ILPA Well-being newsletter, Winter edition, December 2020

ILPA documents | Well-being
Dear Member, 

We know that this winter brings us all some very unique challenges to overcome in addition to the fatigue that many of us are experiencing.  We wanted to remind you that it’s okay not to be okay and that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. We wanted to remind you about our well-being resources hub where you can find anything from podcasts, books and articles, apps, professional mental health services, yoga classes, guided meditation and recordings of our online well-being events

Our wonderful well-being working group have clubbed together to bring you some of their learnings and tips from the year thus far. We hope that their words bring you some comfort and know that they’re said in solidarity and with compassion.   

Always remember that your current situation doesn’t define you. Have hope that things will get better, your circumstances will change, the pandemic will be over, you will be able to see your loved ones, go out for that coffee or catch up with a friend and normality will resume one day. Sunnier times are coming. Aisha Choudhry, Co-convenor of the ILPA well-being working group

My tip would be: “to speed up, I must slow down” – this is about factoring in rest, because operating at 1000 miles an hour is not sustainable! Kat Hacker, Co-convenor of the ILPA well-being working group

As the days are getting shorter, and the hours of light are dwindling, I would recommend forcing yourself out for a 20 minute walk at lunchtime. I probably succeed in doing this two days out of five, but I always feel better for it, and come back with a clearer head. I also find the fresh air and time away from my desk help to put things into perspective. Mala Savjani, ILPA well-being ambassador

Control what you can control. Accept the limits of what you can do. Try to control your frustration. Reach out to friends, colleagues and family members. Keep in touch. Listen. Try and stay positive. If you need to, take time off to recharge.  You may not think it, but others are going through, or have been through what you are experiencing. Talk to people. It helps. Philip McNally, ILPA well-being ambassador

My wellbeing lesson of 2020 has been that yoga really is as amazing as everyone says! You can use it for exactly what you want – relaxation, cardio, core strength, a chance to practice mindfulness – but at the end of the day it is time spent that is a total gift to your busy self that leaves you feeling so much better, mentally and physically. I’ve used it for tension relief, sorting out my neck and shoulders after long days in front of the PC screen, to wake up and to wind down. Starting to practice yoga and finding ways to fit it into my day has been my silver lining of 2020; I owe Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene a lot! Emily Heinrich, Co-convenor of the ILPA well-being working group

Work-life balance is currently even more critical than before the Pandemic.  It is so easy when working from home to blur the line between work and rest or other non-work activity.  Set a discrete but audible alarm so that not only you but those around you or in a meeting with you hear it.  This will not only remind you that it is break time but more easily facilitate you breaking away from your work telling others that you need to move on. Be acutely aware that if you keep resisting and working through breaks your quality of work will suffer as you experience mental and physical exhaustion.  Taking frequent short breaks will reduce the chance of this happening and in fact increase your productivity! Brendan Beder, ILPA well-being ambassador

Plan and schedule your day to include at least one thing that you really enjoy doing whether it is exercising, reading, listening to music or watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday evening. I have found that finding time for the things that make you happy can make a real difference to overall wellbeing. Julianna Barker, ILPA well-being ambassador

There will always be times when the best thing to do is step away temporarily from whatever the issue is – work, home life, and of course world pandemics! Taking a few minutes, or longer if you can, to step away, breathe, relax your shoulders and connect with your core, can make a huge difference to how you feel. My other top tip is the line ‘every time I say yes to others, I am saying no to myself’ – we all want to be helpful to others and to do our best. That is a wonderful thing but it is also important that we put ourselves and our own wellbeing first when needed. Deirdre Sheahan, ILPA well-being ambassador

For me well-being is achieved through daily habits and much like any other long/lifetime goal we might have – it needs our time and attention. The daily habits that help each of us are different.  I have been trying a mix of meditation, mindfulness and walking (although, I will admit, I don’t manage long on a walk).  Neglecting to maintain daily practices can have an impact on us, which we don’t always notice straight away.  I’ve noticed that when I think ‘I have a busy day and don’t have time to meditate’, the only remedy that actually works is to meditate for a bit longer! Deepa Chadha, ILPA well-being ambassador

Like many, my anxiety manifests when it is least welcome – when I’m trying to sleep! Although I haven’t got my sleep down to a T, I know that a good sleep hygiene makes all the difference. There is no one size fits all but here are some of my suggestions: set a bed time, have a wind down routine, go screen free for at least an hour before bed, turn your phone on aeroplane mode, use essential oils, drink a herbal bedtime tea, do a bit of winddown yoga, listen to a guided meditation or just do some deep breathing. Sleep is so important but it is often the first thing to go out of the window when we’re feeling stressed and anxious. More on how to improve your sleep hereAmira Rady, Training Officer – ILPA  

The next ILPA Well-being working group meeting will be taking place on Tuesday 02 February 2021, 16:30 – 18:00. All ILPA members are welcome to join and you can register for your place here
Document Date
Wednesday December 16, 2020