As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, it feels more appropriate than ever given the current challenges we are all facing to ensure that we are doing as much as we can do help one another during this period of isolation and social distancing.
In the past few months we have all been faced with challenges that none of us have had to experience before. The country has been flooded with uncertainty since the government announced a nationwide lockdown on March 23rd, from concerns about health and loved ones to the impact it has had on many people’s career and livelihood. All of this has undoubtedly caused a strain on the mental health of many, and the restrictions that the government have put in place has seen lots of us distanced from friends and family members, which can make dealing with these issues even more difficult.
All staff at the EIC are currently working remotely, which presents challenges that so many have faced over the past couple of months. While we are fortunate enough to be in a position to carry out our daily tasks from home, this can leave colleagues feeling isolated having been away from the team for such an extended period of time. With this in mind, here are five actions that we have taken at the EIC to support colleagues with their wellbeing during these abnormal circumstances:
1) Virtual Brews
In order to check in on each other and maintain a sense of togetherness we are currently running a ‘Virtual Morning Brew’ on Starleaf video chat every Monday and Thursday at 9:30am, which has been a fantastic way to keep in contact and set everyone up for the working day.
2) EIC Marathon
Following the Run for Heroes trend in which participants run 5k, donate £5 to the NHS charities and nominate 5 more people, the EIC encouraged colleagues to take on the challenge in a bid to stay active as well as raise money for worthy causes. The team amassed an accumulative total which surpassed the distance of a marathon, a great effort by all who took part.
3) Mindfulness Sessions
We also now take part in a weekly ‘Mindfulness Session’, run by PR & Comms Assistant Laura Jenkinson, every Wednesday at 1:30pm. The session covers a range of mindfulness aspects, from breathing techniques and guided meditation to self-reflection and general wellbeing. This has been a great way to see how everyone is doing and to simply take a bit of time out during the working day to pause and practice relaxation, a priceless reward given the volatile times we are currently facing.
4) Weekly Quiz
Each Friday afternoon we take part in a weekly quiz, which has been a great way to end the week on a high note whilst keeping in contact with the rest of the team. The quiz master is rotated each week and the topics so far have ranged from music to DIY and gardening, which has been well received by all involved.
Finally, as a relatively small group the EIC are able to offer support and guidance to colleagues throughout this process, with all members of the team acknowledging that they are only a phone call/message away should anyone need a helping hand or simply someone to listen. Despite the government guidelines enforcing us to work remotely for the foreseeable future, the camaraderie within the group is as strong as ever thanks to technology and video conference systems, which can be extremely helpful to anyone feeling slightly secluded as a result of the restrictions.
All these steps are really simple but can go a long way in helping to manage emotions during the uncertainty of the pandemic and the isolation that comes with it. Be sure to take a moment each day to look after yourself and your loved ones as we all try to come to terms with the current situation in the best way we possibly can.