Health advice for Council staff

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL ADVICE

We are all facing pressures due to the ever changing demands that are being placed upon us during the corona virus pandemic. 

Pressures can affect people’s health and wellbeing in many different ways and it is important to be able to access the resources available in order for you to be supported at this difficult time. 

Argyll and Bute Council has teamed up with Health Assured who are an independent, external organisation who provide the Employee Counselling Service. 

Health Assured can help you manage your emotional health providing support, guidance and information on dealing with anxiety, depression and stress.  Your physical health including any conditions relating to this and life support which provides guidance and help relating to any financial or legal worries you or your immediate family may have.

Health Assured have fully trained counsellors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If the service is accessed via the online link below, under the ‘contact us’ heading there is the option to use live chat where you can chat to the advisor without speaking in person.

This service is available to all employees, their spouses or partners and their dependents aged 16-24 if they are in full time education. You do not need to be at work to access this employee benefit.

You can access the service directly or by telephoning 0800 030 5182 or by downloading the app via Apple Store or Play Store for Android devices.  Speak to your line manger to get a username and password. 

It takes two minutes to download the app on to your smart device and it’s there for when you need it.

Structuring your work day, focus and attention can be a challenge for some if they are working at home. You need to find the right way for you to protect your time and focus on work. Equally, you need to protect your health and wellbeing.

WORKING FROM HOME

Many of us have now been working from home for a number of weeks. Some of us may have a dedicated work station, and some of us may be creating space on the kitchen counter.  Every job is different and the amount you’re able to achieve will vary between job types and home distractions, but there are some key strategies to working from home that may be useful:

Stick with your routine

Besides your commute, your morning routine should not look much different to your normal one. Wake up at your normal time, shower and get dressed. This will help you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the “I’m going to work” mindset. Try to keep a schedule and plan your day out. You could create a “to-do” list or an “achievements” list, it is helpful to plan for the next day or week and this will keep your mind set on a target.

Create a work space

It may be tempting to stay in bed or head to the sofa, but it is important for your body posture (and mind) to have a proper station, much like your own desk at the office. It will also help you avoid distractions and leave your work behind at the end of the day.

Don’t just sit there…

If you’ve gained an extra hour or two from not commuting, it’s a good opportunity to exercise, either by going for a walk outside or working out inside of your home. A lunchtime walk can also help make you feel like you’re not stuck inside all day.   If you are sitting down all day make sure to stand up regularly to stretch or move around. 

Get some fresh air

Open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible, take short walks if you live in an unpopulated area – be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.

Stay connected with your colleagues

It’s a good idea to set up regular check-ins via phone or Skype. Create Skype chat groups and send a message each day to your colleagues about a goal you’ve accomplished. This is a good incentive for others to pursue their goals and keeps you all focused and organised.
Talk to your colleagues about how you are feeling and coping with the current situation. This will create a feeling of vulnerability, but also bring you closer together as everyone is going through something similar.

Fight the urge to multitask

It can be overwhelming being in the house all day – the cleaning guilt could begin and you may feel pressure to catch up on chores. There is nothing wrong with taking a little break and putting on a load of washing, but don’t let the pressure of chores distract you from being productive – allocate some time to each.

If you have kids, prepare for disruptions

It’s difficult to get work done if you have children at home, but it is not impossible if you plan ahead and have some flexibility. Here are some top tips:

  • Explain the situation – if your children are old enough to understand the impact that coronavirus is having on your day-to-day life, explain it to them. You may find that they are more understanding towards your current working situation.
  • Mix up your hours – if your job allows for it, try to squeeze in work when your children are asleep or occupied, like early morning, nap time and at night. It is not ideal, but you’ll be more productive, are likely to achieve more (important for your own wellbeing) and feel less conflicted if you have quiet time to yourself.
  • Get help if you can – If you can co-parent, take turns between watching the kids and working and agree a plan.  It’s a new routine and will take some adjustment. When you are working, try to work in a separate room or area so your kids don’t know you’re there or know that you are working and are able to give you some space.
  • Try new activities – time consuming projects like crafts, stickers, puzzles and lego, are sure to buy you some time.
Take time for you

Be kind to yourself – don’t judge how you are coping compared to others. It is perfectly fine to have ‘off’ days. Switch off and try something else instead. Always remind yourself that this is a temporary set up and it will end eventually. Reward yourself for those tasks that you do manage to complete.

Helpful Resources

EXERCISE TIPS

As gyms and swimming pools around the country close during the Coronavirus Pandemic, this means for a lot of us our group classes and training sessions have also been cancelled.

But while finding the motivation to work out during these testing times is tough, exercising in the comfort of your own home can actually be of great benefit to your health and wellbeing.

There are lots of at home fitness tricks you can try in order to stay active during self-isolation or social distancing.

Please check out some of our tips below….

Who needs a gym when you have a tin of beans and a dining room table? Tinned foods can be used for resistance training including bicep curls and bent over rows, while the humble table is perfect for incline push-ups.

Simple Stretches - It’s far too easy to be stuck on the sofa all day when working from home but it’s important to keep moving as much as possible.  A few regular stretches will help stimulate the brain and get the blood flowing nicely.

Performing arm circles a few times a day can be a great way to help remind yourself to reset your posture, which can often suffer when sitting for extended periods of time.

If you are unable to get out for a walk on your lunchbreak then as an alternative you could be try walking on the spot to the beat of your favourite music or even incorporating your stairs.

Please don’t forget to check out the Health Assured Portal for even more fitness ideas and exercise programmes.