Wellbeing Wednesday Monthly Edition

11th January 2023

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and welcome to our first Wellbeing Wednesday of 2023! I hope that you have all managed to have some downtime over the festive period and are feeling the better of it.

I do find January a bit of a sleepy month – it is still dark outside and for me the hibernation instinct seems to be pretty strong, but hibernation is not really the answer, so get yourself into some positive sleeping habits and join the free sleep webinar that we have arranged for you today 11th January at 4pm!

Our other topics today cover our new, free referral online physio pilot for anyone who is off work because of musculoskeletal problems – contact our Wellbeing Team for more information.

We also have a food and drink focus this month with Veganuary and Dry January – let us know if you are taking part and share your own personal hints and tips – and any tasty vegan or mocktail recipes! We also have a reminder about the importance of health screening – cervical and bowel screening are simple and very effective methods of early detection – if you have missed your screening, don’t worry – there is information here to help you take action to keep yourself safe.

And finally, very close to my heart, is Time to Talk – giving people that safe, listening space to share their feelings can make all the difference in the world.

Right – I’m off for a nap (just kidding……) I’ve signed up to DoddieAid to get myself off the chair and out walking (yes – even in the rain). Happy January!!

Sleep Webinar - TODAY!


As we ease back into a work/life routine following the Christmas break, it is important that we ensure we are regularly getting good quality sleep.  For some excellent advice and information why not join us for a live webinar from superwellness.co.uk taking place this afternoon at 4.00 p.m. on “Eight Steps to Better Sleep”, we would love to see you there.  Click on the Teams link to join:

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


Online Physio Pilot – now available

Our new online physio pilot is now up and running and 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 to other services where required. 

If this would be of interest to you personally or if you are manager of someone affected by a musculoskeletal issue please get in touch to see if the service would of benefit.  Contact Julie Hallett, HR Adviser or email wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk


Veganuary is a campaign which focuses on encouraging people all over the world to switch to a plant-based diet during the month of January (and beyond!).

Since the campaign was launched in 2014 by Veganuary – which is also a charitable organisation as well as the name of the initiative, the number of people taking on the challenge has continued to rise every year.

At the last count, more than 400,000 people took part in Veganuary and many more are anticipated to follow in their footsteps in 2023.

Veganuary facts and figures

  • 1,000,000 participants have taken part since 2014
  • 192 countries around the world promoting Veganuary
  • 98% of people would recommend Veganuary to a friend
  • 600+ businesses took part in the campaign in 2020
  • Patrons include Joaquin Phoenix, Paul McCartney and Chris Packham

To find out more visit: Veganuary 2023 | Home | The Go Vegan 31 Day Challenge

For some super tasty Vegan recipes visit: 130 Vegan recipes | BBC Good Food

Love Your Liver Month - Dry January

Taking part in Dry January®! helps you to break old habits and be happier and healthier all year-round! Signing up for Dry January®! with Alcohol Change UK gives you access to a host of free tools including the Try Dry app, daily coaching emails, a private Facebook community, dedicated web content and inspirational social media throughout January and beyond. 

This year celebrates 10 years of Dry January® and over that time hundreds of thousands of people have taken a month off drinking in January with the support of Alcohol Change UK and raised thousands of pounds to help change lives. Why not join them and consider giving up alcohol for the month of January?  A month without alcohol gives amazing, obvious benefits like more energy, a chance to save some money, improved concentration, boosted mood and so much more. It also does you good physically too. In fact, research shows that a month off alcohol leads to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood.

Every day 20 people in the UK die as a result of their drinking, and the impact of alcohol doesn’t stop there – it affects families, communities, and in fact our whole society. So take the challenge and ditch the drink, ban the booze and give yourself the chance to refresh and reboot your system and show your liver the love it deserves!

Cancer Screening - Scotland

With Cervical Cancer Prevention Week from 23-29th this month, now is a good opportunity to focus on Cancer Screening.  NHS Screening is offered across Scotland to identify those who appear to be healthy but may have a higher chance of developing a disease or condition and is designed to detect early signs of disease and to provide referral and treatment where necessary.  If you are invited to be screened it really is in your best interests to attend the appointment.  If you have missed your last test or just want more information, please see below:

Bowel Screening Advice

Cervical screening advice

You can find more information about these and other screening programmes at: Screening | NHS inform

Time to Talk Day 2nd February 2023

Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Happening every year, it’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.  This year Time to Talk Day 2023 will take place 2 February run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in partnership with other mental health support organisations.

Being able to listen is a key skill we should all try to develop, as research shows that the average person listens at only about 25% efficiency. Yet, when we don’t actively listen, we miss out on all sorts of cues that help us understand, and trust one another on a deeper level. Listening goes well beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention. Part of being non-judgmental is listening to really understand what the other person is trying to communicate, rather than making quick assumptions or jumping to conclusions.

Effective listening is particularly important when colleagues are emotionally distressed or talking about their mental health. One effective tool to help develop listening skills is the Listening Wheel which was developed by the Samaritans and can help to structure your conversation.  

  • Open Questions: How? What? Where? Who? Why?
  • Summarising: A summary helps to show the individual that you have listened and understood their circumstances and their feelings.
  • Reflecting: Repeating back a word or phrase encourages the individual to carry on and expand.
  • Clarifying: Sometimes an individual may gloss over an important point. By exploring these areas further we can help them clarify these points for themselves.
  • Short Words of Encouragement: The person may need help to go on with their story – use words like ‘yes’ or ‘go on’.
  • Reacting: We need to show that we have understood the situation by reacting to it – “That sounds like it is very difficult”                                                                        

These techniques are so simple but studies show they are often underused. It’s actually not easy to listen effectively – we are distracted by so many things (not least what we are going to say next) so this is a skill we need to practice. We hope this Time to Talk Day you’ll feel inspired to put this wheel into practice, or have it up your sleeve for the next time a sensitive conversation arises. 

Time To Talk Day – Time To Talk Day

Time to Talk Day – Mind – Mind

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