RCSItogether Bulletin 22 – Archive Project, Microbiome, Motivation..and Thank You

Dear Colleagues

As we move into the summer holiday period and progress the reopening of RCSI campuses we have decided that this will be the last RCSItogether bulletin for now. Our intention in starting RCSItogether was to support your wellbeing, development and connection to your colleagues during these strange times. We will now reflect on the results of the most recent pulse survey and consider how best we can now continue to support you as we enter this new phase. Thank you all for reading, for your feedback and inputs but most of all thank you for continuing to support each other in our RCSI community.

#RCSItogether – Learning

Our colleagues in the library have a wonderful initiative underway to capture the personal experiences and reactions of the RCSI community to the pandemic. They would like to hear your experiences of working and living during this period- those working directly in the frontline, those working from home for the first time, those carrying out research work on COVID19, student experiences of distance learning, how interactions with colleagues, family, friends have changed etc. These testimonies will provide a rich resource for future generations to learn from but are also a great way of capturing our own learning from this period. You may have heard the Dewey quote “We do no learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on an experience”- why not take some time to capture your thoughts and ideas on this extraordinary time – photographs, drawings, press cuttings, letters, audio/video recordings etc. are all welcome. If you would like to participate please complete this form and if you have questions please email our archivist susanleyden@rcsi.ie

You may have seen our email last week in relation to our annual required training – this year all staff are asked to take GDPR and Unconscious Bias training over the summer period. Normally we ask colleagues to take this training in spring but held off this year given the events that were unfolding and the subsequent demands on staff. These remain important topics and we are still committed to ensuring that all our staff are aware of the core concepts and their personal responsibilities in each area.  Please do take the time to complete these courses.

#RCSItogether – Health Science

The microbiome is an interesting and rapidly growing area of research. There are trillions of microbes inhabiting our bodies and we have more microbial cells than we do human cells. In this Ted Talk Professor John Cryan, professor and Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork talks about how the microbiome influences brain development, the impact of probiotics on mood and health implications of Caesarean sections. His current research includes the neurobiological basis of stress-related disorders including depression, anxiety, pain, and drug dependence. You might like to also listen to this podcast where Prof Cryan discusses how the microbiome affects stress, pain and mood.

#RCSItogether- Minding Others

You’ve probably read many articles and tips for juggling work and parenting while working from home. But if you are feeling in need of some fresh ideas, Harvard Business Review have compiled 18 tips from their readers. Some of the main themes include setting boundaries and carving out time for focus; getting extended family involved while socially distanced; and embracing “good enough” while remembering to play, laugh, and be present. Parents from around the world share their ideas here.

#RCSItogether- Minding Yourself

We all know the lifestyle habits that can contribute to our both our mental and physical health;  eating well, keeping a regular sleep pattern of 7-8 hours, exercise, practicing meditation or other stress relieving tools, we have touched on lots of these topics throughout the #RCSItogether series. So why is it sometimes so hard to motivate yourself to get out for that run but it can be very easy to find the energy to take on a home improvement project? Motivation can be defined as a need or a drive inside us that desires a change, either in ourselves or in our external environment. Looking at the science behind behavioural motivation and how you can get motivated in the first place (and stay motivated) can help you develop healthy habits that will stick. James Clear is the author of the New York Times bestseller ‘Atomic Habits’. In this article ‘Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated’, he looks at what motivation is, common misconceptions and practical tools we can implement to ensure that our newly developed habits stick for the long-term. If you remember anything from it, remember the three R’s of habit formation: Reminder, Routine, Reward!  

A final reminder that all of our previous RCSItogether bulletins, webinar recordings and a range of other supports and resources are available on the staff portal. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in HR at any stage if you need support or advice, we are all figuring out how best to work in these changed times and we are here to help with any challenges you might be experiencing.

For this our last bulletin we want to leave you with some words from Irish poet John O’Donohue in his beautiful poem ‘Beannacht’ (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O’Donohue, from Echoes of Memory (2010)

Take care of yourselves and each other, Barry and the HR Team.