5 residents share life-affirming tips (and how you can use them too)

#1 Take it day by day

“There’s so much out of my control. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find somewhere to live. My relationship has broken down and I can’t see my children. If I dwell on all of that I feel totally overwhelmed. All I can do is focus on what’s happening right now – I need to get to the doctor and register at Beacon House. They’re my goals for today” (Daniel)

When we face uncertainty and have little power to change the big hurdles life throws us, try to be more like Daniel and focus on what you can achieve today.

#2 Face your problems

“I have never looked at my past before. I’ve been in survival mode trying to find somewhere to sleep. I haven’t wanted to face the issues that got me there in the first place. Now I’m at CENS and I have the basics covered, I feel ready to work with the drug and alcohol agencies like Open Road. I know I’ve got a long way to go but I’m ready to change.” (Chris)

Chris knew deep down that his substance misuse issues were affecting his choices. But until he had support it was impossible for him to reflect and work on himself. It’s easy to think when life is stable that everything is ok, but this is the time when self-reflection and therapy is the most effective.

#3 Build a community

“I don’t think I would have survived homelessness without the other residents at CENS. Yes, the staff are supportive, but only the other residents know what it’s like to be homeless. The stigma, the sense of loss and isolation is horrible. Having a chat at dinner time and watching DVDs together makes me feel normal” (Susan)

When Susan came to CENS she was shy and alone. But by the end of her stay with us, she’d made friends and blossomed in confidence. If you’re going through something difficult, finding others who have been through the similar can really help you feel less alone.

#4 Get outside

“Before coming to CENS, I was in a drunken blur. But now I’m 30 days sober, I have started cycling to Wivenhoe and back every other day! I’ve noticed how much it helps my mood. The Trail is so peaceful as there’s the river and all the greenery. Plus, I feel so tired by the end of the day which helps me sleep well at night.” (Carly)

Everyone knows that being in nature is good for you but living in a town, work commitments, and the gloomy weather can make it tricky to make it a priority. However, experts claim that getting just 20 minutes of sunlight can make a massive difference to your mood. Why not make a lunchtime walk part of your daily routine?

#5 Keep asking

“I want to get a job on the bins. I’ve phoned all the agencies a number of times but they say there’s no work. I’m going to phone every day until something comes up. I know that the routine of getting up for a job will help my mental health. I can’t stand having nothing to do.” (Nick)

Nick is very self-aware and knows what things he needs to have in place to keep him stable – being in employment is one of them. He’s not been put off by the dead ends that keep coming up and won’t take no for an answer. This attitude is something we can all adopt.

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CENS Essential Shopping List

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot chocolate
  • UHT milk
  • Squash
  • Vgetable oil
  • Gravy granules
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & pepper
  • Stock cubes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned/packet custard
  • Baked beans
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned vegetables & potatoes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Men & women’s deodorant
  • Men’s razors
  • Shave gel
  • Shower gel
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  • Cloths
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  • Washing up liquid
  • Surface cleaners
  • Floor cleaner
  • Bleach
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  • Bin bags
  • Food caddy liners
  • Loo roll
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  • AA batteries
  • NEW single duvets
  • Pillows/pillowcases
  • Single duvet covers/sheets
  • Clean/good condition towels

Please no soups!
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