Being separated from loved ones throughout lockdown after lockdown was hard but Lilydale woman Sharon Witt came up with a solution to send a giant hug via the post.
What started as a wellbeing journal for young people soon turned into the Wellbeing Box Co, boxes full of practical resources, activities and heartwarming notes of love and appreciation.
“I was kind of concerned about the mental health of our young people and particularly during lockdown and I actually created iso journals last year and then they became wellbeing journals and from that I then created wellbeing boxes,” Ms Witt said.
With the most recent lockdown in Melbourne, Ms Witt had an overwhelming response to people buying her boxes for others.
In the first few days of lockdown, she packaged and sent over 150 boxes, taking her three 14 to 16 hour days to get everything ready.
To date, she estimates that she has sent over 400 boxes across the country.
Coming from a background of secondary school teaching, Ms Witt has always wanted to help young people build resilience but it was also about helping herself.
“I’ve always had, I guess, a real desire to help the wellbeing of young people. I lost my best friend to suicide when I was 20. That was the first time I had really even heard about mental health issues, 30 years ago it was just unheard of that you would know someone who took their own life.
“Just over two years ago I lost a family member to suicide and he had a mental health battle for six years and for me last year trying to cope with lockdown and trying to cope with my grief, for me doing something for others is really great for my own wellbeing.”
By starting the Wellbeing Box Co, Ms Witt said it was a way to make sense of losing someone to suicide.
But while helping her move forward with her grief, she said it also allowed people to promote their own positive wellbeing by doing something nice for someone else.
“It’s a really lovely thing to receive something in the post, we’ve kind of lost that art of getting things in the post and actually receiving something especially during lockdown,” Ms Witt said.
“There were parents and relatives interstate who wanted to let their loved ones know that they were thinking of them.”
Part of her vision was to donate two dollars from every box to the Pajama Foundation, an organisation that sends Pajama Angels to spend time with young people in foster care.
Now not only does Ms Witt donate two dollars a box to the foundation but also offers dedicated wellbeing boxes that can be sent to a child in foster care.
“This way they can actually send a box to a young person in foster care, someone they will never meet and that’s great for their own wellbeing,” she said.
“When we do something for other people without any return, without any thanks but we just do it because we care, that makes a huge difference.”
In a holistic approach to her business, Ms Witt said she gets her supplies for the boxes from women in business from around the Yarra Ranges.
From candles to earrings and bliss ball kits to resilience cards, everything in the boxes has a purpose.
Although perhaps separated by distance, a wellbeing box can really do wonders for children, teens, young adults, women and adults.
“It is a really physical way of letting their loved one or a person, a young person that might be going through a tough time, it’s a giant physical hug to let them know ‘I am thinking of you and you matter’.”
To buy a box for someone you love or for a complete stranger, go to https://www.thewellbeingboxco.com/