Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services
Happy Wednesday everyone! And what a beautiful day it is. When the radio came on this morning saying that today is 1st September, I felt a brief sense of sadness because September means that summer is over. But the sun came out in a bright blue sky and I thought – autumn is not so bad! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today, I hope that you find some positive autumn thoughts today.
This week we have 3 topics for you – Alzheimer’s and dementia, the healing power of tea and a book review by Jayne Jones – thanks Jayne!
We recognise lots of different health conditions in our Wellbeing Wednesdays because we know that there are many challenges a lot of you are facing both at work but also at home with your friends and families. With Alzheimer’s, as with other conditions, the social stigma of talking about it can be a barrier to seeking the support that you need to cope with a diagnosis for yourself or for a loved one. Speaking out about conditions can help to take away some of the fear and uncertainty that comes from receiving difficult news. The old sayings ‘it’s good to talk’ and ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ have stood the test of time, because it does work.
And how better to talk than over a nice cup of tea! Whether it is Typhoo, Tetley or Yorkshire, chamomile, jasmine or mint – the drink as well as the company do benefit us all.
And finally, Jayne’s book review tells us about how you don’t have to be an extrovert to impact positively on the world around you. Let us know if you read it and what you think!
See you next week!
World Alzheimer’s Month 1 – 30 September
This World Alzheimer’s Month’s theme is the importance of talking about dementia. Alzheimer’s Society want to raise awareness of how dementia impacts the daily lives of people affected by the condition and challenge the stigma that surrounds it.
Receiving a dementia diagnosis can leave a person feeling very alone. It is also the case that primary carers can also feel isolated following a diagnosis of dementia for a loved one but support is available. Alzheimer’s Society is here to support you.
Let’s shine a spotlight on dementia and highlight how taking the time to talk about dementia can have a huge impact for people affected by it.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a range of symptoms that show that the brain has a disease. Only some people get dementia. It does not happen to everyone as they get older. Most people with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. Fewer people with dementia have dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). There are other types of dementia that smaller numbers of people get.
What are the symptoms of dementia?
A person with dementia can forget things. They can think, feel, speak and act differently. They may be confused. These changes can be small. They will get worse. After some time, the person will not be able to do everyday things. If you notice any changes and are worried about yourself or someone else, speak to your GP. For support, call Alzheimer’s Society on 0333 150 3456.
What causes dementia?
Dementia is caused by changes in the brain. These happen because of the disease. Dementia gets worse as the brain cannot work properly. There are reasons why a person might be more likely to get dementia. These risks are getting older, genes, injury, health and lifestyle (for example, physical activity, diet, alcohol and smoking). Most people with dementia are over 65 years old. But younger people can also get dementia.
Can a person get better from dementia?
There is no cure for dementia. A person cannot get better from dementia. Most symptoms will get worse over time. How quickly this happens can be very different from person to person. Some people with dementia may need a lot of help. Others may not need help for a long time after they find out they have dementia. Dementia shortens how long a person will live for. However, people can live with it for many years.
You can find more information about dementia here
Celebrating the Benefits of Tea!
Many of us love having afternoon tea when we are celebrating or treating ourselves. It’s a great gift to give or receive and it’s something special to look forward to. Tucking into beautifully cut sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream together with all the dainty cakes makes afternoon tea such a treat. It’s a couple of hours of relaxing and connecting with loved ones while sharing a great cuppa. No wonder there is a national ‘Afternoon Tea’ week during August!
Spending time doing things you enjoy is a key element for maintaining good wellbeing, so afternoon tea definitely ticks that box. But there are also health benefits to be had from enjoying afternoon tea. You may be reading and thinking ‘well that’s a bit of a stretch’, but it’s true!
Knowing that many teas have a multitude of health benefits, goes someway to balancing out all the indulgence. Some view tea as medicinal – many herbs are brewed to treat ailments, for example peppermint leaves are credited with easing symptoms of stress or IBS and camomile is believed to promote good sleep.
There are lots of teas and infusions out there and here’s an overview of a few that can benefit health.
To read more detail click here.
Green tea benefits are linked with their content of polyphenols which are micronutrients with antioxidant properties that protect against free radicals which can cause cell damage. Another study showed that a green tea may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by interacting with the ‘building blocks’ that form plaques in the brain that impair brain signalling.
Jasmine tea – this has a green tea base with jasmine flowers added to enrich the aroma. As well as the benefits from the green tea, jasmine blooms also bring their own medicinal properties in the form of antioxidants which may protect cells from age-related damage.
Jasmine has been linked with improved physical wellbeing and may reduce the impact of stress. Some people find they enjoy drinking jasmine tea simply because they love the way it smells, and research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology explained that the smell is soothing, calms nerves and helps regulate mood.
Rooibos tea – also known as ‘redbush tea’ has antioxidant properties similar – if not quite as strong – as those of green tea. A study suggested that the antioxidants may protect the liver from oxidative stress, helping it be resilient to induced damage. The researchers also found that rooibos tea or rooibos-derived dietary supplements may help in lowering blood pressure and relaxing tense muscles. Unlike green or black tea, rooibos has no caffeine, making it safe to drink well into the evening.
Having a cup of your tea of choice may be a pleasant way to carve out some self-indulgence time and stimulate your bodily and mental well-being in a subtle way. Time to put the kettle on.
Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) by Susan Cain
Book Review by Jayne Jones
“We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.”
Did you know that between a third and a half of all people are introverts? Neither did I until I read ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain.
As someone who knows they are an introvert, I was immediately drawn to this book in the hopes that I’d find out how to use my own experiences to be a better leader and more actively engaged, and I was not disappointed.
Susan Cain uses her own introversion to explore why in Western society we have such a strong belief that creativity and productivity comes from extroversion. She outlines why we think that those who thrive in group and in leading teams deserve reward and recognition, and why we think enthusiasm equates to better work. As Cain says ‘there is zero correlation between the best talker and having the best ideas’.
She highlights the quiet power of introverts: that some people need time away from busyness, and to sit with ideas to let them develop into well rounded creative suggestions. She highlights so many examples of quiet leaders who were hugely transformative: Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Bill Wozniak. Not all of these were ‘loners’ and many created real transformation through collaboration, but needed their own time and space to develop ideas at their pace.
The author takes this learning into the context of schools and workplaces: the requirement for pupils to learn in groups, and the constant evolution of open-plan workspaces that provide little or no opportunity for private working, and how this can disproportionately affects the ability of introverts to concentrate, recharge and reflect, and so we do need to consider how we use our space and our time to get the best out of our staff.
Cain calls for us, as leaders, to focus on the importance of creativity and productivity, and to harness the power of those who are quiet, reflective and solitary workers, to create the best workplaces we can.
As we emerge from the pandemic and 18 months of home working, is encouraging for me to see that ‘Our Modern Workspace’ plans to take into account individual’s needs as we develop our workplaces of the future. I do hope that considers what works bests for introverts and extroverts alike.
I’d recommend this book to anyone: extroverts and introverts alike. It’s an important way of thinking about the different personality styles in your own team, and to better understand what each individual needs to thrive and to contribute well and in their own way to developing better services for our communities.
If you are an introvert who prefers to watch rather than read, you can find Susan Cain’s TED Talk here: Susan Cain: The power of introverts | TED Talk
Wellbeing Survey - complete by 15 September
Thank you to those who have already completed the wellbeing survey. If you haven’t yet completed it, we would would really appreciate if you could take a few minutes to do this before 15 September.
Your views will help to improve our Wellbeing Wednesday, but also to inform the other wellbeing initiatives that the team work on – from reviewing and revising policies and procedures to supporting employees and managers with wellbeing related matters.
You can access the survey here.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org