Wellbeing Wednesday – 2rd February 2022

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello everyone and Happy Wednesday! It is a bit wet and grey today, but the days are definitely feeling longer and there are a few brave snowdrops around! This week we focus on Time to Talk Day and World Cancer Day, which both fall in February.

It sometimes feels as if the world today is filled with people expressing ever louder opinions, shouting down people who disagree with them and talking about anyone who disagrees with them in all sorts of unkind ways. Time to Talk Day encourages us to talk to people around us, rather than about them – and to listen. In many aspects of our lives, taking the time to listen to someone we think we disagree with can often help us to better understand them, and ourselves.

We will all have been affected, either personally or through friends, colleagues and family by cancer. When cancer affects you personally, there are so many emotions to cope with, that getting the right help, support and advice is essential. And when it affects someone else, it can be hard to know what to say or do. World Cancer Day brings us all together to raise awareness and take action against cancer. The information and material that is available for us is hugely helpful, so take the opportunity to have a look and get the support that you or your loved ones need.

And finally, on my New Year resolution to improve my wellbeing by looking at screens less often and reading more – after my arctic ghost story I moved onto two more novels – William McIlvanney/Iain Rankin’s The Dark Remains and John Le Carre’s Silverview. One is based in the 1970’s but feels very contemporary, the other is based in the present, but feels quite old fashioned in style. Definitely preferred McIlvanney/Rankin J. See you next week.

Time to Talk Day - 3rd February

 “A lot of problems in the world would be solved if we talked to each other instead of about each other.” Nickey Gumbel

Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-Op. The campaign runs UK wide, with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and See Me supporting the campaign in Scotland.

Time to Talk Day draws attention to mental health and the importance of reaching out to others. The day aims to help people open up and be honest about mental health, without the fear and stigma often attached to the topic.

It can be daunting to express personal struggles and because of this, many people keep everything bottled up. By opening up, the likelihood of the person suffering seeking help increases, which can be crucial to the healing process.

We know that the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us with mental health problems are made to feel.

Start with a small conversation, the important thing is to open up communication.

Here are some listening tips that you can consider to help family, friends and colleagues to help you on your way:

  • Ask questions and listen: show you really want to know how someone is feeling.
  • Focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone
  • Have patience: it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up
  • Don’t try to fix it: just listening is often enough
  • Use open questions: use ones that need more than a yes/no answer, and follow up, for example ‘Tell me more’
  • Say it back: check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution
  • Have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to leave silence
  • Keep it simple: chat over a cup of coffee, send a text or go for a walk together. A small conversation about mental health can make all the difference

World Cancer Day 4th February 2022

There can’t be many of us who have not had a relative, friend or loved one affected by cancer.  You may also be unfortunate enough to have been affected by cancer personally.  This week, the world comes together to raise awareness and take action against cancer, with 172 countries taking part in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.

Cancer develops when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues. There are more than 200 different types of cancer and most will have specific organisations and websites with helpful advice and information relating to that type of cancer.  Macmillan is a good starting point for information and support for all types of cancer

1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime, however great strides have been made in the treatment of cancer, with 2 in 4 people in the UK now surviving a cancer diagnosis for 10 years or more. 

It can feel like there is nothing you can do in the face of something as destructive and devastating as cancer, but there are lots of ways in which you can get involved.  This could include raising funds for research, volunteering at local groups/driving people to appointments, holding coffee mornings etc. but most importantly, by being there for those affected by cancer and preventing them from being alone. If you want to find out more about World Cancer Day click here:

Cancer Research UK also has lots of information for sufferers and their families/loved ones, as well as ideas for fund raising, volunteering and getting involved in other ways. You can also purchase a World Cancer Unity Band 2022 here, via donation (suggested £2.00 per band)

Together we will beat cancer!

The Employee Counselling Service provided by Health Assured offer a 24/7 telephone service and a range of supportive options including online programmes and telephone counselling sessions.  You can contact them on their free helpline 0800 028 0199 or if you are a line manager you can make referral on behalf of an employee for 6 structured counselling sessions 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: