Protecting and prioritising your health and wellbeing is vitally important during these unprecedented times. Over the coming weeks and months we will be keeping staff up to date with helpful ways they can remain active, protect their emotional and mental wellbeing and relax while adapting to a new way of life.
Staff Health & Wellbeing
If you need to talk to someone, there’s a wide range of charities and organisations offering vital support for a host of issues including addiction, debt, suicide and self-harm, depression, family relationships and much more. Click here for further info
The ‘Inspire’ wellbeing service is a valuable free resource for staff to use to help protect their mental health and support their general wellbeing, which is very important for us all right now. There are two main aspects to the Inspire service: the online dashboard, and counselling sessions.
To access the dashboard visit www.inspiresupporthub.org/sign-up, enter the PIN: ABCD2019 and you’ll receive a randomly generated unique username (which you’ll need to keep for future logins).
One logged in you’ll find a wealth of expert information and advice in areas such as mental health, lifestyle, wellbeing, stress, health, alcohol, family and much more. You’ll also be able to access your personal mood tracker and watch a selection of videos on topics such as Mindfulness, Stigma, the Five Ways to Wellbeing and many more. We’d encourage you to access your personal dashboard daily and use it as a tool to support you during this difficult time.
If you feel you need more support such telephone/web-based counselling sessions, you can phone the 24-hour confidential helpline on: 0800 389 5362.
Finances and support
Many staff members may have partners or family members who access benefits, are self-employed or who may show symptoms during this time. You can find further information, guidance and support on these issues below:
Coronavirus and loneliness
With the majority of staff working remotely, and everyone practising social distancing and following the government guidelines, it is more difficult than ever to maintain social connections.
As the weeks are rolling on, many of us will be starting to feel bouts of loneliness and isolation. We will miss seeing family and friends and taking part in our usual hobbies, interests, routines and activities.
It is vital that we stay in touch with colleagues, friends and/or family to help us through. Check in online or over the phone each day as this will help you feel connected and more positive.
If you feel like you’re struggling, please avail if the Council’s ‘Inspire Workplaces’ service. It is a valuable free resource for staff to use to help protect their mental health and support their general wellbeing, which is vitally important for us all right now. You can find out how to use their services and how to contact them (online or over the phone) in the Inspire Workplaces post above.
The Consumer Council
The Consumer Council has a dedicated webpage full of regularly-updated advice for NI consumers who may be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Topics include cancelled flights, home energy, personal finances, as well as downloadable family activities and links to other government resources. https://bit.ly/3bq8JoT
Every Mind Matters
Worried or anxious about Covid-19?
Here are 10 ways to help improve your mental health and wellbeing while staying at home.
Safest and best apps to improve your health and wellbeing during lockdown
With social distancing an ongoing requirement to protect the most vulnerable groups in society, digital health – using technology to help improve individuals’ health and wellness – is becoming increasingly popular.
Health and Social Care organisations in NI have teamed up with ORCHA (Organisation for Review of Care and Health Apps) to create a central library of the best tested and safest apps, which have been designed to support your health and wellbeing during Covid-19.
You can choose from a selection of high quality apps that will help manage stress and improve wellbeing, staying fit, sleep management and nutrition.
Click here to link to the apps’ library at: http://www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/health-wellbeing/
Many of the apps are free while some may require initial payment and subscription to a service.
Working from home
We are all adapting to a ‘new normal’; more of us will be working from home, working remotely, changing our usual routines and adapting our working lives around recent advice to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Ideas for productive home working include:
Stick to a familiar routine but be flexible – Set your alarm to its usual time and get showered and dressed by the time you’d usually be leaving the house to commute to work. Choose a dedicated workspace – this can help you make a distinction between your work and home life.
Embrace flexibility in your working day – Many staff are trying to continue working while also looking after children and carrying out other caring responsibilities. Council appreciates everyone’s working day and times will be different in the current situation and would encourage staff to do what works for best flexibly for them.
Connect with your colleagues – over phone calls or Skype at the beginning of the day. It provides an opportunity to share concerns, workloads and identify how you may be able to help and support one another. Keep communication positive.
Take regular breaks – It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous. Don’t stay glued to your screen all day – it’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around – just as you would in the office.
Mark the end of the day – develop a ritual to end the working day. If you can, put your computer away, tidy your working area, go into the garden or try an indoor workout. Find a way to naturally signal the end of your workday and establish some boundaries.
Prioritise downtime – we all know that stress and uncertainty can be harmful to our well-being, ensure you take time out to recharge.
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Protecting and prioritising your mental health and well-being is vitally important during these uncertain times. In addition to fears and uncertainty over the spread of the virus, many of us will be adapting to a ‘new normal’.
Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months – but it’s essential to remember this will pass. You may be feeling stressed, become irritable more easily, feel insecure or unsettled, have trouble sleeping or feel helpless and feel a lack of control.
Ways you can support your mental health over the upcoming weeks include:
- Educate but don’t overwhelm yourself – Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control. Stay informed but set limits for news and social media. Try and only secure information from reputable sources such as the Public Health Agency.
- Implement or keep up a healthy routine – Try and ensure you eat a balanced diet, stick to a regular bedtime, try out some relaxation techniques, do something you enjoy everyday such as reading and try and factor in your one exercise each day.
- Stay in contact – We are very lucky we live in a time when excellent apps and technology are available to keep in contact with our colleagues and loved ones. Checking-in daily can help support you and them, and help you feel less isolated.
- Try and reduce your anxiety levels by focussing on things you can control, keeping the big picture in mind and not letting fear take over.
Keeping a positive mental attitude will make a world of difference to how you cope during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As you spend time at home, focus on activities that release happy hormones and boost your mood.
Get some exercise. Catch up on sleep. Practice mindfulness. Get lost in a good book. Try new things. Do a digital detox. Go out into the garden. Enjoy quality time with those in your household. Talk about your feelings. Share your concerns.
Try to keep negative thoughts at bay. And if you do feel anxious about Covid-19, the following advice will help promote positive feelings. Click here for more info
Breathing exercises to combat stress and anxiety
Check out this video from our Investing For Health Officer, Cathy Devlin, with relaxing breathing exercises and techniques to help alleviate moments of stress and anxiety. These exercises take just a few minutes and can be done anywhere and as part of your daily routine.
The Local Government Staff Commission (LGSC) has sourced a number of excellent webinars to help local government staff deal with the rapid work and life changes we are all currently experiencing. Check out the webinars below and keep an eye out on their website for further updates over the next few weeks https://bit.ly/2JOSuFB
For guidance on thriving through fear, worry and doubt and adjusting to sudden changes in work and life log onto Zest Coaching https://bit.ly/2JSNVda
For key information on immune support with vital nutrition, check out Vital Nutrition https://bit.ly/2y30mQY
It is natural for each of us to feel stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness during this time. Incorporating different ways to relax during your day can help improve your mood, leave you feeling less stressed and help you through.
Three a day!
Try to complete three positive actions in a day while social distancing to help keep your mind active and your spirits up. Activities could include:
- Reading, puzzles, painting
- Cooking and baking
- Spring cleaning
- Online exercise classes
- Play music, catch up on a boxset or play a podcast
This is the perfect time to catch up on activities you haven’t had time to enjoy in a while. Embrace them while you have the chance!
With more time to spend at home, why not check out this video from our colleague Diane Stinson and try out her delicious recipe for tasty soda bread!
Sports Development & Indoor Leisure teams helping us all to get moving!
Our Sports Development & Indoor Leisure teams are working hard to keep the borough moving while staying at home! If you want to fit some fitness into your routine, grab your trainers and check out their fantastic videos below:
Mum & Me home workout
Dance workout for adults
No equipment home workout
Over 60’s home workout
Bodyweight workout blast
Low intensity workout
Free access to eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines with Libraries NI
As we spend more time at home, why not enjoy some reading with the help of Libraries NI. Anyone who works, lives or studies in Northern Ireland can borrow eBooks, audiobooks and download eMagazines FREE from Libraries NI.
- +17,000 books
- +160 magazines
- Join and read within minutes
Customers can borrow up to eighteen eBooks at a time for three weeks and can download and keep for free the latest editions of over 160 top magazine titles as soon as they are published.
Existing members who know their membership number can follow these step by step instructions – https://www.librariesni.org.uk/Documents/Get-Started-Guide-for-Libraries-NI-eBooks-Audiobooks-eMagazines.pdf
Don’t worry if you are not yet a member, join online and get a membership number almost instantly – https://bit.ly/lniregister
How to videos:
Becoming a member – https://youtu.be/rz-wTXiYE9o
How to download Libby – https://youtu.be/PzXBf6RyGVc
How to Download RB Digital – https://youtu.be/-Gjgr2EnyS0