or unimaginable then becomes possible.

The Covid 19 health crisis has shifted perspectives in just such a way. Right now, we’re still clutching at the idea that life will return to how it was previously, even though in our hearts we know this can never be. But new opportunities can open up as we’ve seen things happen that we never could have imagined.

With an uncertain future ahead, this is a time to look for new perspectives in our own lives. That’s why I’m running the course Discover Yourself as part of the Mental Wealth Academy Summer Online programme. It’s an opportunity to step back, observe and reflect in a structured way on how to build up your own emotional and psychological resilience for the times ahead.

‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’

Marcel Proust.

We recognise that this has been an incredibly challenging time, coping with sudden and dramatic changes in our lives, intense feelings, anxiety about the future, loss of contact with loved ones, experience of illness and bereavement.

At the Good Mental Health Cooperative, we believe that connecting with others, and informal arts and wellbeing learning activities, are really important ways to take care of our mental health, and build the emotional resilience we need to get though these difficult times.

The programme takes place mainly through July and August, and includes the following:

  • Weekly livestreamed ChitChat Cafe meetings on Facebook
  • Twice weekly 30 minute live mindfulness sessions
  • Journal writing course – 5 weekly sessions
  • Live arts and wellbeing workshops – 5 weekly sessions
  • Live Embodiment Through Movement workshops – 5 weekly sessions
  • Discover Yourself – self development course – 7 weekly sessions
  • Working Through Worry – 7 weekly sessions
  • Two Mental Wealth Trialogue live discussion events

Full details about the programme and how to register your interest are available on this link.


Each week in this series we’ll be sharing a range of strategies and resources to help you build mental and emotional resilience during the Covid-19 crisis.

This is just as important as our physical strength if we were planning to run a marathon! And just like our physical health, taking care of our mental health is about establishing good habits as part of our regular routine. 

We’ve been hard at work updating the Resources section of the Good Mental Health Coop website – these are resources you can use to build your mental and emotional resilience during these testing times. The Resources are divided under 4 themes – Meet, Relax, Learn, Create – please take some time to browse and check them out. 

Click here for Resources for Resilience

This article was originally published as a newsletter. Check out the Good Mental Health Coop website, where you can sign up to receive Carolyn’s weekly mental health updates by email, and find out more about the amazing work the Coop do. You can also follow the Coop on Twitter and Facebook, and you can read all of Carolyn’s articles for S&C here.

 Image by The Good Mental Health Cooperative

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