Find out changes to our services and advice in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Employee wellbeing resources - Self help

The first step to good health and wellbeing is the step you take yourself.   The way you think about things, connecting with others, what you eat and drink, exercise, good sleep.  There's lots you can do to build the foundations for wellbeing, it's all about self-care and it starts with you.  There's not a 'one size fits all', choose what appeals to you.  Start by working through the suggestions below:

Accessing up to date information about Coronavirus  |  Clear your head  |  Building blocks of wellbeing  |  Kindness  |  Mindfulness  |  Practice positive thinking  |  Find the good stress |  Thriving in Spring  |  Healthy eating  |  Good sleep  |  Get moving  |  Identify stress triggers  |  What is mental health?  |  Working from home  |  Adjust your workload  |  Learning  |  Lockdown Lounge  |  Mental health and wellbeing - 7 steps to take  |  Staying connected - checking in  |  Staying connected - in an informal way  |  Lifestyle choices  |  Reflective practice / journaling  |  Relaxation

Accessing up to date information about Coronavirus

Keeping yourself up-to-date on the facts helps alleviate any unnecessary stress from incorrect information. Ensure you read the details from reputable sites.

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Clear your head

Scottish Government has created tips, ideas, videos and more -

Visit the Clear your Head website

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Building blocks of wellbeing

Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, worry, anger and confusion are completely normal and are likely to be prevalent at least some of the time while we working through the COVID pandemic. The icon Building Blocks of Wellbeing [291Kb] provides a rich source of information to help you get some perspective, around what you can control when so much is out of your control; the importance of relationships; doing the things that make you feel good; shaping your thinking; planning how to do it. 

  • Kindness and gratitude
  • Circle of influence
  • Connectedness and relationships
  • Enhancing our neurostransmitters
  • Making a plan
  • Shaping our thinking and feelings

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Showing kindness and gratitude to others is hugely beneficial for our own wellbeing but remember to be kind to yourself. This is something we have never encountered before, we need time to adjust, to get our heads around it. Our lives have been impacted in so many different ways. With all this going on it will affect our work too. Remember this and be kind to you. At times you may feel that you've not achieved much, take time at the end of each day to write down all the things you have achieved including the support (practical or emotional, the supportive encouraging conversations you've had) that you have given to others, and write a few kind words to yourself.

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The way you think about things affects how you feel.

You can spend time ruminating about the past, about what's happened, what's been said or you might worry about the future. At these times you can bring yourself back to the present, giving your full attention to the present moment, being mindful of what's around you and noticing the 5 senses.

By practising mindfulness you train your attention muscle so that you can tap into it, when you need it, perhaps when your mind is racing but also when you need to focus on whatever you are doing like the piece of work you're working on, helping your concentration.

Mindspace offer a range of mindfulness sessions you can join. Mindspace's Mindfulness sessions run at 2pm every Monday afternoon and can be accessed by clicking on the following link Mindspace Monday Mindfulness.

Other Mindspace resources can be accessed via the Learning Programme.

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Practice positive thinking

We all run a stream of thoughts in our heads which can be negative thoughts or positive thoughts. The things we do: We filter out all the good things that have happened or might happen and focus on the negative; We personalise situations or events and blame the negative aspects on ourselves; We catastrophise, use catastrophic language e.g. 'it was horrendous', 'a nightmare',' it's a disaster!'; We polarise, view things as either good or bad, perfect or failure.

Notice the language you use and reframe the conversation in your head or that which you have with others. e.g. instead of saying 'that talk I gave was an absolute nightmare, I was a disaster' reframe to 'I felt the talk could've gone better, there are things I would do differently next time. I'm confident I know how to do it differently' or 'I'll ask my manager for thoughts on how to approach it differently next time so that it is a great success'. Notice when you slip into negative thoughts and reset your thinking to be more positive.

Surround yourself with positive people, particularly when your energy is low.

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Find the good stress

Check out the Performance Curve video on YouTube . As pressure increases so does the performance, we can all relate to that. Remember back to sub-mitting assignments. When you had assignment deadlines a few weeks ahead your performance was ok, you were working in your comfort zone. When the deadline got closer you pulled out all the stops and your performance peaked - you were in your performance zone. But this good relationship between pressure and performance only lasts to a point. With too much pressure your performance starts to drop and you go into stress. Fatigue is one of the most obvious signs. So we must tune in to ourselves and to others, recognise the signs, stop, refresh and give yourself all the self-care you need to build your energy and feel good again. (You can learn more about this by joining one of the Resilience - Self Care and Wellbeing Session being hosted by OD. Check our Learning Programme for details.)

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Thriving in Spring

Our icon Thriving in Spring [8Mb] bulletin offers suggestions about small changes we can all make to enhance our health and wellbeing.

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Healthy eating 

We all know the benefits of healthy eating, weight loss, feeling fitter and the positive impact on our physical wellbeing. It also has a positive impact on the way you feel - your mood, it helps with better sleep and you're more likely to take part in physical exercise.

Some suggestions for good advice, tips, recipes and diets:

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Good sleep

Good quality sleep is critical to physical health and effective functioning of the immune system. It's also key for mental wellbeing, it helps alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety. Ideally, you should aim for 7 - 8 hours sleep each night. You can find out more at Sleep Foundation.

Poor sleep leads to worrying.  Worrying leads to poor sleep.  Read more at

NHS has some advice if you find it difficult to get to sleep or staying asleep.

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Get moving

There is scientific evidence that being physically active helps you lead a healthier and happier life (NHS). Exercise sets off the endorphins in our brain which make us feel great.

You can take part in fitness at home with Live Active at Home Fitness.

Different levels of fitness sessions are available for all abilities, together with information sheets including guidance on exercise of the video session. The exercise sessions are also available on the Live Active YouTube channel.

Also check out Live Active at Home with Kids for fun activities.

Scottish Ballet has created 10 minute movement and breath sessions designed to support physical and mental health. There are 3 types of session:

  • Energise - warm up and activate, for the start of any shift.
  • Rejuvenate - a warm up and maintenance session, to balance minds and address back, leg and foot fatigue.
  • Relax - letting go, gentle movements to soothe the bodies and minds, preparing for home time and rests.

Others to try:

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Identify the stress triggers

What are your triggers? For some it may be Covid-19 itself, for others it may be their increased or decreased workload, and for others it may be working in environments not conducive to productivity or concentration. It's important to pin the trigger(s) down - use the icon Wellbeing Planning Tool [712Kb] -  and it's best to talk about them with someone - whether that's your manager, partner, or housemate, or friend. If you're not physically with them, you talk via a Teams video call; being able to read each other's facial cues will help enormously during this conversation.  Even you don't notice you're beginning to feel stressed they might spot and give you a gentle nudge.

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What is mental health?

Mental health is the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. Everybody has mental health, so let's not be afraid to talk about it.

If you need support talk to your line manager, or a colleague or friend you trust.

You can read more from the Mental Health Foundation on their website.

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Working from home

Working from home has lot of positives. There are also lots of MUST Dos including things like taking breaks and keeping in touch - these are non-negotiable. Some guidance to help you work at home:

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Adjust your worload

You will currently be focusing on your immediate essential workload. Ask a colleague in your team for help if you need it. It is important to talk to your manager and tell them how you're feeling so you can work together to solve any problems.

If you have a sudden decrease in workload and think having more of a focus and structure to your days could help, ask if your skills could be used elsewhere in the business where they're feeling the pinch.

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Learning is a key enabler of resilience. Learning about self, others, learning for your role at work, qualifications etc. We never stop learning.

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
  • helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • helping you to connect with others

Take a look at the Learning Programme.

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Lockdown Lounge

Music sets off the dopamine hormone which makes us feel good. You can join the Lockdown Lounge on Fridays at 12 noon to hear the tunes requested by your colleagues. Come along and chat in the chat box, see people you've not seen for a while and just relax! Send in your song requests to  Check the Whats on? page on eric for access.

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Mental Health and Wellbeing - 7 steps to take

When we think of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) we immediately think of physical health.

However, it's important to also consider the impact that this could have on our thoughts and emotions, alongside our overall mental health and wellbeing.

Check out the PKC 7 steps to mental health about mental health.

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Staying connected - checking in

Staying connected is a two way thing. It's as much your responsibility to check-in with your line manager as it is theirs to check-in with you. Remember your line manager is also juggling lots of balls in the air. If you feel you're not getting the opportunity to chat with your line manager, ask for it.

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Staying connected - in an informal way

Don't wait for someone else to make the first move. Contact your colleagues, let them know you'd value a moment of their time to talk. Stay in touch with friends and family. Join in the online sessions on offer via the Learning Programme - not only will you learn something new it's a great opportunity to chat with others.

Try it, comments suggest these have been particularly uplifting for attendees.

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Lifestyle choices

Making healthy food choices, regular exercise and avoiding or reducing damaging substances like tobacco, alcohol and excessive amounts of sugar and salt and getting enough sleep each night are examples of lifestyle choices you can make to improve and maintain good health.

Small changes to increase physical activity and developing and maintaining healthy habits can help to ensure we all Live Life Well.

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Reflective practice/journaling

It can help to write down your thoughts and worries, when we get them out of our head it helps us to reflect on the thoughts and think about whether the worry is something you have control over or not.

If you do have control over it, great, you can plan your next steps. If you don't you can give yourself permission to let it go, just acknowledge the worry and tell yourself you're letting it go. It also helps to write down your achievements each day. Sometimes when we're juggling work, home life, looking after children, parents, partners, we feel like we're not achieving much.

Write it down and you will see that you are achieving lots, be kind to yourself, you're not super human.

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