Wellbeing Wednesday Monthly Edition

Work Life Balance venn diagram

Wednesday 9th August 2023

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and welcome to this month’s Wellbeing update. I hope everyone who has had a break enjoyed it as much as I did during this year’s Argyll Staycation!

This month we have lots of goodies for you as usual starting with cycling – who has been following the Tour de France or UCI Championships in and around Glasgow? As a previously reluctant cyclist (as you already know) I can’t emphasise enough how great it is to get a bike that fits you, get out and about and feel so much closer to nature and the outdoors and for those of you with more of a competitive drive, challenge yourself or others to meet and beat targets as well as each other!

We also have information about dealing with grief – something that sadly affects all of us at one time or another – please have a look. And finally we have information about the importance of work life balance when working from home from our wellbeing partners Health Assured.

Don’t forget our wellbeing webinars – there is plenty helpful information for you in these, so have a watch.

Thanks to the team for all their hard work on wellbeing – as ever, you can contact them on wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Cycle to work Day 15th August

The Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is a great form of exercise that provides physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. It’s also fun, inexpensive and good for the environment. Riding a bike regularly is a convenient and also fun way to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine and one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Just 30 minutes a day of steady cycling on the road, a trail, or even a stationary bike is enough to yield benefits for mood, cognition and productivity. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, scientists found that cycling on a stationary bike for just over 30 minutes improved aspects of cognition, such as memory, reasoning and planning.

Here are some other great benefits of cycling:

Low impact: Cycling is a low impact exercise that can improve joint mobility and flexibility, particularly in the knees, hips, and ankles. It causes less strain and injuries than some other forms of exercise such as running.

Improves cardiovascular health: Cycling is a great way to improve your heart health and aerobic fitness by increasing your heart rate and strengthening heart muscles. It’s also great for your lungs and circulation, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

Increases strength and endurance: Cycling is a great workout for all of the major muscle groups, helping you build strength and endurance in your legs, core, and upper body. Promotes happiness and reduces stress and anxiety Science shows that the ‘cycling high’ is a genuine thing as cycling has been shown to increase brain chemicals that promote wellbeing, happiness and pleasure such as serotonin and dopamine.

It’s fun! Cycling outdoors doesn’t only have to be for commuting on busy roads during rush hours, it can be done purely for fun or as a fun way to get and stay fit! The buzz and sense of adventure you get from cycling outdoors makes it an enjoyable activity to consider on those days when you fancy exploring the great outdoors with family or friends.

Explore new areas: Cycling allows you to explore new places, such as scenic routes or local beauty spots you wouldn’t have otherwise known existed.

More access to nature:  Cycling is a great way to get yourself outdoors and into nature, whether regularly cycling around the local countryside or venturing out to a nature trail or reserve.

Benefits the environment: Cycling is an eco-friendly mode of transport that produces zero emissions, helping you to do your bit to reduce air pollution.

Overall, cycling offers a range of physical, mental, and social benefits and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. In order to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of cycling and not allow it to have any detrimental effects physically, scientists suggest sticking to 30-60 minutes of cycling at a steady pace. This could be thought of as a 6 or 7 out of 10 on a scale where 10 is your hardest effort. However, as we are all different, some people may need to cycle at an effort lower than a 6 or 7 and that’s absolutely fine, it’s important for it to fit into your current fitness level and physical ability. However you do it, make sure you enjoy it!

References: Workplace Wellness: Corporate Wellbeing UK | SuperWellness

Cycle to Work Day is August 3rd – Cyclescheme

National Grief Awareness Day - August 30th

Grief is something that everyone experiences at some point in their life, most commonly due to the loss of a loved one or friend but grief can also occur due to the loss of something else significant in our lives, such as our health.   Grief is a natural part of life and something that we all have to try and work through at some point.  The journey through grief will be different for everyone and some will be able to work through it quickly and others may take much longer and may even continue to be affected by grief throughout their lives.

August 30, is National Grief Awareness Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about how we cope with grief, how we can help others cope, and how to raise awareness to help end the stigmas many people have about those that are grieving.

The Five Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief were first proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book Death and DyingThey can be applied to a variety of circumstances including the loss of a close relationship, the death of a valued being (person or animal), or in response to a terminal illness diagnosis.

1.) Denial and Isolation

The first stage of grief is denial and isolation. Typically, when we first receive unexpected or unpleasant news, our initial response is to become overwhelmed with emotions and deny the situation.

2.) Anger

After initially denying the situation, people often begin to experience anger. This is a result of the pain and vulnerable feelings that come from receiving unpleasant news. To cope with this we direct these feelings outward as anger.

3.) Bargaining

This is when we try to bargain and figure out a way for people to improve the situation. It is not uncommon for people to try to talk to God or a higher power as a way to postpone or change the situation. 

4.) Depression

Depression usually occurs for two different reasons. The first is when we are considering the practical implications of the loss. This includes worrying about finances and other matters. The second reason is more personal and when we are preparing to say goodbye to our loved one and adjust to life without them.

5.) Acceptance

The final stage is acceptance. This is when we begin to calm and move past the depression stage. It does not mean a period of happiness but rather making peace with the situation.

Further information and support with grief:

Get help with grief after bereavement or loss – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Support and self-care for grief – Mind

Get support – Cruse Bereavement Support

Work Life Balance for Remote Workers – A guide from Health Assured

The number of people working from home, either fully remote or hybrid, has risen significantly over the last few years. In fact, last year, a study reported that just under one quarter of UK workers now use some form of hybrid working within their week.

But with these changes comes the potential for your work and home life to become one and the same. Without a clear separation between the two, you run the risk of experiencing more stress and anxiety, which can quickly escalate into burnout.

It’s not always easy to step away from your home working space and switch off after a long week, but it’s a vital part of creating boundaries while remaining productive.

Here’s a guide to making sure there’s a healthy balance to keep you feeling positive and ready to return to your desk after recharging your batteries.

Set a Clear Schedule

Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean that you have to be accessible outside of your core working hours. Flexibility is key to any productive working environment, but don’t be afraid to set clear working hours and make others aware of them. In time, others will be aware of when you’re available, and more importantly, when you aren’t.

Make Good use of Breaks

There’s a temptation to sometimes just sit at your working space eating your lunch or taking your comfort breaks. However, planning something away from your workspace, even if it’s just a walk around the block or doing the dishes, can help to keep that separation between work and home life in place.

Be sure to update your status when taking breaks, and openly talk about upcoming plans you have for time off. While it sounds small, these can have a big impact on your perceptions of work/life balance.

Consider your Working Space

Ideally, your workspace will be somewhere that you can focus, be productive, and then log off without any distractions interfering with your day. Sometimes, this can be as simple as having a clean and tidy desk that’s free of things like piles of clothing or home-based chores/tasks in need of completing.

Stick to a Routine

Mental preparation for a day of work is just as important as physical prep. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to wake up 5 minutes before you start and log in. Try to have a set routine, like waking up and taking a shower, eating, and getting dressed for work.

Sure, there’s no commute on a work from home day, but that combination of mental and physical preparation puts your mind-set into a workplace one, which you can then shift back from when you log off again.

Work and Life Balance for Wellbeing

Good wellbeing means finding a healthy balance between your home and work life, helping to eliminate stress and burnout from developing. In time, you’ll be able to enjoy both aspects of your life without worrying over workloads and having it affect your free time.

Work-Life Balance for Remote Workers: A Guide | Health Assured

Wellbeing Webinars

If you missed our webinar by Superwellness on Building Resilience you can view a recording of it here: Wellbeing Webinars

You can also view the resources which link good nutrition to a healthy brain and ways to help build resilience and combat stress and burn out.

Heath Assured, our Employee Assistance Programme also have a series of short webinars available on their website. 


August’s Webinar

Tackling Phobias

In this month’s webinar, we’ll be exploring the subject tackling phobias.


For viewers who require subtitles, please click the settings icon.

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Health Assured also provide a free and confidential helpline which is available 24/7 – Tel: 0800 028 0199 or you can download the Health Assured App via Apple Store or Play Store for Android devices.

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