Published here with the permission of Aimee Carney:
When I first received an email about the Madlove workshop, I was very intrigued about the subject matter, so I decided to go along. We were told briefly that the workshop would be based around mental health, and the audio would be recorded for a BBC Radio 1 documentary airing in December – apart from that, we all weren’t too sure what to expect from the day.
I got to the studios at roughly 11.45am, ten minutes after arriving at Liverpool Street Station, with the help of my sat navigation on my phone. I then headed up the huge three flights of stairs to STUDIO 3 – (I have a fear of getting trapped in a lift, funnily enough). We swapped names, with the help of name badges, over lunch, and eased our way into the hours of recording ahead. After switching off our phones, we began the workshop.
At first, we were handed a box with items inside and each one of us had to choose an item that resonated with us. There were seashells, a teaspoon, a corkscrew, and a rock, to name a few. The reasons for choosing a specific item were all very personal. It could have been something that reminded us of a fond memory, an inside joke with our family members, or something as simple as thinking it was interesting or beautiful. As soon as the box came around to me, I took out the candlestick. Candles, no matter where I am in the world, will always remind me of myself and my mum. We both adore different scented candles – especially around the festive period – and there is such a sense of relaxation when I have a candle burning nearby. It reminds me of home, and makes me feel at ease with myself and the world around me. We were each asked around the table why we had chosen that specific item and what it meant to us. After this, we were asked to think about how the item could benefit our mental health.
“To me, a candle represents self-care and taking a time out. I think that’s really important when it comes to looking after our own mental health. We need to take care of ourselves.”
We were paired with someone for a listening test, to see how well we could recite how the other person feels about what good mental health should look, sound, feel, taste and smell like. I said that good mental health looked like a crisp autumn day, sounded like laughter, felt like a fluffy blanket, tasted like chocolate and smelt like LUSH bath bombs. Charlie said she thought good mental health looked like rays of sunshine, sounded like the ocean, felt like stroking your pet, tasted like citrus, and smelt fresh? – think I got that right! Overall, it was quite challenging to pinpoint exactly what things we would associate with for each of the five senses, but was a fun task all the same. It helped us to understand each other a lot better.
Towards the end of the day, we were all asked to write down certain characteristics and qualities we all look for in our closest friends. This was a really interesting exercise and has actually helped me figure out who I enjoy spending my time with. It was an insightful day, and I’m much looking forward to hearing the finished product when it is broadcast in December.