Moving is something we all do and (if you’re anything like me) something we all do quite badly! Learning to move in a mindful way can be a source of great benefit for your body an also your mind. And it really is something we can all try.
Mindful movements are gentle stretches and strengthening exercises done very, very slowly with awareness of your breathing and the sensations in your body. It’s done with a “non-striving” attitude – meaning, it’s not a competition and you’re not trying to achieve a contortionist dream!
The idea of mindful movements is to bring awareness to your body as you move. It’s not exercise or a sport, but an exercise in noticing. Noticing enables you to have more awareness of your body in everyday life – bringing awareness to walking, bending, reaching and lifting.
When I first tried mindful movements, after a few practices I realised that I was almost completely subconsciously blocking awareness of my legs. It was a strange sensation but made sense having sustained leg injuries in my early 20s. This realisation was really helpful in bringing my mind to focus on reconnecting with them and kind of re-joining my whole body.
Mindful movements, is not strict it can be done in different ways – so for example, if you are in pain or feel pain in a movement you can alter the movements (so instead of standing, maybe sitting or lying down), or just skip that movement. For me I am just unable to the “Bodysway” – my ankles just don’t like it! Another option is to imagine carrying out the movement, without physically moving – which can be a really powerful feeling. Also, if like me you tend to push yourself too far at times notice this and adjust. Or if you are someone who may benefit from doing a little more, notice this and adjust.
The main ‘rule’ is to move with your breath, rather than tensing or holding your breath (like me, from giving this a go you may notice how much of your day you spend holding your breath!). Your breath should be smooth and rhythmical. As you undertake the movements, remain present with your body and how it feels, if your mind drifts (and it will!) just kindly and gently bring yourself back to your breathing and your body, and let any thoughts drift away like litter in a breeze (that part really does take practice, so go easy on yourself it takes time.)
Mindful movements can be done as a practiced routine each morning but bringing just a couple of these movements into your day is a good place to start. And you may well, already be doing versions of this. For example, the “arm-reach” is probably what you do when you get your bowl out of a cupboard at breakfast, just do this at a slower pace than usual and focus on your breath (in and out) and the movement. I like to do the “roll-down” when I’m putting the washing on the line, again slowing down my usual pace and focusing on my breath, how my body feels and how it’s moving. Goodness knows what the neighbours think! But who cares!
You can definitely find Mindful Movement videos on Youtube, so do give it a go – but please be gentle and mindful of what your body can do, and what it needs:
Free online training courses to help teachers and school staff understand how to support grieving children and young people in their school.
On average, 1 in every 29 children will be bereaved of a parent. That’s one in every class. Whether your student has been bereaved recently or several years ago, they need support from the school community to ensure that they can cope with their grief. That’s why it’s vital that teachers and staff understand how to support the grieving children and young people in their school. Our free online bereavement training courses will help you understand how grief affects a child or young person and how you can help them cope with their grief. The courses are designed for schols but would be useful for anyone who works with bereaved children. Written by the Winston’s Wish team, drawing on our many years of experience supporting bereaved children, and created by Learning Nexus.
These courses are free, just fill out the form below to access them.
The Isbourne has created a series of online videos to help you look after your mental health. The videos range from sound healing, to meditations, to sleep stories, all with the aim to help you unwind and melt away the stresses of the day.
Once you fill in the form at https://www.isbourne.org/keyworkers , you will be emailed a link to a private YouTube playlist. Bookmark the link in your browser for quick and easy access whenever you need it. We recommend sticking to a schedule when it comes to mental health care. So try and watch the playlist at least once a week. You’ll soon notice a difference in your stress and anxiety levels.
The playlist will be updated regularly with new content, so keep checking in.
Mental Health & Wellbeing during Covid-19
Covid-19 has now had a far reaching impact on people right across the world and it’s important during this time to take care of your mind as well as your body.
Everyone will be reacting in their own way. You might be feeling frustrated or lonely. Concerned about your finances, your health or relatives. And you might be feeling down, worried or anxious. It is OK to feel like this. These are normal reactions to uncertainty and to challenging events.
Covid-19 has also impacted on many of the normal coping strategies we use to deal with stress, and on the everyday activity that underpins our emotional wellbeing. During this time, we may need to be more creative and thoughtful about how we look after ourselves.
A new resource, Our Frontline has been launched today to support those under most pressure. Our Frontline is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. There is tailored material for staff working in social care, essential roles , the emergency services and health workers.
Mental health is something we care deeply about, therefore we wanted to create a mental health guide that has weight, meaning and helps provide a new or different perspective – one that is different to the usual ‘top tips’ lists out there.
We interviewed numerous people about their struggles with mental health and collated all the techniques and approaches they used, describing what worked and what didn’t. The result is a guide which will hopefully show how unique and individual everyone’s mental health journey is, and how everyone tackles and deals with it in different ways.
Whether you are exploring the topic of mental health for the first time, or it’s a topic you are familiar with, we hope this guide will bring you some comfort and insight
As part of our drive in developing supportive resources over the coming weeks, we have created this new guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff at schools and colleges during periods of disruption. We hope that you find this useful. Please do give us feedback on what topics and types of resources you would like to see via our survey
Free Workout Videos
Exercise at home is a great way to stay fit and healthy during this time. Working out at home using short exercise videos means you can go at your own pace whilst releasing endorphins and lowering stress levels.
Supporting People with Dementia
Dementia Activities Guide during COVID 19
A resource which offers links to resources which might be helpful for some people with Dementia
It’s important to remember to look after yourself and find support during this uncertain time. Here are our tips on how you can look after your own wellbeing. > Download the Resource
Wellbeing Action Plan
It’s fair to say that the outbreak of Coronavirus and the more recent ‘lockdown’ in the United Kingdom has had a significant impact on work for many of us, and for some that means working from home. Less than 30% of the workforce had worked from home during 2019, and now we are being required to do so where possible. This represents a substantial change as our home has become our place of work, and there are additional challenges at play because of the current pandemic.
In times of such uncertainty, many of us are understandably living with a heightened sense of anxiety. Many people are feeling worried and fearful of what will happen in the coming days, weeks and potentially months and having to quickly adjust to major changes in their lives.
At the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, we have adapted our Workplace Wellbeing Action Plan so that it can be used while working from home, and by managers supporting staff who are working remotely. It’s a practical tool that we can all use whether or not we have a mental health issue, and it includes a positive daily plan that you can fill in.
Your Wellbeing Action Plan
It is important to look after your mental health and wellbeing when working remotely and self-care is really important at this time. We have adapted our workplace wellbeing action plan so that it can be used while working from home, and for managers supporting staff who are working remotely. It is a personalised, practical tool that we can all use whether or not we have a mental health issue. There are sections for you to complete, including a positive daily plan.
Working from home: Your Wellbeing Action Plan is available
The world is in crisis. Keep Calm, Stay Wise & Be Kind.
This Coping Calendar has 30 suggested actions to look after ourselves and each other as we face this global crisis together. Download it as an image for sharing or a PDF for printing. Pass on to others and help spread the word
There is a range of support for adults that will focus on how to maintain good mental health during covid -19 currently being developed. This will be detailed in future communications once available.
Occupational Health- Support for employees Wellbeing and Mental Health
The Occupational Health Team are hoping to continue to run service with as little disruption as possible to support the employees of GCC especially those in front line roles. The counselling service continues, providing sessions by telephone and video during the outbreak.
The Health Assured, EAP (Employment Assistance Programme) is accessible 24 hours a day seven days a week. This provides telephone counselling and support for all employees of Gloucestershire County Council and can also offer guidance in other areas, such as financial advice. Please find the link: www.healthassured.org
Phone: 0800 030 5182 (free 24 hour helpline)
If you are having concerns for your own health and wellbeing please speak to your manager who can get you the right support from this service.
If you are a manager our helpline no is: 01452 425073 option 2
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced a 12-week extension to all First aid at work and Emergency first aid at Work certificates that would have expired after 16 March. The Department for Education has confirmed that this extension is also valid for Paediatric First Aid and Emergency Paediatric First Aid certificates.
While this means your delegates qualifications will not expire during this time, we know that first aid skills remain important and necessary, perhaps even more so in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak. We want to make sure nobody feels unprepared to provide first aid help when needed.
The GCC Occupational Health team has a wealth of experiencing in supporting the County’s schools with their health and wellbeing needs. If you have any concerns during the current Covid-19 pandemic please contact us. The emotional health of staff is a priority. If you need support with loss, bereavement & trauma, financial support, domestic abuse or alcohol & lifestyle advice, click here to see the help available and contact numbers.