What's in store for Workplace Wellbeing Month,
This week’s Workplace Wellbeing Month ends on a very ‘Zen’ note with a morning yoga class with Phoebe Georgiou and tai chi in Oak Hill Park with Sally Foxcroft tomorrow. So how is Week 4 looking?
It is the final full week of Workplace Wellbeing Month – so now’s the time to join a class and reap the benefits of trying to have a healthier lifestyle as we approach autumn. Details of the activities to look forward to are below - look out for tomorrow's email with joining instructions for each activity.
Monday 21 September, 1pm Stop Smoking Q&A with Nicky Coote – join here.
Final week of the photo competition, Week 4, ‘The Future of Work’
If you have been back to the Colindale office or have some interesting photos of working while social distancing – post them to the Workplace Wellbeing Group here on Yammer.
In a special twist, we have decided to keep the suspense of announcing the winners of the Workplace Wellbeing photo challenge until the Our Stars Virtual Awards Ceremony - winners for each category will be revealed on the night.
Tuesday 22 September, from 2pm
BOOST webinar on support with drug and alcohol support: the stresses of the pandemic have led to many people increasing their intake of drugs and alcohol. BOOST is running a session on how young people aged 16-24 years can get help and support with any issues they are having.
Wednesday 23 September, from 5.30pm
Wednesday night yoga: Karen Morrell’s relaxing yoga class is a wonderful way to tackle the mid-week blues. You can join it here.
Thursday 24 September from 1pm Tai chi in Oak Hill Park: this traditional Chinese martial art combines deep breathing and relaxation that can help with weight loss, sleeping and general wellbeing when done on a regular basis. Sally Foxcroft, an experienced tai chi instructor, will be doing an outdoor session in Oak Hill Park, East Barnet. Look out for joining instructions coming soon!
Thursday 24 September, from 5.30pm
Join Natural Chef Sheila Tompkins for the second of our cook-a-longs to learn how to make a healthy chicken curry from scratch. Sign up to join here. We will share ingredients and further joining details with all attendees in the next few days.
Friday 25 September, from 5.30pm
End the week on a high energy note and join the Our Parks bootcamp – yes it’s for a wide range of abilities, but prepare to work hard and sweat! Join in with the session here.
Workplace Wellbeing Month - Week 1 - how to join
September is here! This can only mean only one thing… that Workplace Wellbeing Month has arrived at Barnet.
The difference this year is that (almost) all the activities and events taking place will be virtual online sessions, to enable as many of you as possible to take part while working remotely.
Earlier in the summer we asked you about your views on your physical and mental health during lockdown and also asked what kind of activities you would like to see taking place during a virtual Workplace Wellbeing Month. We listened to your views and have tried to incorporate as many of your ideas as possible.
We are pleased to be able to reveal the full schedule for Workplace Wellbeing Month today – access it here. Look out tomorrow for an email with full booking details for all events and how to access the range of online sessions available. All events are being themed under the Five Ways to Wellbeing – Be Active; Take Notice; Give; Connect; and Learn.
Among the activities that we have in store for you are a series of fitness sessions at a range of times to suit you – run by Our Parks and personal trainer Andy Aransibia; fun cook-a-longs with the Detox Barn and Natural Chef Sheila Tompkins; Q&A sessions with our Mental Health First Aiders and the Stop Smoking Team; tai chi, yoga and meditation sessions; and online hanging basket making sessions, to name but a few.
We are also running some team and individual challenges, with a one-week pedometer step challenge; a seated dance challenge and a quiz hosted by our colleagues in Public Health.
Mike Koumi, Head of Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHaW), said: “Our Workplace Wellbeing Group is well aware of the difficulties everybody has faced this year and the potential impacts that has had on people’s mental and physical health. We wanted to offer some fun and light-hearted activities that will enable you to step away from your screen and engage in one or more of the five ways to wellbeing.
“Look out tomorrow for how to book onto your favourite sessions, and try to get involved with your team mates, friends and colleagues throughout Workplace Wellbeing Month.”
More information can be found on the dedicated Yammer group for Workplace Wellbeing Month here, and remember to look out for tomorrow’s email with full booking details for each session.
Don't delay your appointment! Cervical Screening Awareness Week
Jo’s Trust is the UK’s leading cancer charity and one of its main aims is to increase the amount of women who take up their invitations to attend a cervical screening appointment. With low cervical screening attendance already a concern before COVID-19, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is using Cervical Screening Awareness Week to address new challenges to attendance as a result of the virus.
New research has found that delayed and cancelled cervical screening appointments have left many women feeling worried (39%). Yet, while 40% would feel relieved to be able to go, as screening programmes across the UK are looking to recover, around one in eight women (12%) say they feel less likely to attend than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar numbers (13%) think it is best to put off going for cervical screening at the moment.
We're supporting the Jo’s Trust campaign to encourage women to take up their cervical screening appointments. If you had an invitation to a cervical screening, or may have been due an appointment don’t delay it any further by putting it off.
COVID-19 Bereavement counselling services launches
Very sad fact: the pandemic has cost a lot of lives, which means so many colleagues, residents and clients will be affected by the loss of a loved one.
Director of Public Health and Prevention, Tamara Djuretic, says: ‘’The impact of Covid 19 has affected our all lives, and sadly, some Barnet residents and key staff have suffered loss of family, or friends, at a time when we have been isolated from our usual support.
"As Barnet Council, we worked with our partners Mind in Barnet and Community Barnet and launched the Covid 19 Bereavement Support and Counselling service to address this.
"The Service can offer immediate emotional support and counselling as well as practical and financial support that residents may seek whilst they are in bereavement. Barnet and struggling with bereavement can access this service.
"The service aims to offer swift response and to help anyone who lives, works or studies in Barnet at this difficult time.’’
The service will be delivered through Community Barnet and Mind in Barnet. People will be able to access social and practical support and information as well as accessing immediate emotional support and bereavement counselling.
As well as general counselling, the COVID-19 Bereavement Service can advise people about how to access funeral services and financial support. Residents will be able to refer themselves and leave messages seven days a week.
The service is open Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm.
Call: 020 8016 0016
Any carers out there?
Carers have started to get more recognition due to the huge contribution they have made looking after people during the pandemic. Barnet Council has been supporting the Proud to Care campaign to recruit more carers in Barnet as there is a growing demand. However, there are hundreds of carers in Barnet whose diligent care of people in need goes unknown – unpaid carers.
During Carers Week we would like to shine a light on the work of carers who are unpaid, yet carrying out the vital role of looking after a loved one, family member or friend.
Are you a carer? A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or other personal issues cannot cope without their support. Young carers are particularly vulnerable, as they are often juggling caring with school work.
But what happens when unpaid carers themselves need support? The Barnet Carers Centre offers support and advice to unpaid carers.
This week, the Barnet Carers Centre has a whole programme of events designed to help carers with their mental health and wellbeing – as well highlighting support services they can help you with.
Live Q&A this Thursday!
It's good to talk - if you are an unpaid carer you are not alone. There's the opportunity to talk to the Barnet Carers Centre directly about issues you may have wanted to raise for a while.
If you are a carer, work in the care field or have a connection with someone who is a carer, please join in with the Live Q&A with Chief Executive of The Barnet Carers Centre, Mike Rich, on Thursday 11th June from 1-2pm. (Via Microsoft Teams +44 20 3321 5256 United Kingdom, London (Toll)
Conference ID: 362 212 941#)
Follow the link below for more Carers Week information or the full programme is listed for ease, below.
https://barnetcarers.org/carers-week-2020-making-caring-visible/ Please contact Barnet Carers Centre via their website to register interest in any of the events listed below.
Please take the time to read through the attached quotes - they are the thoughts of real-life (unpaid) carers all across Barnet!
Carers Week programme:
Monday 8th June
Mental Health Monday
Mental Health – In it Together Group 6pm-8pm Mindfulness for carers (afternoon)
Tuesday 9th June
The Tuesday Workout
Adult Carers Yoga (afternoon)
Boxing with John 6pm
Wednesday 10th June
Coffee and Chat for Carers (11am)
So you say you can’t draw? Simple cartooning workshop (3pm) + competition Barnet Carers Quiz (7pm)
Thursday 11th June
Singing workshops morning and afternoon
Friday 12th June
The Friday slowdown
Coffee and Chat for Carers (11am)
Keep calm and yoga (3pm)
Supporting Mental Health Awareness Week
Kindness Week Day five #thoughtsforfriday
"The epidemic has give a lot of us the opportunity to be kind in one way or another," Mavis Osei Agyapong
Kindness week has all been about raising awareness of mental health in the workplace.
Mavis Osei Agyapong from Family Services shared her #ThoughtsforFriday via a video on Yammer:
A Mental Health and Wellbeing section has been created in Yammer, so if you do have any resources to share you think would be useful or want to get a conversation going, please post it there - don't be shy!
Thanks to the Mental Health First Aiders for hosting their first live Q&A - it was a really great start and hopefully more of you will feel comfortable raising mental health issues and ways we can be kind to each other.
If you fancy a chat and a catch-up we already have Brewlette, so for those of you who have yet to arrange a virtual catch up with the colleague you have been paired with for May - there's still time. Then we will be doing the Brewlette draw for June - so if you would like to join in time for that one, let us know in the comments box below or email email@example.com
Over to you now.
Kindness Week, Day Four: Be kind together = good team work
‘We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other’
Part of being in a great team is being able to share workloads, collaborate on projects and find solutions. There might be good days and not so good days though. On the not so good days, you can always direct colleagues to all the free resources available to help with stress and other mental health issues.
Just follow Barnet's Mental Health and Wellbeing Yammer page, which is regularly updated with resources and mental health awareness news https://www.yammer.com/barnet.gov.uk/#/graph/360537265717248
You can end Kindness Week on the best possible note on behalf of your teams by sharing those positive thoughts and news stories using the hashtag #thoughtsforfriday or post to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bereavement support and training
Bereavement is the toughest aspect of the crisis and we want colleagues who go through the devastating impact of a loss at this time (or any other), to know they will be supported with compassion and understanding.
Please access bereavement training and resources available by clicking on the attachments below.
LBB Public Health have commissioned Cruse Bereavement Care<https://www.cruse.org.uk/> to deliver online loss and bereavement training to support frontline staff facing unprecedented loss of life often under very difficult circumstances. All deaths during this period (COVID related or not) are likely to be traumatic, with limitations on contact with family, remote contact with services and changed funeral practices.
For more information email email@example.com
Bereavement support for staff:
Kindness Week, Day Three, Be Kind to Others
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
There are approximately 100 Mental Health First Aiders who are trained to help give advice, and be a listening ear to colleagues who need it.
In today's First Team, please look out for an interview with some of our Mental Health First Aiders, who share why they decided to take on the role of helping colleagues in need of support.
In the meantime, click on the video clip via Yammer to hear from one of our MHFAs, Kirsty Dutton, about why mental health at work is so important.
If you would like to ask/talk to a Mental Health First Aider about general issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to join with the Mental Health First Aiders live Q&A (via Skype) on Thursday 21st May from 1-2pm.
Let's be kind at work:
- Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are
- Offer to make a drink for your colleagues
- Get to know a new member of staff
- Lend your ear - listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
- Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
- Praise a colleague for something they have done well
Exercise your kindness muscle!
Being nice isn't 'soppy' it actually has a clear benefit to the recipient and makes us feel good about ourselves, too! It's a win win.
A psychologist shares 21 ways to exercise your kindness muscle. It doesn't have to be complicated, it can be as simple as posting a nice sentiment on a friend or colleague's Facebook page. We all know how social media has played a part in having a negative impact on people's mental health.
Kindness Week day two, Be Kind to Yourself
‘To Love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance’ Oscar Wilde
Perhaps you are just beginning to find out more about mental health and how taking steps to improve it can make a huge difference. Or perhaps you already know all about self-care, but busy workloads and other pressures prevent you from taking any time for yourself.
Either way, taking just 5 minutes a day to do something for yourself can have an enormous positive impact on your mental health. Some ideas on things you can do were part of our previous Take 5 campaign, which you can view here.
Take 5 minutes every day to:
- Reflect on how you are feeling and focus on the things you do take make you feel better.
- Contact five people this week, preferably family members or friends that always make you feel better about yourself. Especially if they haven't heard from you in a while - they will be happy to hear from you!
- List five activities you enjoy doing and do one per day.
- Take a five-minute pause from sitting at your desk or kitchen table and contact your colleague for a Brewlette catch-up.
- Exercise is good for your health – why not start with 5 minutes of yoga everyday to help with your breathing and focus.
Please keep checking Yammer this week to access a Yoga class with Head of Mental Health, Karen Morrell, who is also a trained Yoga instructor. You save the clip on your phone or device and spend 5-10 minutes practice 3 times a week – you’ll be surprised how quickly makes a difference. Forward on to the colleagues on your WhatsApp group who aren't already on Yammer.
Mental health resources for you:
Don't forget to have your #thoughtsforFriday ready, post them on Barnet's Yammer Community or email email@example.com to share some positive milestones your team has achieved, or just to say something nice about a colleague.
Kindness Week day one
Day one: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee
It's Mental Health Awareness Week from 18-24 May and we are using it as an opportunity to encourage us all to be kind to each other and access mental health resources available if you need to.
At the moment many of us are working from different locations, in deployed roles and for office-based staff often working in isolation – the idea of Kindness Week in Barnet is to remind everybody that they are not alone.
Bookmark free mental health resources
There is a wide range of mental health awareness people can access that cover all kinds of matters confidentially, financial issues, mindfulness and confidence-building.
Save these resources in your ‘favourites’ so they are easy to find should you need to access them.
- Mental Health First Aiders rota
- Mental Health and Wellbeing hub
- Employee Assistance programme
- Mental Health and wellbeing resources available to staff
- Connect, Be Active,Take Notice, Give, Learn
- Brewlettes/Thoughts for Friday
- AbleFutures resources
- Mental Health Foundation resources
Connecting with colleagues outside your team
Sometimes we need a little bit of social interaction – so now’s the perfect opportunity to sign up to Brewelettes, where every month its members are entered into a ‘draw’ and matched up with a colleague to have a catch-up with. At the moment it’s virtual. We would like to hear from any of the draws in May who might have had an online catch-up to share the benefits of keeping on touch.
Sign up to Brewlettes June here.
So how's Kindness Week shaping up for the rest of the week?
- Day Two, Be Kind to Yourself. Yoga class link with Karen Morrell will be shared online and relaxation guides.
- Day Three, Be Kind to Others, meet some Mental Health First Aiders, exercise your kind muscles and take 15 minutes
- Day Four, sign up to live Q&A with the Mental Health First Aiders, training opportunities
- Day Five, share your #thoughtsforfriday, news about the wellbeing action plan and the staff survey on wellbeing. Plus local services available
#ThoughtsforFriday – many teams are having regular catch-ups using WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams. We are asking you to share positive milestones or examples of amazing things your colleagues have done every Friday with the #ThoughtsforFriday of if you would prefer, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your examples. During your catch-ups please talk about Kindness Week especially with colleagues who aren’t office-based do not usually connect online.
Mental Health First Aiders new support rota
Our Mental Health First Aiders are operating on a rota-basis to support any staff who need support and guidance with mental health issues during this time.
MHFA support rota can be viewed here
Looking after your health and wellbeing
At a time of unprecedented restrictions on our daily life, it is vitally important that we look after our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Public Health England has (PHE) recognised that the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing, alongside many people having to work (and in some cases, live,) in isolation is having an impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
- Maintain contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media;
- Keep a regular routine and sleeping pattern; and
- Focus on a hobby or learning something new.
In this section you will find links to free, online, resources that have experts and guidelines to support you with keeping a healthy outlook during this time, which will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Looking after your health and wellbeing: how are you today?
There’s no doubt recent events have been very challenging for staff. With a significant number of us either working from home or taking on extra responsibilities or tasks, we want to remind you all that there are outlets that can support you with your mental health and wellbeing.
We have almost 100 mental health first aiders and 30 of them have volunteered to directly support staff during these unprecedented times. This group of trained staff is available to listen to any challenges you might be facing, and direct you to further support. Click here to see the list of volunteer mental health first-aiders.
The council supports Good Thinking, which is a free online resource that provides users with access to resources that can help with a wide range of mental health related issues, from stress to sleep deprivation.
Every Mind Matters
This is Public Health England's official mental health support website, supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have long been advocates for mental health, through their respective patronages and The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign.
- Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
- You can access free easy ten minute work outs from Public Health England or try other exercise videos at home on the NHS Fitness Studio.
Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.
NHS mental health and wellbeing advice
NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.
If you already have a mental health problem, you can access comprehensive guidance provided by Mind.
The government’s strict rules on ensuring people stay indoors means many staff are working from home, often in lengthy isolation. Log onto Barnet’s Yammer feed to connect with colleagues and to share stories of what it has been like self-isolating, working from home for lengthy periods and generally catching up with colleagues - just like you would in the office!
More tips on managing your mental health and wellbeing, while working from home
- Different ways of staying connected
- IT service desk
- Virtual meetings
- Taking care of your laptop