VERITY LUSH: You’ll get by with a little help from your friends

Black dog whistle
Black dog whistle
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Friends make life better. I’m lucky in my life to have older friends and newer ones, and people whom I trust implicitly.

When we are older, we often know when we meet a new someone, whether or not they’ll take on the title of Friend, or remain as friend.

I consider myself fortunate to have several Friends that I’ve made as an adult, and many that I made a long time ago.

These are the people in life who we know have our backs and who will be straight with us, no matter what, because they have our best interests at heart.

Given the times in which we live, this is more important than ever.

With hectic work schedules, financial pressures, and family concerns being just the tip of the 21st century iceberg, we are more at risk than ever of overload.

It was World Mental Health Day earlier this week, and times have also changed in our lack of stigma concerning mental health.

Everyone has mental health – sometimes it’s in good shape and at other times it’s pretty poorly. But we all have it.

Long gone are (or should be) the days when the words ‘mental health’ sparked hushed glances and pitying or mickey-taking whispers. And we all need to care for our mental health as much as our physical.

That can be through off-loading with friends, being off-loaded on (research says that helping someone is beneficial to our own emotional well-being), seeking medical treatment or advice, exercising, meditating, or just taking time for yourself.

Peace and quiet is another thing that is hard to come by these days, as are moments of inactivity, which we do need.

I find it particularly hard to stop and relax because I’m on the move most of the time and it can be tricky to actually just sit and be.

And those friends of ours, be they old or new, are a joint venture.

We can give just as much as we take. That support and sense of not being alone, particularly in our current world, is invaluable.

FEEL FREE TO SAY ‘NO’

I have been 40 now for nearly 11 months, and during this year, I have reflected on things that I know now that I did not know when younger.

I have always been the kind of person who likes to go the extra mile for someone, mainly because it makes people happy. Perhaps that’s what meant by the term

‘people-pleaser’, maybe that’s me.

However, what I’ve learnt is that if you continually say ‘yes’, and take on everything thrown at you, you will simply become buried in it. One day, perhaps, literally.

We are only here once – my forty years of wisdom, that I shall now bestow upon you, is that it’s all right, sometimes, to just say no.

HALFWIT DOG OWNERS WHO STAND AND STARE

I’m a dog owner. I clean up the dog poo. I keep the dogs on a lead where necessary, out of the way of pedestrians. I’d say I’m pretty responsible.

Given the amount of poo on the streets, I’m taking a wild guess that not everyone is.

Given the fact that my husband was attacked by a (thankfully muzzled) greyhound on Great Salterns’ field recently, I’d also hazard a guess that some owners are simply halfwits.

Rather than come and retrieve the animal that was growling and jumping repeatedly in my husband’s face, the owners just stood many yards away using a whistle to call it back – and failing.

I have suggestions as to where those particular owners can put said whistle.