LES Staff Wellbeing

The College of LES is dedicated to sustaining and improving the wellbeing of its staff. We are committed to creating positive working environments that help you flourish and reach your full potential.

We are actively taking positive actions to build an inclusive culture that embeds equality and diversity into everything we do.  We are strengthening PDR processes to ensure staff are clear in what is expected of them and are supported to deliver their objectives and development.

Working together we aim to build a community which is supportive of all our staff and students.

We encourage all staff to look after both your mental and physical health.

The information below provides some advice and reference documents that can assist you in looking after yourself.

We recognise we have a wealth of experience within our college which focuses on physical and mental wellbeing and will be sharing the research findings and activities we can all participate in.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

There will be times throughout our life that we will experience anxiety, depression, stress, panic attacks, feel overwhelmed, fatigue, or may have suicidal thoughts. This may be related to the current situation with COVID or issues in our personal life or work.

More than 1 in 10 people are likely to have a “disabling anxiety disorder” at some point in their life.  Anxiety can make you sweat, you may find it difficult to breath or your breathing may become irregular, it can cause heart palpitations and trembling.  This is your body reacting to the flight or fight response.  You may feel that it is difficult to make decisions, think clearly or struggle with daily tasks. You may feel restless, constantly on edge or irritable.  Remember you are not alone.  There are lots of places you can seek support from including family, friends, colleagues, Student Services, Wellbeing Officer, your GP or Occupational Health.

We all need support from time to time.

If you feel anxious please talk to your line manager/tutor/Wellbeing officer.  They will be able to look at ways in which we could support you.  This may include moving deadlines, reducing workload.  A referral to Occupational Health/Student services may also be considered. Further support can be found on the NHS website.

The University of Birmingham is committed to supporting the welfare of our staff and Students. Mental wellbeing is an integral part of our health.

Each individual has their own level of mental health that is unique to them, sometimes this involves a diagnosis, and sometimes it doesn’t. This can sometimes be called our ‘window of tolerance’, this assists with helping us understand how we free and how we can manage our emotions. 

Our mental health and wellbeing co-exists with our physical health, so if you are feeling unwell or are engaging in activities that could harm you (like smoking) this can negatively affect your wellbeing.

Take a look at NHS Choices for help and information about your physical health, or support for quitting smoking.

In being aware of our mental health, it makes it easier for us to recognise what we need and all the different ways we can look after ourselves. This is often referred to as our wellbeing.

Communication

Connecting with others, this is not a popularity contest, it is not about having the most friends. It is about taking that initial first step to feel more closely connected and valued by others which can help combat isolation. There are a few little steps that that can make a huge difference if you are struggling.

  • Say hello as a neighbour passes by, see if they require anything. 
  • Be brave and talk to someone new
  • Talk to a friend or family member, 
  • Join a group or activity class, the University has plenty to offer. 
  • Volunteer with BirminghamInAction  or Do-IT, it is a great opportunity to meet new people and make connections while having fun.

Get Active

Physical and mental health are as important as each other, so improving physical health can positively affect people’s mental health and result in an improved feeling of wellbeing. Similarly, better mental health can help maintain good physical health and have benefits for individuals with physical health conditions. Be aware of your abilities and tailor your activities to your circumstances. Make a small positive change that can develop. Physical activity helps lower rates of anxiety and depression as well as boosting you mood and wellbeing

  •  Take up gardening
  • Walk up the stairs, instead of taking the lift
  • Step outside on your lunch break 
  • Move more at work, instead of emailing a colleague go and visit them.
  • Take up exercises from your office chair
  • Walk to the train/bus station or get off one stop earlier. 
  • Do a you-tube work out, start a new hobby - Yoga, tai-chi, Pilates 
  • Check out Change4Life for great hints and tips.

Take Notice

Mindfulness - Breath and take notice - enjoy the simple things, often easier said than done. Try not to pass comment on everything you do, say or see! Be more aware of what is going on in the present, by focusing your mind on being in the present. Mindfulness can improve your focus, awareness and wellbeing at work. Think on ways of integrating the “7 attitudes of mindfulness” into your daily routine and look out for a POD course or check out the NHS advice. 

  • Get out and about and appreciate nature, visits Winterbourne or venture further afield. 
  • Get a plant for the office - Numerous scientific studies have proven the positives of having more greenery in your workspace. 
  • Ask yourself how you are feeling throughout the day, and at night write down three things you are thankful for. 

Give

This does not have to be money, it can be as simple as kindness, saying 'thank you' to a colleague, smiling at a stranger as you pass in the corridor. Simple things can lift people's moods and improves the UoB Community. Research has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week, over a period of six weeks, is associated with an increase in feelings of positive wellbeing. 

  • Volunteer
  • Smile at those around you
  • If you can, donate blood
  • Raise money for a good cause
  • If you are worried about someone send them a quick message. 
  • Give time to friends and family. 

Keep Learning

Pursing boundaries can really increase our confidence and self-esteem particularly if it results in learning a new skill. Keep learning is about continued curiosity, development and education. ‘Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

  • Take up a new hobby or more regularly take time out for a current one
  • Read a book or listen to a podcast

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions introduced by the New Economics Foundation and the principles and advice can be adopted to help you to improve both your physical and mental health. The concepts aim to promote your wellbeing by suggesting simple activities that can be carried out in your everyday life.