Wellbeing Wednesday 12th October 2022

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Wellbeing Wednesday, which comes with an announcement – this is the last weekly bulletin that we will be issuing – from today, we move to a monthly Wellbeing Wednesday. We’ve been listening to feedback from you about being inundated with information and emails, so we reckon a monthly WBW will be best.

There will still be lots of Wellbeing information available for you on Health and Wellbeing – My Council Works, including past editions, and we’ll add new information here as well. Please do keep in touch with us about topics you would like us to cover at wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk.

Today we are highlighting national work life week – Take a break! Leave on time! Use your Annual Leave! You have the right to disconnect from work, so don’t check your emails out of hours and most definitely don’t take your mobile on holiday.  When I was on leave last week, it was great not to think about emails or messages about work. Working from home, as many of us still are, can make switching off more difficult, so do make sure that your routine includes switching everything off and closing it down, so that you are not tempted to pop back onto the laptop ‘just to send that last email’.

And getting a positive work life balance is also important for good mental health, which is our second topic this week. We now know so much more now about how to maintain good mental health. As the days get shorter and it gets a bit greyer and darker, it’s time to set positive habits for the winter. Have a listen to BBC Radio 4 – Just One Thing – with Michael Mosley with some great tips for the small things we can do to improve our health.

Finally, apart from some fun cycling in the sun on holiday, I sat by the pool and read Babel by RF Kuang.  As I love languages, it was right up my street – it explores the role of language in empire, control and exploitation – as well as having a bit of Harry Potter style adventure and magic. Just the thing for a holiday! Take care and see you in November.

National Work Life Week October 10th-14th 2022

Most of the time, we tend to prioritise our professional life over our personal one. It’s very common to see people grow their careers; whilst disregarding their own wellbeing and health in the process. Establishing a good work life balance can help prevent stress and burnout.

Taking rest breaks, leaving on time, and avoiding emailing outside work hours – all these can lead to healthy and successful work routines.

With working from home and flexible working the lines can be blurred and tasks may be completed in times that are out with regular working hours. If you can stick to a regular working pattern this can be avoided. Another blurred line that reoccurs is postponing or skipping breaks entirely which will negatively affect wellbeing. If your blood sugar drops you might feel tired, irritable and depressed. Eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady. Slow-release energy foods include: pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds to snack on through the day.

The council has a number of polices to support employees covering flexible and alternative ways of working, special leave and attendance and wellbeing. You can access the Employee Assistance Programme to provide you and your family with advice and support on work or home life matters and also the Employee Benefits programme. Use this week as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with these and how they might be of use to you.

You can find further information in the following places and also by contacting the Wellbeing Team:  wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk

The Hub – Working Hours

The Hub – Absence and Leave

The Hub – Health and wellbeing |

My Council Works – Wellbeing

My Council Works – Employee benefit scheme

'Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for all a Global Priority'.

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th of October every year:

The theme of 2022’s World Mental Health Day, is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’.

Mental health problems exist in our lives, families, workplaces and communities, impacting everyone and should be seen as equally important as physical health problems. When we feel mentally well, we can work productively, enjoy our free time, and contribute actively to our communities.

Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to social inclusion and access to the right care; importantly, we can all play our part in increasing awareness about which preventive mental health interventions work and World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to do that collectively.

Some ways in which we can look after our mental health are:

  • Have a routine. Keep up with daily routines as far as possible, or make new ones. 
  • Get up and go to bed at similar times every day. 8hrs of sleep is generally recommended for adults.
  • Keep up with personal hygiene. Looking after our oral and skin microbiome is just as important as taking care of our gut microbiome.
  • Eat healthy meals at regular times. Knowing what foods we should and shouldn’t be eating can be really confusing, especially when it feels like the advice changes regularly. However, evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat can also affect the way we feel. Improving your diet may help to: improve your mood, give you more energy, help you think more clearly.
  • Exercise regularly. Adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of intense activity every week. If you can do more that’s even better. Step challenges can be a fun way of coming together and getting fit at the same time, 10,000 steps daily is recommended.
  • Allocate time for working and time for resting. Create boundaries around your time in and out of work, make breaks a priority and try to avoid scheduling meetings around lunchtime.
  • Make time for doing things you enjoy. This could be learning a new skill, language or new hobby. Listening to podcasts, reading or journaling.
  • Minimise newsfeeds. Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed. 
  • Social contact is important. Keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels. Try and maintain contact with people at work on a daily basis where appropriate.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink alcohol at all. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation.
  • Screen time. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
  • Social media. Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. If time online is becoming an issue schedule a social media break for a day or even a week.
  • Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it. There are lots of community engagement opportunities in Argyll and Bute to become involved with.

Don’t discriminate against others who are experiencing mental health problems. We can never know what people are feeling beneath the surface, being kind and compassionate to others can only do good.

We’d like to hear your tips for keeping mentally well, the more we can share with each other the better.

As always, please 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 wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk