Tina Connolly has turned her passion for mental health into a fun women’s wellness event.
A local Letterkenny woman has organised an enjoyable and education evening out for everyone to focus on wellbeing this August.
The ‘Mind Yourself – Women’s Wellness’ event will be held in the Mount Errigal Hotel at 6pm on the 4th of August. It’s a twist on the regular glamorous ladies days out – with a special focus on self-care, inspirational speakers and charity fundraising.
Organiser Tina Connolly has designed the night to make everyone feel relaxed and at ease as they gain awareness of positive mental health.
Tina’s own experience of social anxiety was the inspiration behind it all.
She started to struggle six years ago, after the birth of her third child. However, finding information and support in Letterkenny was another challenge.
Tina told DW: “I didn’t know where to turn. It got to a point where I couldn’t leave the house. I live a stone’s throw away from my mum’s house but I couldn’t walk to hers without shaking and worrying about what would happen if I went outside.
“When it was at its peak I didn’t want to go out but I didn’t want to be on my own either.
“Thank god I did manage to get it under control with research into what was out there.”
Tina turned to her GP, who thought the anxiety was linked to post natal depression. Tina signed up for counselling, but it was the discovery of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that really helped her change her thoughts.
“I found the CBT course with Aware.ie. It was brilliant, I would recommend it for anybody with any type of anxiety. It teaches you new coping mechanisms and techniques and how to deal with thoughts,” she said.
Tina’s social anxiety affected her in crowded areas. She wasn’t able to go into her local Penneys store for three years, but small steps with CBT helped her overcome this.
Tina said: “My first goal was to walk to the shopping centre, go to the front door of Penneys and walk away again. I built on that and was eventually able to go in.
“I still battle with anxiety on a daily basis. I take comfort in knowing that it is so common now. Men and women suffer from it and there are more groups now than six years ago.
“It’s important to talk about it and get support because anxiety can lead to depression and we know what that can lead to.”
The ‘Mind Yourself’ event is designed to give women useful information to look after their physical and mental health.
“It will be a relaxing environment and there’s no pressure. You don’t need to come all dressed up. This is for women to learn a bit about themselves. And it might not be the woman herself who is suffering, they can be there for their friend, partner or son,” Tina said.
Hosted by Grainne McCoy, the mixed line-up will explore topics including self-care, health, nutrition and exercise, and advice on beauty and styling for women to feel their best.
There will be pop-up shops and information stands around the room with useful guides to support and health services.
Tina is hoping that guests will take the opportunity to learn what they can about their mental health.
“Even if one person realises they have a problem and finds out where they can get help then it’s job done,” she said.
One exciting part of the event is Operation Transformation. There is a competition running on the @mindyourselfwomenswellness Facebook page for people to nominate a woman they think would be worthy of a makeover. Ballybofey hairstylist and makeup artist Brenda Doherty is donating her services to give one lucky woman a full hair transformation, nails, tan and makeup. The winner will also be dressed by VIP clothing and accessoried by Steven’s Jewellers. You can still nominate a special someone now at: @mindyourselfwomenswellness
Guest speakers at Mind Yourself include Caroline McMenamin aka The Red Dutchess mental health blogger. She will be joined by Letterkenny’s ‘Imperfect Baller’ Cormac O’Brien to talk about men’s mental health.
Annette Houston Managing Director of FM Services Group, will be talking about her work as a business coach and how she overcame challenges in life to get her business to where it is.
Style Blogger Emma Murray from The Fashion Chair will be leading the fashion show, while award-winning MUA Lisa Geraghty will share a guide to a soft glam easy look for beginners.
The fashion and beauty segments of the night will not be about telling guests they have to look a certain way, Tina explains: “The aim of everything is not you need to wear makeup to look good, but when you feel you look good you feel better.”
Fitness trainer and nutrition consultant Garvin Walker will be sharing inspiration on mindfulness and body confidence for women who may not be comfortable going into a gym.
On top of all that, there will be an extra feel-good side to the evening with spot-prizes and a raffle in aid of charity.
Ticket proceeds will go to the new miscarriage bereavement room in Letterkenny University Hospital and the Donegal Domestic Violence Service.
Raffle proceeds on the night will go to the Little Angels School in Letterkenny.
With all this and more for just €25 a ticket, the Mind Yourself night looks set to be a sell-out event. Make sure to get your tickets now on Eventbrite.ie: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mind-yourself-womens-wellness-event-tickets-62257373480?aff=ehomecard