Merry #Christmas And A Happier New Year

At the end of 2020 I got my wires crossed when answering a friend’s text. She had asked how I was feeling, and she felt my answer didn’t say enough (I wondered if, maybe she was going through something herself).

Anyway, I let her know I was doing okay and would catch up with her after Christmas. I reckoned there would be a break in the lockdown in 2021 and we could meet for a drink or something.  

That didn’t happen.

I don’t know whether my friend was feeling unwell in December 2020 when she texted, but she died with Covid mid-January 2021.

I felt numb when I got the news. Then I cried, because her death was so unfair, given her age.

This Christmas I’m thinking about her family and everyone else who has lost someone in 2021 (due to Covid or not).

I hope they are doing okay this Christmas.

I hope they will find the right words to celebrate their loved one’s life, even though they are absent from the table.

I hope they / we all have a happier new year.

( Photo by Any Lane from Pexels )

#Workplacenightmares (And Some Wellbeing Strategies)

Workplaces Should Be Nightmare Free – (Image by Pixabay at Pexels.Com)

We can’t always be liked or respected by colleagues. Bad atmospheres can give us sleepless nights. Do you have a workplace nightmare story, that one that still makes you cringe years later?  

Here’s mine.

The 1990s Were Different

Back to the 1990s there was no anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace covering people perceived to be LGBTQ+ (whether we actually belonged to one of those communities, or maybe were an equality ally).

From what I remember, being seen as not one-of-the-lads (or necessarily straight) had consequences:

  • Being subject to discriminatory rumours

(Strategy. If there’s a whispering campaign against you, find out who started it and ask them to stop, because no one wants to be harassed).

  • Facing unwelcome questions – “Hey, mind if I ask you…”?

(Strategy. You have no obligation to share your truth, if you don’t want to. Maybe there is a staff representative group or union you can be supported by).

  • Being excluded from some parts of office-based social life

(Strategy. Realistically it is time to find new friends, since no one wants to socialise with a judgemental set of people).

Some People Are Privileged

It is a privilege to be in the majority. The status of majority-member is a powerful one. You get to chose how well you treat others.

Back in the 1990s privilege meant excluding anyone who couldn’t say they were a zero on the Kinsey scale (a lot of us can’t).

The lads leading that strategy in the 1990s will be in men in their fifties now. These days law and good management practice limit the space for the kind of open discrimination. I hope they have learnt the right lessons over those twenty years.

I also hope the strategies above help improve the atmosphere where you work (you can always reply to this post to suggest your recipe to wake up from your workplace nightmare).

Helping Ourselves On #WorldMentalHealthDay

Solving Problems Is Easier When We Act Together. (Picture credit Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels )

Today, of all days, it is worth saying that life without good mental health is hard.

From my experience, in the developed world, it can still feel dark, stressful, and overwhelming to struggle on alone.

In developed and developing nations stigma about mental health conditions can affect outcomes. In some countries and cultures mental health taboos can leave those issues to silently fester in the dark. People affected can hide their illness. It can feel their secret shame to bear alone.

Left untreated their illness can become more significant than it needed to be. That is bad news for their loved ones, their colleagues and everyone else affected.

So, to change those outcomes, wherever we live, tackling mental health issues needs to involve:

  • Recognising something is making our life more complicated than it needs be
  • Reaching out to professionals who are able to help
  • Staying in touch with good listeners amongst our family network and friendship circle
  • Being kind to ourselves

What has worked for you, or people you know?

Always worth remembering, wherever in the World we find ourselves, and whatever else is important in our lives, struggling alone is not a solution.

We are stronger together.

Making Change Happen – Personal #Goals In 2021

What Needs To Change? (Picture credit SHVETS Productions via Pexels.com)

So, what has September felt like to you? 

Post-pandemic is it business as usual, once again?  

Or, is it more like something from a science fiction film, complete with rapid testing and face coverings? 

Happiness involves choice.

Making change happen starts with moving towards a goal.

Everyone choosing to follow a different path after lockdown has had to plan their way forward. Maybe that is something you want to do? If so there’s plenty of information in the posts here to get you started.

Check out the download section too, if you want some ideas on where to focus your attention.

The first step is to ask yourself, what do I want to change by the end of next month?

Then figure out what your next step looks like. 

Then take it.

Leave a reply and let everyone know how you get on!

#Business As #Usual ?

Now We Can Work Together Much More Should We? – Photo From Fauxels From Pexels

Step 4 in the Covid-19 recovery process means fewer restrictions. 

Step 4 doesn’t mean everything is back to business as usual, workwise.

In fact, it could take a while for ‘usual’ to emerge.

Blended Working: Pros and Cons

How does a blended approach of 50:50 working from home and an office sound?

The Pros are obvious:

  • Less hours commuting
  • More creative contact with diverse colleagues

The Cons are less obvious:

  • Quiet pressure to work just a bit more (early morning / in the evening / on the weekend)
  • More exposure to any toxicity in the workplace and the potential to get into disruptive relationships

What We Choose Affects Our Happiness

Our choices will affect our happiness.

A well-thought through choice will help build job satisfaction.

A casual one could cause damage.

So, it is worth taking time to figure out what we want from the work we do.

That reflection will help us form new work goals which help us deliver better results.

Why not have your say. What will you do differently, when you go back to work?

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

3 #Leadership Lessons From 3 Lions

Last week, like 30 million others, I watched the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy.

England’s confident, diverse team had reached a major final after more than 50 years.

At the end of extra time, I watched 19-year-old Bukayo Saka step up.

His penalty would make the difference.

It did.

His shot was saved.

That result was painful, but Gareth Southgate and the rest of the team held each other up.

But some ‘supporters’ tried to tear them down.

Cue a wave of online racism.

Monkey Emojis.

The N word.

The usual crap.

Not the kind of thing anyone should ignore, whether it is obvious who is creating it, or hidden behind a screenname.

And that’s why Saka, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and their teammates take the knee. Despite the boos.

  • Because leaders set the tone for their teams.
  • Because drawing attention to a problem isn’t ‘gesture politics’.
  • Because the process of change is uncomfortable.

A Few Thoughts For #Carersweek

Taking Care Of Someone Else Means Taking Care Of Yourself First – Picture credit Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

It has been another tough year.

The Coronavirus is still knocking people for six.  

Relatives and friends looking after loved ones are feeling invisible and under-valued.

For instance, research shows more than 7 out 10 UK carers haven’t practiced self-care and had a break in 12 months (a link to the report is below).

Which mean thousands of people are exhausted. Which means tired relatives struggling to focus on caring for a loved one. Which leaves the cared for person with less than the full support they need.

Vaccination is making a difference. Society may look different before too long.

Hopefully, by June 2022, better support will be offered to carers and carers will be more visible and valued. If so, the cared for will feel the benefit.

‘Breaks or breakdown’, Carers Week 2021 report – Carers UK

Picture credit Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2021

Lockdown: how has it felt to you?

Did staring at the same four walls each day get you down?

If the answer is ‘sometimes’. join the club.

I’ve found staying indoors to avoid infection hard sometimes.

Safety has meant less

  • fresh air
  • sunshine
  • social contact

There are health benefits resulting from connecting with nature. That can mean raising a plant indoors or taking a walk outdoors. Follow the link if you want to know more:

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

So, from this week on I am going to spend a bit more time taking care of my health, with help from Nature itself.

How about you?    

Picture Credit Pok Rie at Pexels.com

The Power of #Gratitude

So Many People Have Helped Us Get This Far During The Pandemic

(Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash )

Thank You.

Two very powerful words to express gratitude.

Do me a service (large or small) and expect a ‘thank you’.

After the year we have all survived, gratitude seems like the least we can express.

Over the past year I have thanked:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Physiotherapists
  • Transport workers 
  • Funeral staff
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbours
  • Police 

and so many others.

From what I can see ‘thank you’ goes a long way to showing we are all in this together. 

So, who will you thank today?