Wellbeing Wednesday – 10th March 2021

Jane Fowler
Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello to you on this very wet and windy Wednesday and welcome to this week’s Wellbeing update. We have had more feedback from you and you’ll see that our last item today about learning an instrument has been sent in by two of our readers, Jayne Jones and Alison McBride – thank you! Also this week, a subject very dear to me is about getting enough sleep. It seems such a simple thing, but lack of sleep can have a real impact on your wellbeing, both physical and mental. There are so many mindfulness podcasts available now that can help by creating soothing sounds, we’d love to hear what your favourites are – or any other tips you have for getting off to sleep when your mind is working overtime and you just need to rest.  

We also have top tips as well for stopping smoking – tell us if you have managed and how you did it. And for our colleagues in Education, there are some great resources here for you. Finally, and I love this, let’s all start talking about our generation Remarkables – all our young people who have seen such change to their lives over the last year. We owe it to them to recognise their resilience and to support them to be positive – they are the generation who have adapted and who have learned to value the important things in life of friendship and family. We can support them and we can learn from them.

World Sleep Day 2021 – 10th March 2021

World Sleep Day

Sleep and You

Not sleeping well can have a huge effect on your health, putting you at risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. It can even shorten your life expectancy.

How much sleep do you need?

Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly but some need more and some less.  What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it.  Good-quality sleep is more important than the amount of sleep that you get and will help to keep you feeling healthy.

Boost your body

Sleep gives you energy and boosts your immune system, helping your body recover from illnesses. While you sleep your body builds and repairs itself by making new tissue.

Rest your mind

Sleep helps your brain to recover and revive itself, helping it to make sense of the day, storing your memories and creating new ideas.

De-stress yourself

Sleep allows your mind to unwind and de-stress.  This allows your mental and emotional wellbeing to be restored.

The World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep:

  • Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.
  • If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime and do not smoke.
  • Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.  This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
  • Use comfortable bedding.
  • Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
  • Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep, don’t use the bedroom as an office, workroom or recreation room.

We also have an online learning module available on Leon which gives tips on how to ensure you are getting enough quality sleep.

And not to forget the council’s EAP service Health Assured who have a useful webinar which looks at the link between mental health and sleep, sleep disorders and techniques to improve sleep including the ways in which mindfulness can aid the sleeping process.

National No Smoking Day 2021 – 10th March


Today is the day to stop!

We all know the health dangers associated with smoking but No Smoking Day is also about raising awareness of the help and support available to those who want to stop.

Stopping smoking is particularly important during the Coronavirus pandemic as advised on the GOV.UK website:

  • If you smoke, you generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infection and of more severe symptoms once infected. COVID-19 symptoms may, therefore, be more severe if you smoke
  • Stopping smoking will bring immediate benefits to your health, including if you have an existing smoking-related disease.  This is particularly important for both you and for our NHS at a time of intense pressure on the health service
  • e-cigarettes (vapes) can be an effective aid to stopping smoking and staying smoke free
  • it is currently unknown what effect vaping may have on susceptibility to severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19
  • for most people vaping remains significantly less harmful than smoking and it is very important that you avoid returning to smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health and when you stop you will give your lungs the chance to repair and your breathing will become easier.  There are lots of other benefits too – and they start almost immediately. You can find out more about these, as well as lots of resources to help you, on the NHS Smokefree website.

You can download a free personal quit smoking plan.  You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044, open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

Another major benefit of stopping smoking is the impact on your bank balance.  The average smoker spends around £5.92 a day on cigarettes, which equates to more than £2,100 per year.  (Based on an average of 11 cigarettes smoked per day and an average pack of 20 cigarettes costing £10.76 – premium brands will be substantially more).

Having a plan for how you would spend an extra £180 per month could help sustain the motivation to stop smoking and provide a real sense of achievement when you get to spend that extra cash.

There will never be a perfect moment to quit smoking.  Don’t wait for life to change… it won’t. Take control of the changes you need in your life.

Wellbeing support for staff in schools

Cartoon of people wearing masks

This week we wanted to acknowledge all our schools that are working hard preparing for and adjusting to what we hope will be the gradual return of pupils to classrooms.  These periods of change and uncertainty can impact our wellbeing and it’s important to make time to take care of ourselves.

The mental health charity Mind has produced some resources specifically to support staff working in schools.  Mind have also teamed up with educational resource twinkl to provide a great series of personal wellbeing resources.  In addition to this, the charity Mental Health at Work has also produced an easy to use toolkit containing a series of helpful wellbeing resources again specifically tailored for staff working in schools.

As always, you can also access 24hr help and support via Health Assured, the employee assistance programme either by visiting their online portal, downloading the My Healthy Advantage app or by calling them on 0800 030 5182.

The Remarkables

On the subject of the returning to schools, this recent article published by the website Positive News discusses the risks of labelling the current generation of children with negative terms such as the ‘Covid Generation’ and how their remarkable experiences can give them the strength and potential to build a better and stronger society. There is something for all of us to learn here on how positive thinking goes a long way to helping improve our resilience. You can read the article, written by a school Headteacher.

Fèis an Tairbeirt

Fèis an TairbeirtWe love to hear your feedback and all the brilliant suggestions for future topics and activities.  We recently talked about the benefits of learning a musical instrument and this week we would like to feature Fèis an Tairbeirt, with thanks to Jayne Jones, Commercial Manager and Alison McBride, Architect, for this suggestion!

Fèis an Tairbeirt is a voluntary organisation which runs traditional music, art, drama and music tech workshops for children and adults in Tarbert, with children and young people attending workshops from all over Kintyre and Mid Argyll.  Normally the workshops would take place face-to-face in Tarbert Academy, but due to Covid-19 restrictions these have moved to weekend online sessions, providing a mix of live Zoom sessions and pre-recorded sessions for children and young people.

In addition to art, photography, singing and music technology, there are also Fèis Bheag sessions for younger children.  There are a number of great clips available from previous sessions on their Facebook page

They would love to have new participants from all over Argyll and Bute, to find out more and to book a place on one of the workshops on 27th and 28th March visit the Fèis an Tairbeirt Facebook Page or email to be added to the mailing list. You can find information about other feisean in Argyll at Feisean nan Gael and if you are interested in other Gaelic activities, why don’t you join the Argyll Gaelic Forum Facebook Group? 

Enjoy your week and take care.

The Wellbeing Team