Blog: Looking after ourselves and each other; back to basics

Amidst the huge challenges that COVID-19 has brought about, the situation has given rise to many opportunities to consider how we connect and undertake our work together differently.  As individuals, we have had to adapt to connecting more readily in virtual spaces in all aspects of our lives; with colleagues, friends, family and our wider communities alike. 

It has been heartening to see the innovative ways in which people are connecting during this crisis from #clapforcarers and #clapforourNHS to colourful rainbows appearing in windows to celebrate kindness, and the huge variety of community groups reaching out to support those in need.  So how can we harness these small moments of joy to stay resilient and well during such unprecedented times? 

A simple model developed by The New Economic Foundation describes the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, a set of simple actions we can take to increase our overall wellbeing. In such busy times new things can feel overwhelming, so we have selected some simple areas which could be helpful in the coming days and weeks;

  • Give; your times, your words, your presence:
    • Random Acts of Kindness make us feel happy. Doing something for someone else, however small, generates feelings of positivity and enables connection to others.  What one small thing can you do for someone else today?  Send that text, make that cuppa for someone in your household or send a card to a friend. Also remember what you can ‘give’ to yourself to top up your resilience. Demonstrating self-compassion at the moment is an important aspect in our overall resilience, and also enables us to be more compassionate to others.  Ask yourself ‘am I treating myself as I would a close friend?’
  • Keep Learning; embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself by adapting:
    • Being challenged to adapt to new things is something many of us will be experiencing at the moment. Whilst these things can create unsettling feelings, trying to reframe these new experiences as learning opportunities helps us to develop our skills and our mindset to better support our resilience. Asking ourselves some simple questions such as “what happened? How did I feel? What went well? What next?” can encourage us to learn from our challenges.
  • Take notice; Remember the simple things that give you joy:
    • Being on lockdown is forcing many opportunities to go back to basics. For example, you may have baked a cake, completed a jigsaw or played a board game. It can help to acknowledge and be mindful of the small things that have given us positive feelings each day. Practice acknowledging three good things each day. When did you feel you had a small victory or win? What made you smile or laugh today?  Generating these positive feelings also enable us to be more open to challenges and learning.
  • Be active; Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood:
    • Being active doesn’t always mean going for a run or bike ride, it can mean more simple actions such as walking during the allowed exercise time, or undertaking some simple stretching. Or, like residents in a Cheshire street, you can dance a little each day to boost your energy, and your mood.   Whatever it is, try and do something you enjoy. 
  • Connect; talk and listen, be there, feel connected. 
    • Maintaining connections is increasingly important as we undertake social distancing measures.  There are many ways we can connect to others through technology and whether we are working virtually or on the frontline, we are hyper-connected to people and information on a range of platforms from WhatsApp to Microsoft Teams, to Zoom and Skype. Although this can be a crucial way of keeping in touch, it is also easy to feel overwhelmed.  Knowing when it is time to disconnect and take a ‘detox’ from time to time is equally as important.
    • Resilience resides in teams so connecting to our teams right now can be a huge support.  Renowned for her work on effective teaming, Professor Amy Edmondson explains how we can effectively ‘teamwork on the fly’ when the pressure is on, or new teams are forming;  Top tips include; 
      • Creating space for connection; whether this is in a virtual or frontline space, even brief moments of time to connect and feel close to team members can enhance team cohesion and support. If you lead a team consider the positive impact you can have on enabling this through clear communication to staff, enabling spaces for peer connections or encouraging buddying systems across your team. 
      • Accept that you won’t have all of the answers all of the time.  A crisis is a time for collective problem solving, it is impossible for all of the answers to reside in one person. 
      • Be open and curious; this will enable people to contribute and voice their concerns and anxieties, creating an inclusive environment where people feel safe together.

This article has been developed in collaboration with the Partnership’s Talent, Leadership and Organisational Development team. The team’s focus is to enable and support workforce and organisational health and resilience across the Partnership. If you would like to connect to the team, please contact;

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Strategic Workforce Lead 
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; OD, Leadership and Talent Lead 
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; OD and Leadership Development Associate 

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