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My Wellbeing: Lauren Metalle

Category: Health and Wellbeing, Wellbeing, Government, Jobs in Government, Employee Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Working from Home, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, UK Government, wellbeing at work, mental wellbeing, workplace wellbeing, home working, COVID-19, Work from Home, DCMS

Wellbeing

Welcome to My Wellbeing. This article focuses on what wellbeing means to staff at DCMS, and includes the top tips of colleagues throughout the department for maintaining positive and healthy wellbeing. 

This edition features Lauren Metalle, a Policy Adviser in the (COVID) Volunteering Data and Insights Team.

What does wellbeing mean to you personally?

The word wellbeing is used a lot and it used to make me think about meditation and yoga (I have tried both 100 times and just can’t get into either of them…) so I used to think “this whole wellbeing thing” just wasn’t for me. After struggling with a chronic illness that was diagnosed in 2014 which has affected my mental health pretty severely at times, I have realised that wellbeing isn’t a “thing you can do” that just magically “keeps you happy”. Long story short, I think it’s a state of mind that can fluctuate with your physical and mental health. You can look after and improve your wellbeing in a number of ways (and meditation/yoga are just a few options to do so!).

What are your three wellbeing tips for colleagues?

 

  1. Do something nice for someone: go out of your way to make a concerted effort to do something to bring a smile to somebody’s face. It can be sending a little gift to a friend or family member, or even just buying a coffee for a stranger when you buy your own to brighten their day – making someone else feel seen/loved/valued will make their day and will make you feel good in the process, even if just for a minute or two.
  2. Take guilt-free time to yourself: we all have busy lives and we are nearly all looking after our own wellbeing as well as supporting our kids/parents/friends/housemates/partners/grandparents…(the list goes on). Try and find a way to get some alone time, even if it’s just sitting in a park with a thermos for 15 minutes at lunch, doing a few meditations through Headspace (which has just been rolled out across DCMS and I am eager to try!) or listening to a podcast for 30 minutes. You deserve to have some time to relax.
  3. Tell people if something is affecting you: This sounds so obvious but it begs repeating: if something in your life is affecting you, tell someone. They may not be able to help in any sort of practical way, but sometimes just flagging that something is affecting you can take the pressure off you for a bit as people around you will have some of the context if you suddenly start crying in a team meeting (I have done this before…)/go radio-silent for a bit/need to take some “emergency annual leave”.

The nights have drawn in, it getting chillier – any tips for getting through the next few months?

Give yourself things to look forward to, whether it’s a glass of wine with a bath on Friday nights, a date night with your partner or just giving yourself permission to eat four sharing bags of chocolate in front of your favourite new series of TV, plan one or two things to look forward to!

How do you release stress?

I used to run but unfortunately had a knee operation two years ago and that put a bit of a stop to that! So now I try and get out in nature as much as possible, even if it just popping down to the harbour at lunch to sit by the water and have a cuppa.
Also walking/looking after/petting dogs – puppy therapy is a real thing!

What – if anything – keeps you up at night?

Oh god, the list is too long to go into, but that’s anxiety for you!

How much sleep did you get last night?

About six hours, not my best but not my worst. I struggle to sleep sometimes (see previous answer) but have found listening to a podcast can help me drift off (when it’s not a true crime one at least!).

When were you at your happiest?

When myself and my partner travelled New Zealand in a van we built ourselves, dog and house-sitting in between living in the van as it combined all my favourite things: traveling, camping, nature and looking after dogs. (Oh, and my partner!…).

What thing or person relaxes you?

Dogs (obviously), podcasts, my sister and my boyfriend (they’re infinitely more chilled than me which is always good!).

What drink relaxes you?

A friend bought me some “Relax” tea when I was going through a particularly rough patch this year and I love it, especially as whenever I have it I am reminded of that friend.

What song relaxes you?

Tilted – Christine and the Queens, or literally anything by Bongeziwe Manbandla (I only discovered his music last year and it’s perfect to listen to whilst working to keep the blood pressure low!).

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