Wellbeing Wednesday 16th February 2022

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler, Head of Customer Support Services.

Hello and welcome to this week’s Wellbeing update on a wet and windy Wednesday. I hope you are all prepared and have battened down the hatches for storms Dudley and Eunice that are heading our way. There is nothing like a bit of weather to give us something to talk about. I read once that talking about the weather is a ‘safe’ conversation starter that gives a signal that we are not a threat. That is perhaps unless your job is about keeping our transport infrastructure open during bad weather, when weather may be a conversation starter that is less positive..… So I am going take this opportunity to give a shout out to everyone who keeps the show on the road (literally) during and after these storms. Thank you! We appreciate all that you do for us.

This week we have things for you to read and learn about epilepsy and how could we miss out Valentine’s Day and its importance to relationships?

International Epilepsy Day raises awareness about epilepsy internationally and encourages discussion about epilepsy. As with many of our topics in WBW, we are all very likely to know someone who has been affected by epilepsy, and, as with any wellbeing issues, the more we know and understand about a condition, the better able we are to offer support, compassion and understanding.  I am going to take the opportunity here to highlight our own Helen Butler, who has been through her own journey with epilepsy, from brain surgery to using art as part of her recovery. You can see some of Helen’s artwork here: or

We have some interesting history about Valentine’s Day, much of which I had no idea about, including the fact that St Valentine is patron saint of epilepsy!  We also have our ‘good read of the week’ The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart ‘This is a heart-warming story of a love that never dies, with a touch of the supernatural..’  

Let us know what you think and I’ll update you with my reading list when I see you next week.

International Epilepsy Day

International Epilepsy Day is a joint initiative created by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), and is a global event celebrated annually on the 2nd Monday of February, to promote awareness on epilepsy right around the world. With participation from more than 140 countries, this is a powerful opportunity to highlight the problems faced by people with epilepsy, their families and carers, in every region of the world.

International Epilepsy Day is the opportunity for everyone to join together and speak with one global voice. The objectives for International Epilepsy Day are:

  • to raise awareness of the disease at international and government level as well as in the general public
  • to strengthen the epilepsy movement by uniting epilepsy associations in a worldwide campaign
  • to raise visibility on epilepsy and encourage discussion about epilepsy
  • to provide epilepsy associations with a significant fundraising opportunity

While International Epilepsy Day celebrations vary from region to region, with cultural, geographical and climatic circumstances all impacting on activities, the common thread is the desire to highlight epilepsy and to bring attention to the need for better awareness and understanding, appropriate legislation, improved diagnosis and treatment services, and increased research in order to better the lives of all those affected by epilepsy.

This is your day, to celebrate how you will. Any activity, no matter how small, when combined with the efforts of individuals, groups and associations around the world, will collectively impact on how epilepsy is viewed.

Click here for ideas and resources to mark the day in your own way, and help make a difference to the 65 million people in the world who are living with epilepsy.

For general information and advice on living with epilepsy visit:

Epilepsy – NHS (

Valentines Day - Love and wellbeing

One of the most important aspects of our wellbeing is having strong and healthy relationships with our partners and friends.  Studies have shown that having strong relationships can lead to us living longer, happier lives with less physical and mental health problems than those who are socially isolated.

February is traditionally the month of love!  All across the world on 14th February, we celebrate Valentine’s Day – a day where we celebrate the loved ones in our lives – but where did the tradition come from and how did it become such a staple part of our calendar?


Like many of the festivals celebrated in Britain, St Valentine’s Day appears to have some basis in paganism and it is believed that the celebration of love and relationships that we see today was inspired by Lupercalia, a fertility festival celebrated by the pagans. Apparently, the festival took place every year from 13th – 15th February and involved running naked through the streets. Thankfully, we’ve left that bit of the celebration behind!

As with many of the festivals we celebrate today, the pagan celebration soon became amalgamated into the church. There are two different stories as to the origins of the day according to the early Christians, both stories involved a martyr called Valentine, who died on 14th February. The celebration was officially named as St Valentine’s Day and declared a Christian feast day in the year 496AD by Pope Gelasius. This version of Valentine’s Day was much more watered down than the pagan festival that came before – no more running naked through the streets or focusing on fertility.

That is of course until popular culture changed it yet again. The association with romance and love is reported to lie with Geoffrey Chaucer.  Chaucer wrote a poem in the 1300s to celebrate the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia and it was his mention of St Valentine’s Day and the association with romantic love within the poem that formed the basis of the day we know now.

The tradition of sending anonymous Valentine’s cards in the post started becoming common place after the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840. To capitalise on this, printers began to mass produce Valentine’s cards, the practice then spread over seas and now it is believed that around 1 million Valentine’s cards are sent worldwide every year.

It is not surprising that when the Beatles were asked by the BBC to perform on the first live TV Broadcast in June 1967, the song chosen to perform was All You Need is Love which remains an anthem for peace and love today.

Whether or not you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards or flowers, it is perhaps an opportunity to take a moment to appreciate those around us and how much they mean to us, whether that is your partner or your friends and family. 

Book Review

The Frequency of Us – Keith Stuart

In Second World War Bath, young, naïve wireless engineer Will meets Austrian refugee Elsa Klein: she is sophisticated, witty and worldly, and at last his life seems to make sense . . . until, soon after, the newly married couple’s home is bombed, and Will awakes from the wreckage to find himself alone.

No one has heard of Elsa Klein, there are no records of her, and everyone says he was never married.

Seventy years later, social care worker Laura is battling her way out of depression and off medication. Her new case is a strange, isolated old man whose house hasn’t changed since the war. A man who insists his wife vanished many, many years before. Everyone thinks he’s suffering dementia. But Laura begins to suspect otherwise . . .

This is a heart-warming story of a love that never dies, with a touch of the supernatural and a sensitive portrayal of loneliness and friendship that helps to heal old wounds. 

Thanks for reading and, as ever, keep in touch with us at