Entering 2021 under lockdown conditions, Tandem’s Thrive Wellbeing Committee was acutely aware that this lockdown was different. In March 2020, people adopted very positive health behaviours, engaged in constructive leisure time activities such as redecorating, rediscovering the joy of gardening or just getting through a list of chores. In 2021, people are experiencing lockdown fatigue, when moods are low and if we let them, they can affect those positive health behaviours that we established a year ago. The committee also recognised that a lack of societal interaction was having a heavy impact on people’s mental health. These coupled with the pressure of school closures, travel restrictions, altered work arrangements and inability to see family members are all reasons why Thrive put in place a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing wellbeing and providing a positive social outlet for all of our employees and contractors.
Our Q1 initiatives included a series of lunchtime pilates classes. Classes were designed to alleviate the stress caused by sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Introducing simple stretches that could be utilized at any time during the workday to ease tension and reinvigorate.
The committee has run informative lunch and learn sessions on nutrition and resilience. In January we welcomed Marc Murphy, a nutritional therapist, lecturer and clinic supervisor with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Cork. Marc demonstrated healthy meal ideas while talking through the nutrition benefits of the meals and specific ingredients. In a similar vein, Thrive is sending emails with healthy meal planning ideas, twice weekly, to staff and contractors.
In February, we received a talk on resilience from Maureen O’Dwyer, a registered Mental Health nurse and Nurse Therapist with Highfield Healthcare in Dublin. Maureen walked us through the tools and techniques used to cultivate a mindset oriented towards greater self-compassion, which helps to reduce anxiety levels and decrease the risk of high stress levels and associated burnout.
The Thrive committee ran an outdoor photography competition, emphasising the requirement to adhere to government guidelines and remain within 5km of home. The competition resulted in 22 entries including images from locations such as Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Mayo and Clare. The winning entry was called ‘Blanketing the Green Road’ and can be viewed here: Photography Competition
Thrive has also established a book club, to encourage the joy of reading, to suggest new genres of books and to provide a social platform for discussion. Aptly, the first virtual book club meeting took place on World Book Day, 4th March. It was a great success with lively discussion and participation, the event delivered the intended fun and social interaction.
Lastly, Thrive has set up three exercise communities, for running, walking and cycling. The comradery is facilitated by WhatsApp groups and they have become lively forums for discussion.
The running group’s first challenge was to cumulatively run from Cork to Cheltenham and back before the Cheltenham racing festival. The walking group challenge was 21 in 21, to achieve individual walking goals for 21 days in a row. The cycling group virtually cycled from Tandem HQ to Croagh Patrick before St. Patrick’s Day.
The feedback from staff and contractors regarding these initiatives has been extremely positive. We look forward to continuing them, at the same time hoping that our virtual social activities can be replaced with safe, face to face social interactions in the not-too-distant future.