Wellbeing Wednesday Monthly Edition

7th December 2022

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello everyone and welcome to our final Wellbeing Wednesday of 2022! I can’t quite believe that we are nearly at the end of the year – 2022 feels like it has rushed by in a bit of a blur. Hopefully you are still finding our information useful – and don’t forget there are back issues on MyCouncilWorks where you can catch up on anything you have missed.

This week we have a packed edition for you – highlighting some important areas of wellbeing as well as a recipe for mince pie brownies (a new one on me too!) and some great, classic Christmas reads.

The weather is beautifully cold and crisp with some sunshine, which is great for lifting the spirits after our grey, wet November. Lovely for getting outside to catch some sunshine and vitamin D!

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a good New Year. See you again in 2023.

International Day of People with Disabilities – 3rd December

In the UK, 1 in 5 people have a disability, 80 per cent of which have a hidden disability. The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 3rd December was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly and aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The theme this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.  This initiative aims to “raise awareness of the issues of disability in employment and highlights the knowledge and skills required to access employment in an innovative, rapidly changing technological landscape and how assistive technologies can increase accessibility to employment and be mainstreamed in the workplace”  International Day of People with Disability (idpwd.com.au)

What does this actually mean?  Basically, we live in an age of incredible advances in technology and these should be utilised to make the workplace much more inclusive and accessible for those with a disability. Disabilities may not always be obvious and sometimes small changes are all that are required to make the workplace more comfortable and accessible, such as providing quiet, low stimulation areas and ensuring floors and doorways are kept clear of hazards.  Supporting changes to working hours and work locations to enable home or hybrid-working may also be helpful. Some employees may require specialist equipment such as voice activated software or soft-touch keyboards and an ergonomic mouse or a specialist chair.  A DSE Assessment may highlight issues with your existing workstation and equipment and you can find more information on how to carry these out on the Council’s Health and Safety advice section.

Where someone has a mental health condition that is affecting them at work, Able Futures can provide support and advice and work together with the Council to support the employee in the workplace. Others may require support in actually getting to work, or moving about within the workplace.  Advice can be sought from Access to Work who may also be able to help with funding for specialist equipment or travel.

You can find out more about supporting disability in the workplace in the following two articles:

How to support disability at work | Acas

Supporting disabled staff in the workplace | NHS Employers

National Grief Awareness Week 2nd – 8th 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 can hit us at any time and the value of having good support and the understanding of those around us can make a huge difference.  People often find it difficult to know what to say to someone who has suffered a personal loss and this can lead to them not saying anything.   

The more we talk about death and loss the more we break down the barriers and the stigma attached to it. The Good Grief Trust have lots of easily accessible materials to help remove some of the awkwardness from conversations about loss and help normalise how we might be feeling.  

Although we have featured this previously, it is worth repeating as it is so important when talking to those who have suffered a loss:

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 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 dealing with the loss of someone you care about or helping someone who is, the Good Grief Trust’s website may provide some helpful advice and support.

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.

Loneliness at Christmas

While the festive period is traditionally one where families and loved ones come together, it can also be a period of anxiety and loneliness for many, even those within family groups or living with others. 

Health Assured have a short 5 minute webinar available on “Coping with Loneliness” on their website, which provides some information on different types of loneliness and some advice and tips for helping to deal with this.

Webinars | Health Assured (healthassuredeap.co.uk)

Wellbeing News and Events – Coming up

  • Wellbeing Webinars: our next webinar from (superwellness.co.uk) is on the topic “8 Steps to Better Sleep” and will be taking place via Teams at 4 p.m. on 11th January. We hope you can join us for this and you may wish to copy and paste the link below into your calendar.

         Click here to join the meeting  (Meeting ID: 311 748 320 433, Passcode: VaNbyQ)

  • The new Supporting Attendance at Work training module is now available on LEON and is recommended for all line managers who wish to refresh their existing knowledge or gain a deeper understanding of the revised Supporting Attendance Procedures which came into effect in October 2021. The course should take a maximum of 1 hour to complete.  Please click on the link below which will take you straight to the course. Supporting Attendance (argyll-bute.gov.uk
  • Online Physio Pilot. We will be introducing up our new online physio pilot during December which will enable those currently absent due to a musculoskeletal issue or related condition, to have the option to be referred to a physiotherapist online via our Occupational Health provider. The physio can advise on appropriate interventions and/or provide advice or a rehabilitation plan, or signpost you to other services where required.  We will be contacting people direct but if this is something you would like more information on please contact wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Well as this is the last WBW before Christmas, we thought we would leave you with a tasty

recipe and some Christmas inspired books.  We hope you enjoy them !

Mince Pie Brownies

Use up your left-over mince pies and cranberry sauce in this delicious chocolate brownie recipe!  (Source: Recipes from Good Housekeeping)


MAKES: 16 servings

PREP TIME: 15 mins

COOK TIME: 45 mins


175 g unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra to grease

175 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped

250 g caster sugar

3 medium eggs, lightly beaten

50 g cocoa powder

75 g plain flour

4 mince pies, about 225g, roughly chopped

4 tbsp. cranberry sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4 and grease and line a 20.5cm (8in) square tin with baking parchment. In a large pan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate until combined. Set aside to cool for 10min.
  2. Stir in sugar, followed by the eggs. Sift in cocoa powder and flour and mix to combine. Mix through most of the chopped mince pies. Scrape into prepared tin, smooth then scatter over remaining mince pies. Using a teaspoon, dollop around the cranberry sauce.
  3. Bake for 35-40min until firm to the touch. Cool completely in tin. To serve, transfer to a board and slice into 16 squares.

Books for Christmas!

For me, Christmas is not complete without a new book to read on Christmas Day!  Here are some suggestions for great books with a Christmas theme which would be a wonderful gift for book-loving friends and family, or why not treat yourself or check out a copy in your local library?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a coming-of-age classic that takes place around Christmas, making it a perfect tale to read each year. Follow along as sisters Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy try to carve their own paths in life while keeping their familial bonds strong. 

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

That’s right, J.R.R. Tolkien, the famed English author who gave us brilliant fantasy books like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, also gave us one of the best Christmas books to get lost in. Tolkien fans will love Letters from Father Christmas, which features holiday letters the beloved author wrote for his children. Entrench yourself in Tolkien’s North Pole, where Father Christmas knows best and reindeer and polar bears cause merry mischief.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a classic for a reason! It’s spawned countless adaptations, but Dickens’ original 1843 book about Ebenezer Scrooge, his four ghostly encounters and his resulting new lease on life deserves a prominent place on any list of best Christmas books—and one of the best short books to read in general.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Here’s another Christmas book for historical fiction fans. Spanning the four Christmases of World War I and jumping forward to 1968 as well, Last Christmas in Paris tells the story of Evie and Thomas experiencing the tumult of the war—and their growing love for each other—against the backdrop of the holidays. It was released in 2017, making it a more recent addition to the Christmas book scene.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

In this 2012 Pulitzer Prize-nominated tale, a childless older couple in Alaska discovers a young girl emerging from the woods alone. They grow to love her as a daughter—but is she really what she seems? Grab The Snow Child, based on a Russian fairy tale, “Snegurochka” (“The Snow Maiden”), to find out. This Christmas book makes a great gift for book lovers too.


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