Surviving the long pandemic
We hosted an online event on 5th March 2021 that looked at coping strategies for surviving the long pandemic with the Bank Workers Charity.
We asked Paul Barrett, Head of Wellbeing at the Bank Workers Charity, to come and talk to our members about our wellbeing during the pandemic.
Paul began the session by referencing this quote from Dr Carl Fleisher:
"People have been saying the Coronavirus crisis is a marathon, not a sprint. But it's a marathon we didn't sign up to run. A marathon we're stuck in. The long term endurance that we're having to experience is hurting the mental health of a lot of people."
Mind conducted some research early in the pandemic which suggested that 68% of people that had a previous mental health condition had seen it worsen. And 1 in 5 that have had no previous history of poor ill mental health have described their mental health as being poor or very poor.
Following the latest government announcement, we may have reached a point where we're finally able to see an end to the worst of the pandemic.
The success of the vaccine rollout and the declining infection rates represent the most positive news we've had over the last 12 months. But the Covid pandemic remains one of the worst experiences most of us will have lived through. And with this virus, we've learnt not to count our chickens. There have been so many twists and turns in the course of this pandemic that we need to remain cautious.
That's why we teamed up with the Bank Workers Charity for a wellbeing webinar that focussed on the uncertainties and stresses that still surround us. Paul identified a range of strategies we can employ to get us safely through the remaining period of lockdown, minimising as we do, the risks to our mental health and wellbeing.
You can access the recording below, along with links to download the slides and a link to our feedback survey.
During the event, we asked participants what topics they'd like us to cover in future. Members told us they'd like to hear about tackling loneliness and isolation and take a look at how we can improve our sleep. We'll begin working with the BWC on delivering these sessions in the near future, so keep an eye out for our event invites!Download the recording Download the slides Tell us how we did
The importance of taking breaks
In September 2020 as part of our series of events for Suicide Prevention Day we hosted an event with Paul Barrett, Head of Wellbeing at the Bank Workers Charity, to guide us through the importance of taking breaks during our working days. He discussed the science behind what drives our understanding of the importance of breaks and the consequences that arise when we don’t have regular breaks.
One of the key messages from the session: there’s only so long that we can undertake demanding physical activity before our performance begins to falter. Recent studies of employees in the workplace have found that a substantial proportion took no breaks at all during the day — some didn’t even take a lunch break. This isn’t sustainable and doesn’t fit with our body's natural rhythms.
Breaks don’t need to be extended periods of time; micro breaks work too. It helps us change our focus and it helps memory retention — we know through research that good sleep is needed for the consolidation of memory but breaks also have this benefit too. We move from alertness to fatigue every 90 minutes — this is called the Ultradian rhythm.
What kind of breaks should we take then? This depends on your job and the task at hand. But it can be simple things like changing task, to more intensive activities like going for a walk or talking to someone.
“If you can’t take a break, try changing the nature of the task you’re working on. It’s about refreshing and using different parts of the brain that makes the difference. Find what works best for you.” - Paul Barrett, Bank Workers Charity
- LBG’s Employee Assistance Programme (Validium): 0800 9700 100
- TSB's Employee Assistance Programme: 0800 0856 348
- Bank Workers Charity: 0800 0234 834 — https://www.bwcharity.org.uk/
- Samaritans: 116 123 — https://www.samaritans.org/
- Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/