Jane Fowler - Head of Customer Support Services
So this week’s Wellbeing Wednesday is all about chocolate…. Just kidding – although scientific studies show that the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate do have health benefits! Following on from our theme last week about taking time to talk, this week we pick up on reaching out to special people on a special day - the 14th. I hope you find the LGBT+ month section interesting - I certainly enjoyed learning about some of the people who are LGBT+ ‘Faces’ of 2021 and the challenges they faced and changes they helped make to society. Our ‘action’ section this week is about taking care of your back – it holds you up, so look after it! With homeworking now so much a part of all our lives, it’s even more important to get your workstation right and keep your back safe. And our book of the week – I haven’t read it yet – but it’s definitely one for the list! And thanks to Helen Butler for her amazing artwork. It is great to hear from you, so please keep in touch.
Valentine’s DayValentine’s Day is just around the corner, for some that raises a smile of delight and for others a groan or eye roll! Personally, I never refuse a gift of chocolate…. It would be great to say that we should express gratitude to all the special people who enrich our lives on every day not just one day a year. But none of us are perfect and right now more than ever we all need every opportunity to give a little love and get some back, especially when our loved ones are often not in hugging distance.
We’ve had some lovely feedback following last week’s Time to Talk profile, so this year we can make Valentine’s Day another reason to reach out to all our favourite people and just let them know that they are important to us. Oh and send chocolate - who won’t love you for that?!
LGBT+ History Month
Letting people know they are important, whatever their sexual orientation is an important part of LGBT+ history month, which is held each year in February. It provides information, education and insight into the issues that the LGBT+ community faces.
LGBT+ History Month originated in the US in 1994 and then began in the UK 11 years later following on from an initiative that was created by a couple of teachers.
LGBT+ History Month teaches young people about the history of the gay rights movement and the importance of promoting an inclusive modern society. Although the event will be held online this year, there are lots of exciting things planned and this year’s theme will be Mind, Body and Spirit.
You can find further information on this event or download the action pack at the LGBT History Month websiteAnd not to forget the Councils EAP service Health Assured who also have an informative webinar available titled LGBT+ History Month/Coming Out.
Tips for a Healthy Back
Back pain is something we’re all likely to experience at some point in our lives, and when you do, you really know it! It’s the second biggest reason for absence in the country, and across the council, but there’s lots we can do to try to prevent back pain and minimise the impact it has on our personal and work lives.
If we think about our posture, we’d typically do so when sitting at a table or desk, but do we consider the same when standing, or even when relaxing at home? Many of us are prone to rounding our shoulders, but it can really help to straighten up regularly, stretch out our shoulder blades and lengthen the neck. Must remind myself – stretch more! (It would be great to hear tips on how you remind yourselves to get stretching and moving through the day.)
Moving more is something we all know is good for us, but on dark cold days it can be difficult to motivate ourselves. Good music or a podcast you like can help. In days gone by bed rest may have been recommended if you hurt your back, but generally these days it’s quite the reverse. Keeping moving is key to keeping your back, joints and muscles healthy. Choosing an activity you like is important, what’s yours?
Obviously we all spend a lot of time working and it’s therefore really important to think about your workstation, how you complete tasks and taking regular breaks. Varying your work position is great too, if that’s possible in your role. I’ve found that a standing desk makes a huge difference to my posture. If you’ve not completed a DSE assessment recently, you really should. For those of us working at home this is especially important as we might be working at the kitchen table, table top or with a laptop on your knee. Our H&S colleagues have lots of useful information on The Hub so please do check it out here.
There’s so much we can all do to prevent back pain and lots of advice, tips and information on websites such as those below. Small changes really can make such a difference.
- Backpain in the workplace - HSE,
- Back problems - Muscle, bone and joint injuries | NHS inform
- Musculoskeletal | Health Assured
Book Review by Julie Hallett
The Confession - Jessie Burton
When Elise Morceau meets the writer Constance Holden, she quickly falls under her spell. Connie is sophisticated, bold and alluring – everything Elise feels she is not. She follows Connie to LA, but in this city of strange dreams and razzle-dazzle, Elise feels even more out of her depth and makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.
Three decades later, Rose Simmons is trying to uncover the story of her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was a now reclusive novelist, Rose finds herself at the door of Constance Holden’s house in search of a confession . . .
The Confession is a dual narrative story about three women, Elise, Constance and Rose. Elise and Constance are lovers in the 1980s and in the present day, Rose seeks answers about her mother Elise, who left when she was a baby.
I think it is fair to say that the female characters dominate this book and the male characters are less well drawn, but the themes of motherhood, friendship and the impact of secrets within families are skilfully told and the development of Rose as she seeks to understand the apparent abandonment by her mother is particularly moving.
Jessie Burton’s books are always well written and deal with complex relationships, with particular focus on strong and enigmatic women. They also have beautiful covers – which I know is not always a true indication of a book’s contents – but they look particularly good on a bookshelf, which can become a bit of a talking point during Skype/Zoom meetings!
Over to You!
We are delighted with the amount of feedback we have received on the new-look Wellbeing Wednesdays and all the brilliant ideas for future features and activities to promote our wellbeing.
One of which has come from Helen Butler in the Web Team. Helen started painting during recovery from brain surgery and has set up a website selling her artwork to fundraise for the Neurosurgery Department of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. You can read more about Helen’s recovery and why seahorses were so important in this at her website.
We will be featuring as many of these as possible in the weeks ahead. Please keep them coming, and let us know if you would be happy to mention your name if we use your ideas!