By Claire Henry MBE | August 20, 2019
We hear the term ‘wellbeing’ mentioned so often these days, but what does it mean? For me, and I cannot be alone in this, it means different things on different days.
There are many answers to ‘What is wellbeing?’. Some say that wellbeing.
Researchers tell us that there are 10 elements that are important for us to have a positive sense of wellbeing:
- An enjoyable and fulfilling career.
- Enough money.
- A network of friends.
- A balanced diet.
- Adequate sleep.
- A sense of belonging.
- Regular exercise.
- An intimate relationship with a loved one.
- The ability to adapt to change.
- A sense of purpose and meaning.
You may read this list and think, ‘Yes, some of these are important, whilst others may not matter so much to my wellbeing’.
Stop for a moment and think about the ones you have said ‘No’ to. You may wish to reflect on these, just to consider whether you could benefit from looking at those elements too.
Wellbeing at work
Wellbeing needs to be attended to in every aspect of our lives, as each element can influence and impact us in different ways and at different times.
Let’s think a little harder as to how these 10 elements relate to our work, lifestyle, how we fit within society and, more importantly, how we feel. We spend a lot of our time at work, on average 42 hours a week, with many of us doing more, and how we feel at work has a direct impact on our overall wellbeing.
Wellbeing as a manager
Thinking about the 10 elements above with regards to your role as a manager, there will no doubt be times when challenges present themselves and impact on your wellbeing.
Often, managers take work home – whether that’s in the form of paperwork or thinking about issues. This can affect your sleep and your motivation to make good choices in terms of what you eat and drink and how you relax.
Try to make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to relax and get rest in between shifts.
Wellbeing for care teams
Wellbeing in the workplace is about supporting each other to be content, healthy and happy – in short, to feel fulfilled. A business with healthy and happy staff will enjoy higher levels of staff morale, productivity and, ultimately, will enjoy healthy, ongoing business results. Where possible, you should encourage your staff to be open about the factors that are important to them for their wellbeing at work, but apply this to yourself as well.
When a resident dies for example, you may be thinking about the wellbeing of the family and staff and what they need from you. It will often fall to you to have the difficult conversations with the family and to be mindful of the impact that death may have on the team, who might have cared for that person for months or years.
Such a role can be very rewarding but also demanding, as the day-to-day operational needs of the business will still require your time and energy. Make sure you are looking after your wellbeing at these times too, so that you can still focus on supporting other areas of the business.
What can you do?
There are lots of ideas to support wellbeing at work. Think for a moment about how some could apply to you.
- Think about flexible working. When do you need to be physically in your organisation or with the team? When you can take time away to do your paperwork? Think about whether you need to be in early in the morning, at certain parts of the day, or in the evenings.
- Work smarter, not harder. I know that is easier said than done but as we know people are more productive when they do not work several long days together on a regular basis. Take regular breaks when on duty – it will make a difference.
- Take control of your emails. Most of us, if we are honest, let them rule us. Set specific times in your day to read and respond to them, letting people know so you can avoid constant disruptions.
- Where possible, take some time out during the day, if only a walk around the gardens or to go outside, allowing yourself to have a brief interlude. I find even with the British weather it helps – 10 minutes can make all the difference.
I want to leave you with 3 questions to ask yourself
- What’s important for my wellbeing?
- Do I make time for myself? if I don’t make time How can I make time for myself in the future?
- What do I need from other people around me?
Remember, the only person that can look after your wellbeing is yourself. Do not be afraid to take time out and ask for help. Your mental health is important in ensuring your residents, their families and staff are supported in their wellbeing.
Claire Henry MBE, Independent Consultant