Catch up on the special night of emotional moments, inspirational advice and entertainment:
The Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny became a hub of inspiration, sharing and fun last night as over 130 women gathered for the ‘Mind Yourself’ charity wellness event.
Mental health, inner strength and self-acceptance were the top topics of the night, which had a varied line-up of speakers with experiences to share.
This is the first event of its kind for Letterkenny. Local woman Tina Connolly developed the idea with the aim of educating people about positive mental health and the support options available. She had plenty of entertainment, style and bubbly to create a relaxed and fun atmosphere too.
MC of the night was Grainne McCoy, and the makeup artist and businesswoman kept everyone well informed and entertained – when she wasn’t doing push-ups onstage that is!
Open and honest speakers broke the stigma about mental health during ‘Mind Yourself’, including Derry counsellor and blogger Caroline McMenamin (aka The Red Dutchess).
Caroline talked about her personal struggles before her OCD diagnosis, which led her to study mental health and establish her Replenish talks and workshops.
“Be your authentic self” was a key motto from Caroline, who told the audience to have the courage to be vulnerable and open about their own issues.
“When you choose to be vulnerable you encourage people around you to be vulnerable. And there’s nothing like a heart to heart,” Caroline said.
The ‘Mind Yourself’ speakers shared many moving stories, and Annette Houston’s incredible life journey drew tears from some audience members.
As Managing Director of FM Services Group, Annette had a lot of advice to share on overcoming major hurdles in life and business. She credits all the challenges she faced in life for her resilience in the face of a marriage breakdown and being forced to lead redundancies during the most difficult years.
Annette’s tearful story showed others how she found strength and taught listeners to ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’.
Self-care was also a key theme of nutritionist, trainer and wellness coach Garvin Walker. Garvin talked about the importance of caring for our mental and physical health as one, which he learned from his own transformative journey.
“You get confidence by facing a fear,” Garvin said, before demonstrating some home exercises for everyone to try so they can become more comfortable with working out.
Award-winning Donegal makeup artists Brenda Doherty and Lisa Geraghty took care of the glamorous elements of the show.
A special moment for all was the reveal of the ‘Operation Transformation’ competition winner. Lucky Leanne O’Loughlin was the deserving lady who was treated to a full makeover for the night.
Leanne received a cut and colour, with brows, nails and spray tan treatments at Brenda Doherty’s Ballybofey salon. For Sunday’s event, she had her hair and makeup done and was styled in a VIP Clothing dress and accessories from Steven’s Jewellers.
Letterkenny-based MUA Lisa Geraghty gave a soft-glam makeup tutorial and shared easy advice for all women to follow and help them feel their best.
Emma Murray, blogger with The Fashion Chair, also had great advice to share in her fashion show. Emma styled looks from Evolve, VIP Clothing and Paper Press Ireland to share inspiration for formal, casual and everyday dressing.
Between the speakers and demos, guests were treated to top entertainment from Pinehill Studios Letterkenny, who had everyone on their feet dancing, while Comedy Hypnotist Dale Thomas put some people to sleep!
The event was hailed as a big success for organiser Tina Connolly and her team. With the support of kind donators, Tina led an exciting raffle with proceeds going towards the Little Angels School in Letterkenny. The ‘Mind Yourself’ ticket proceeds were in aid of the new miscarriage bereavement room in Letterkenny University Hospital and the Donegal Domestic Violence Service.
“I am one very happy wee lady tonight,” Tina said, as she said an emotional thank you to every person who helped with the event and all those who attended.
Tina’s own experience with social anxiety was the inspiration behind the night. She packed goody bags with information about mental health support services and had pop-up stands around the room to ensure guests could easily pick-up any advice they needed on mental health.
“I’m just a girl who wanted to organise something to help others, after what I had gone through, and I hope it worked,” Tina said.
“As long as someone has gone away tonight knowing that you aren’t alone. If you are suffering, there is help, there are services, there are people there.
“And as we say in Donegal, now you Mind Yourself!”