Smiling grief

Wellbeing Wednesday 1 December 2021

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Happy Wellbeing Wednesday and happy 1st December! Only 20 days until it starts getting lighter again (yes – I am a little obsessed by daylight and being outdoors..)

This week one of the topics we are covering is one that touches all of us at one time or another in our lives – that of grief. We are all different people, with different life experiences and different personalities, so we respond differently to loss and experience our grief in very different ways. There is a lot of support available and below we have set out some information and signposting for you as part of Grief Awareness Week.

You will also see that we have information for you on stress awareness and management in this edition including some ‘don’t miss’ interactive sessions for you. The winter and the lead-up to Christmas can be stressful for all sorts of reasons, particularly when you have a heavy workload, so please do drop in and hear about the support the both the wellbeing team and our partnership in Health Assured can provide for you.

The sun is shining now, so I think I may venture outside and perhaps go and buy myself a chocolate advent calendar. Nothing like starting December off as you mean to go on! See you all next week.

National Grief Awareness Week 2 – 8 December

National Grief Awareness Week exists to raise awareness of the different ways that grief and loss can affect us and to make support easier to access for those who need it.

Grief and the loss of friends or loved ones has hit more of us than ever in the last 18 months, and makes it all the more important that we can count on the understanding of those around us and feel able to give support where we can see someone needs it.

This means losing the stigma of talking about death and loss. It’s still a topic that many of us feel awkward about discussing. It’s the one inevitability to life after all but sadly comes sooner for some than we would like.

Charity, the good grief trust have produced some excellent material to help remove some of the awkwardness from conversations about loss and normalise how we might be feeling.

Say their name, I’m thinking about them anyway

We are often afraid to mention the person’s name who has died. We think we will upset our friend or family member, but it is generally the opposite. By saying their name, remembering them and talking about them, you are helping to share your love and affection for that person. This is very important and will help those grieving to know that you will help to keep their memory alive.

There’s no one face of grief

Grief does not discriminate. We will all be affected by a bereavement. Children, young people, the older generation, all faiths, all religions, all cultures, all sectors of our community will grieve.  We need to help all minority groups who are often stigmatised to open up and help to support anyone, anywhere who needs help.

Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m not grieving

The bereaved often have to hide their grief from others. Sometimes it is from their friends and family as they do not want to burden them. Sometimes it is from their colleagues at work. Please look out for them, check they are okay, in the early days and ongoing.  They may look alright, they may be going to work, but deep inside they could be struggling and just need your support and understanding

There’s no set time for grieving

There is a myth that you ‘get over’ grief. That you ‘move on’. You don’t. You move forward with your grief, but you may be affected by a bereavement throughout your whole life. Often after the funeral, people leave and things go ‘back to normal’. This is the time when the bereaved most need support, when they feel alone and isolated. We need to understand that there are triggers that may come from nowhere that will affect them in the weeks, months and years after the death.


If you are currently working to adjust to the loss of someone you care about or helping someone who is, the good grief trust’s website is an ideal place to start.

Help is also available from Health Assured, the employee assistance programme who can give support and guidance for those suffering from grief and those who want to help them. You can call them directly by telephoning 0800 030 5182 or accessing resources and live chat via the portal or by downloading the MyHealthyAdvantage app.

The Health Assured portal contains helpful insights into effects of grief as well as help with practical and legal matters that may need to be taken care of.

Paid leave is also available in the instance that you are coping with the loss of a close relative, further details can be found on The Hub or by contacting your line manager or the Wellbeing Team.

Reducing stress in the workplace

As your employer Argyll and Bute Council remains committed via its wellbeing agenda to creating a positive working environment for employees. Recognising and acting to reduce stress at work is an important part of this and we have revised the Reducing Stress in the Workplace procedure to be more accessible and to include more guidance and resources to support you all to have constructive conversations as a first step in addressing stress. We have also arranged the following interactive sessions on stress for employees and line managers.

If you go to the Stress page in the Health and Wellbeing section of The Hub you will find the revised procedure and full range of resources. Key items can also be found in the Stress section of My Council Works.


Stress management workshop – recognise and combat stress

We all need some pressure in life – without deadlines, nothing would get done, after all. But too much pressure can lead to stress – which can make life a lot harder. Health Assured offers a stress management workshop for employees and managers about stress— both the good and bad kind.

9 December 10 – 11am via MS Teams – to book your place email


Line Managers – making the most of the EAP service – don’t miss it

Our Employee Assistance Programme providers, Health Assured will be hosting a live Webinar for all managers. You will be able to ask questions and get an understanding of what the EAP service provides and how as a line manager you can use it to support your own wellbeing at work and also those who are part of your team. Please don’t miss out on this great opportunity.

14 December 3:30 – 4:30pm via MS Teams – to book your place email


Line Managers – overview of Reducing Stress in the Workplace procedure

The Wellbeing Team are delivering the following drop-in sessions for all of you who are line managers on application of the procedure and accompanying tools and resources. Please don’t miss this valuable opportunity to ask the questions that you have. Click on the link below to join the session of your choice.




Wednesday 8 December

11am – 12pm

Click here to join this meeting

Wednesday 15 December

3:30 – 4:30pm

Click here to join this meeting

We hope to see you at one of the sessions, which will be fully interactive.  If you have any queries about stress or the procedure please do get in touch.



Please also let us know your thoughts and ideas about the items featured in our Wellbeing Wednesdays each week and send us your suggestions for future topics – we love to hear from you.

The Wellbeing Team: