As we enter the last weekend of a challenging January, we can’t help but feel more hopeful for the slightly longer days and shorter month of February. We hope you are making the most of the daylight hours to remain active and get outside within your 5km radius. It is so important that we continue to actively practice our resilience and self-care over the coming weeks with the extension of the Level 5 restrictions to help reduce the pressure on our Healthcare system and clinical colleagues. By staying home we are supporting them together.
We would like to reiterate our strong encouragement for managers, teams and staff to work together to allow for flexibility for those who are once again juggling home caring and schooling responsibilities. For some this could be working amended hours or re-prioritising work for a short time period. Remember that good is good enough as we continue to support each other through the weeks ahead. We are hearing of a lot of us are experiencing increased stress at this time, which is understandable in the current circumstances. If you are experiencing a heightening state of stress or would like to learn how to manage stress better, the HSE is running a free 6 session stress control course starting on Monday 8th February- 25th February. The classes will be live streamed on YouTube and made available for 48 hours afterwards if you miss the live session. During these classes you will learn about stress and anxiety, and some practical ways you can control it and boost your wellbeing. You can find out more here. A reminder also that all staff and their families have access to the RCSI Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is a free professional counselling and information service. You can talk to a counsellor about any issues or concern on the phone or by video 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Please be assured that any contact you have with the EAP service is strictly confidential; By Phone: Freephone 1800 995 955; By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With so much of our professional and personal ways of working and connecting relying on technology this year (and sometimes our sanity when it’s the only thing that will keep the kids entertained!), the term ‘Technology Fatigue’ is something we can all relate to. It is good to remember that technology can also be used to help us to maintain healthy boundaries and reduce our screen time where we can. We have created some top tips for improving your digital wellbeing and reducing technology fatigue:
- Boundaries: Improve your working from home and personal/family time boundaries by turning off your work notifications on your mobile for out of work hours- there is no need to be ‘always on’
- Disconnect: Use your smartphone technology to set up a ‘wind down’ time on your phone before bed which can turn off all notifications and reduce mindless scrolling! Android tips, iOS tips
- Respect: Think twice about who needs to be a recipient on your email and include deadlines for when work is needed by. Know how to correctly use the To vs CC fields. This article contains best practice Outlook: Do’s and Don’ts
- Time Management: Respect people’s time and keep meetings short and to the point and no longer than 50 minutes where possible. For more tips you can check this LinkedIn Learning Managing Meetings course
- Connect: This week’s #SpotlightonWellbeing is focused on the importance of positive connections. We’ve included ways you can connect to colleagues below and we encourage you to get involved. We’re all grateful that technology enables us to stay connected, we just need to have healthy technology boundaries to protect mental health too.
Speaking of celebrations, one thing that we have all missed is the traditional Mol Med ‘cake events’ to celebrate birthdays, graduations (Dr Emily Rutherford and Dr Cha Len Lee both graduated with MDs in 2020), research success……..basically any excuse to eat nice cakes!! We have some wonderful bakers in the team and we expect to have some new ones thanks to much practice over the past few months so this is definitely something to look forward to whenever we are all back on site together again!
The final topic we’re looking at as part of the #SpotlightonWellbeing series is the importance of Positive Connections. In this week’s video Prof Ciaran O’Boyle of the Centre for Positive Psychology and Health looks at human connections – why we need them, the importance of our mindset and some practical exercises you can do to enhance you sense of connection with others. Our last staff pulse survey highlighted that colleagues are really missing their teams and that the prolonged period of remote working is leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation which of course negatively impacts overall wellbeing. From a work perspective it is undoubtedly our relationships and communication with others that enables us to do our best and keep going in tough times. In this week’s video Prof O’ Boyle highlights how proactively engaging with others even through technology is good for us. So we want to share ways you can connect with your colleagues even while we are apart:
- Take a spin on the Coffee Roulette wheel today at 10am! You’ll be randomly paired with 2 other colleagues from across the University to have a cuppa and a chat (no work talk, approved topics include Bridgerton, pets, sports, did we mention Bridgerton??)
- Join with your team or whole department for the RCSI Step’s to Health Challenge! RCSI Inspire are challenging teams to walk from Dublin to Bahrain together, that’s 6,954.1km! Starting on 16th February for Love Life Love Walking Day. Sign up through this link, more info to follow.
- Join the RCSI Inspire Baking Club who are making a comeback after the success of the Great RCSI Bake Off 2020. There will be baking challenges with pictures posted to our dedicated WorkVivo Space. All levels welcome, join the fun here!
- The RCSI Staff Networks are a great way to meet likeminded individuals with common interests. The EDI Unit has established six staff networks: Parent’s and Carers’; LGBT+ Pride; Men’s Shed; Women’s Network; Age Friendly; and Intercultural. To join any of the staff networks and access that network’s Workvivo Space, please email the EDI Unit at: email@example.com.
We sign off this week with a poem by Liam Porter to remind us to remember to take time for ourselves and for living.
Take time for now.
This is the only moment you are sure of.
Take time for friends.
They will help you through the very worst days.
Take time for family.
You will miss them, immeasurably, when they are gone.
Take time for work.
But don’t let work, take all of your time.
Take time to laugh.
Laughter raises spirits and lifts the gloom.
Take time for music.
It will feed your soul and bring you joy.
Take time to exercise.
You have one body, you should look after it well.
Take time for you.
For if you keep dividing yourself, what will be left?
Take time to understand.
That we cannot save time. We can just try to use it wisely.
Take time to live.
Take care and continue to be safe,
Barry and the HR Team