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Winter Workplace Wellbeing – Finding Balance

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much."
Helen Keller, US Author

As the nights draw in and the weather starts to change, businesses of all sizes can often see a rise in absenteeism due to mental ill health. A report by the Mental Health Foundation found that working conditions and environment can have a huge impact on an individual’s wellbeing and significantly affect a team’s performance. With over 1 in 6 people experiencing mental ill health in the workplace and women in full-time employment being nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem, it is definitely worth ensuring that as an organisation, there is a provision to support to your team’s workplace wellbeing this winter.

In our blog this month we wanted to explore how finding some balance through self-care, between our work and home lives is important. By doing the things we enjoy and give us purpose it can help nourish us, making us more productive. Let me explain.

Self-care is essential to helping us achieve a positive workplace wellbeing. Rather than viewing self-care as self-indulgent, we could view it as self-maintenance. We wouldn’t expect our devices, cars, and other machines to keep running without ever stopping to refuel or for maintenance, because we know they would breakdown if we didn’t. Our bodies are the same, to sustain peak performance and be the best team member, leader, parent or friend possible, we need to invest time in maintaining ourselves, with kindness.

It is important we have at least one or two activities in our day that give us a sense of joy, achievement or accomplishment, to help balance against some of the more draining activities that most of us cannot avoid. Often, when we feel under pressure, we tend to drop the activities we perceive as being optional, such as exercise, reading a book, catching up with a friend or going to our night school class, these things tend to be the things that nourish us. When under pressure we need to be adding in more self-care, not less to help us sail through challenging times with more resilience and calm.

We first need to consider what our balance looks like now, what we want it to look like and what changes we might need to make. By switching out of autopilot and taking a closer look at our daily routine, it will help us to take back control and make any necessary changes.

When I am working with clients on this topic, I often I start with an exercise that helps them identify what the energising and draining activities are in their day. For example, they may find washing, cleaning, social media, managing diaries, admin or cooking draining. On the reverse, meeting with a friend for coffee, reading a book, walking the dog or taking a bath may help us feel nourished. Some of the key questions we might ask ourselves to identify where we are now and the problems we face are:

  1. Between 1-10, how in balance do I feel now? (With 10 being perfectly aligned).

  2. How is my current balance affecting my wellbeing?

  3. How might I fit more nourishing activities into my day/ week?

  4. How can I create more time for these nourishing activities? Can I ask for help?

  5. What is beyond my control that I need to let go of?

Once you have identified the balance in your day below are our tips for a self-care routine:

  • Avoid looking at news apps or checking emails as soon as you wake up in the morning.

  • Start your day with some mindful breathing or wrap up for a reinvigorating winter walk.

  • Schedule longer breaks in the day but also take a pause in between tasks to re-focus.

  • Allow yourself to dwell in natural moments of stillness without filling them with more doing.

  • Invest in a light box to combat the darker evenings.

  • Enjoy cooking up some new winter recipes.

  • Winter is the natural time for restoration. Embrace doing less in the evenings and choose rest instead.

  • Have good sleep hygiene in place, allow yourself time to unwind at the end of each day.

  • Give yourself permission not to be perfect.

Check out the 10 Keys to Happier Living from Action for Happiness for more inspiration on how to boost your wellbeing.

In Summary

Taking care of your teams workplace wellbeing at this time of year is particularly important, in one of our other articles “6 Tips to keep healthy this winter” we share some more thoughts on this. We have a number of different workshops than can support teams in the workplace, our “Finding Balance” workshop is particularly popular at this time of year.

To find out more on this and the other training we can offer to help your organisation support their teams, please get in touch.


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