We had a fantastic Spring Gathering event as part of our Week of Prayer and Giving (22nd – 27th March). Our theme for the week was ‘shalom’ a Hebrew word meaning wholeness, peace, completion.
After hearing from Sarah and Steve about our exciting City Wellbeing Initiative which forms part of our new strategy, we went into smaller breakout room discussions. This was a great opportunity to rest and ‘be’ with each other before hearing Ben speak. It also enabled us to share the current issues that we face in our various workplaces.
Many of us spoke of ‘Zoom fatigue’ for ourselves and our colleagues, the lack of emotional connection through digital communications and sometimes the absence of non-work conversations altogether, the stress of covering absence of colleagues on sick leave, and the pressure that comes from blurred boundaries between our work and home lives perhaps because of a lack of office space at home and work is left out where we can see it or higher expectations from management where our workloads have increased.
How we feel about work can impact our overall wellbeing. Dr Ben Sinclair talked about just how integrated our health is. There are 4 elements – the physical, the mind, the spiritual and the social. We need strength in each of these areas for our wellbeing to be strong.
So what do we do if our wellbeing is suffering? Dr Ben emphasised that “small incremental changes optimise”. Rather than changing your whole lifestyle there is great power in making one small change. Ben suggested different things that can help boost productivity and wellbeing in the workplace.
Something simple such as taking vitamin D tablets can give your body the nutrients it needs that then increases your productivity and overall mental wellbeing. In your office space could you ask for a water cooler to be put in place? This will give people a visual reminder to stay hydrated while giving them the opportunity to take a short break to fill up their water bottle or glass.
Could you adopt an email policy that means that you do not send an email after a certain time to respect both your time and that of your colleagues? One of Ben’s more radical suggestions was to have a day of rest! Not a day of service that many of us do as part of our church activities but a day of actual rest.
Get out in nature. Exercise. Have some screen-free time. Be present with those around you.
So how do we improve our wellbeing and that of others? Making changes can seem daunting but if we put the ‘being’ back into wellbeing we will get there. Instead of saying ‘I won’t eat chocolate’ or ‘I will not check my phone after 10pm’ which can be useful but not overly motivating adopt a statement. This could be ‘I am present’ or ‘I am healthy’ which helps you see the thing you are trying to do as a behaviour and can be something that you work towards becoming.