Lockdown Wellbeing

Well I think it would be an understatement to say the last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy.  We’ve been presented with a scenario that I can safely say majority of us never dreamed of facing, so naturally there is an increase of anxiety and emotions not just across the office but our nation.  So now more than ever we need to step up as wellbeing leads and help support everybody around us, finding new and creative ways to support their wellbeing. And I am no expert, but I guess under these circumstances no one is, but I have been brainstorming some ideas that you may not agree with or want to adopt but its food for thought, inspiration or something we should hash out together. Let’s get the conversation going!

Right, to begin with I have actually connected with a few people within my trust, working in different departments and created a mini team, which I’m hoping will get bigger.  That way we can reach more people throughout the trust, increase the ideas that we generate, distribute work involved and support one another.  And we can do the same. Be there, evolve and support one another.

So I have been helping a guy that supports the wellbeing for the overall Trust in collating different apps and websites that can support staff in various ways, from staying connected, keeping active and eating well to supporting those/ or preventing drinking/gambling problems and supporting people who may experience domestic violence.  We have segregated these into five categories; Social, Lifestyle, Mind, Body & soul, Financial and Family & Children.  Its very much a work in progress but again food for thought and will hopefully inspire or give some direction. I’ll post these as well in a separate blog.

Before I go into the segregated categories though, I want to talk about the anxiety we are all experiencing.  We are dealing with an unprecedented situation which confronts us with a lot of uncertainty, so naturally there will be a lot of anxiety which may seem impossible to ease.  But actually, we can do a lot to help manage it.  Firstly, and this is something I have done myself, is remove news notifications from my phone. I’ve restricted my exposure and watched the daily announcements so that I can stay updated and educated, but that’s it.  And its remarkable how much better I feel because of that.  I am encouraging others to do the same.  This also means limiting the amount of time spent on social media. 

At this moment, our social media feed must be 90% directly or indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Not only is it a constant reminder but its also very negative with a lot of finger pointing, people accusing others of managing the situation badly, whilst others are retaliating to those accusations.  With this I’ve been reminding people that we are in a unique situation and dealing with a lot of uncertainty.  We’ve done a lot of work to tell people it’s okay, to not be okay, but in this last week that has been forgotten.  We should appreciate that everyone’s dealing with different anxiety levels and have different coping strategies and mechanisms.  In such unprecedented times I think we should appreciate that people are not sure how to act or react.  So we should influence and direct people make safe decisions for themselves and others without blame or shame and hopefully influence others to do the same.  Lead by example. I think the NHS have made good examples of this, sharing images of “we stayed in work for you, stay at home for us”.  Also an idea to try and break the feed and start sharing unrelated posts.

We have now moved from to 100% home working, but prior to this, the office was in once sense a god send to provide a bit of normality.  It was a place that kept the conversation flowing and each other laughing.  We’ve listened to each other’s anxieties and either comforted or sympathised with them.  Now we are not in the office we’ve now shifted that to platform from the office to whatsapp group messaging.  Not only have we been able to communicate with each other to with work related information/issues, but we can also keep each other smiling and laughing.  Within these groups I have also included anyone that may be absent from work for whatever reason, because whether we are in work or out of work, they will have the same anxieties and need the same distractions and company.  So, whether you are still in the office or working from home, I think it’s important we group together, stay connected, communicate and look after one another.

Furthermore, I have tried to reach out to anyone on an individual basis.  This may be because I know they are living alone, or I may have detected they might not be coping because of a change in their behaviour or manner, or any other individual needs they may have.  Anyone I think that may be vulnerable in any sense I have or will be sending them a message to connect them in some way.

Throughout this time, we should remember that one of the most important aspects of wellbeing is to have focus and meaning.  Therefore, we should recognise that THE most important organisation in the nation right now.  We might not be on the frontline nursing those who have become ill but we are a vital cog within the mechanism that keeps this clock ticking.  Our focus and meaning mean everything.  We need to give plenty of thanks and recognition for every ounce of work and dedication our teams are giving right now. 

Finally, we must think about our power of influence.  We can help shift people’s perspective.  I have attached an image to demonstrate how we can do this.  However, while I have done my best to stay positive, and be a reassuring influence towards my colleagues I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had a “wobble” in the office.  My colleagues have been amazing and been there to support me.  This is an extremely anxious time and it is emotional, there are no if’s and buts about it.  So we do need to be strong, we do need to motivate others, but we must also look after ourselves and be kind to ourselves…..it’s okay to not be okay.  So, let’s practice what we preach, but if we do find ourselves overanxious or emotional let’s talk, and help one another.

A quick overview of things I am doing include:

•             Timetables of live classes that can help promote structure and routine, whilst keeping people active, meditating, learning and families entertained.

•             Distributing links ideas for people to stay connected, look after physical and mental health.

•             Reaching out to anyone I feel may need it.

•             Generating games, competitions etc.  First up TikTok competition

I will post these as well, as and when I complete them.

I hope you have found this in some way helpful.
Stay safe and stay connected.