WELLNESS AT WORK PDST Wellbeing Newsletter #2

Welcome to the second edition of the PDST Wellness at Work Newsletter, brought to you by the Health and Wellbeing Teams. We hope the past week has been kind to you and your families. Thank you to everyone who contacted us this week to show their appreciation and to contribute to this newsletter! We wish you all the best for the week ahead. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

Wellness at Work Video Series Undesk Yourself

Marion's Courgette & Almond Soup

What a treat! This creamy soup is made in minutes with very few ingredients and no cream in sight. The almonds, which of course are a superfood because they contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E, provide the creamy consistency.

Ingredients: 2 tbsp butter, 2 medium white onions, 2 cloves garlic, A twin pack of courgettes, 4 tbsp ground almonds, 800ml–1litre vegetable or chicken stock, salt & pepper.

Method: Heat the butter in a heavy based saucepan to melt. Chop the onions roughly and add them to the butter. Sprinkle with sea salt, cover with a lid and leave to sweat over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic and chopped courgettes. Cook for 5 minutes with the lid off. Add the stock – enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil and simmer until the courgettes are just tender – 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle in the ground almonds and remove the pot from the heat. Blitz the soup to a puree – taste and season with salt and pepper. If it’s too thick add a little more stock. If it doesn’t seem creamy enough, add a little more ground almonds. Heat gently to serve.

We will feature a new recipe each week - let us know if you are enjoying them, and email us your photos!

5 wellbeing rules for teachers working from home

Teaching from home poses a wide range of challenges, both logistical and mental, which should not be underestimated. Cabin fever is a real threat. Loss of routine, lack of direct contact with the students you have invested so much of yourself in, the creeping monotony of another day spent indoors, alongside the multitude of societal pressures; all this builds up to have a real impact. Here are 5 tips that Oliver Ireland has adopted to help make his life better and hopefully they can work for you, too.

1. Separate work and play

Easier said than done, but possibly the most important one to follow for the sake of your mental health. Set yourself a working day and stick to it. Make your students and parents aware when you will be contactable and work only within those times.

Once you respond to the odd parent out of hours, in the evening or on a weekend, you give all your students and parents’ permission to expect your response at their convenience. In education, it is difficult enough to do this under normal circumstances. Without the structure of the normal school day to support your barriers between work and play, the lines will blur very quickly so try and maintain this strict division.

2. Get out more – if you can

With the pressures of the new working environment, it also begins to get harder to motivate yourself to get out. However, if you can, try and get outside at least once a day during daylight hours. Stay at home, but step outside. Walk around your house or a little bit down the road, do some gardening for half an hour, or just sit outside and feel the breeze on your face.

Your movements will depend on how far you can go while respecting the restrictions being imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the importance of keeping your distance from others must be maintained at all times, but if circumstances allow it then do what you can to see some green spaces.

3. Work up a sweat

With the early mornings, late evenings and sacred weekends of teaching it can be especially hard to find the time and the energy to get physical.

However, if you follow rule number one and get your working hours in order, then use your free time to do some exercise. You could do yoga in the garden, follow an exercise class on YouTube, or go for a run – again, though, ensure you keep away from others you see out by at least two metres.

4. Practise social media hygiene

This is a difficult one to follow. All around us, there is a media furore that verges on hysteria, reporting on the daily implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Add to that the constant ping of Whatsapp and other messaging apps, checking Twitter for updates and watching the news, – it quickly becomes impossible to keep a clear head. As such, trying to limit social media at this time is vital.

Follow the official channels for news announcements, mute those Whatsapp groups (you know the ones) and focus on what you can verify, not what others have heard about from a friend of a friend who might be in the know.

5. Spread the love

If you are finding today difficult, then you can be sure that someone you work with is in the same boat. Your frustrations and the pressures that cause them are universal for your colleagues, so don’t go it alone.

Check in with your work friends, is there someone who has fallen off the radar over the past couple of days? Reach out, have a phone chat, a video call, organise a remote film night together, play a game over the internet, set each other a challenge to paint something or write a poem.

It's easy to feel like you're alone when teaching remotely, but the truth is we are all in this together, so keep in touch whenever possible.

Oliver Ireland is assessment coordinator at The New English School, Kuwait. To read this article and more, click on the button below:

Read: Teaching Through a Pandemic: A Mindset for This Moment. Hundreds of teachers, many of them operating in countries where teach-from-home has been in place for weeks, weigh in on the mental approach you need to stay grounded in this difficult time.

Watch: Learning for All Webinar Series. The Teaching Council and PDST are working together on this series of webinars to help support learning from home in these changing times. From the online to the offline, the aim is to connect all the good practice that is currently taking place during school closures, and to help teachers support each other during this period. School leaders and teachers are providing enormous support and care, and these seminars aim to bring the community together to respond to today's needs in a supportive manner.

Practise Meditation

Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Here, we offer basic tips to get you started on a path toward greater equanimity, acceptance and joy. Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax. Follow these 5 simple steps, then click on the button below to experience a guided meditation.

1) Choose a peaceful environment and take a mindful approach to any distractions 2) Find a comfortable seated position on a chair, or lie down. 3) Turn your phone to silent. 4) Focus on your breathing. 5) Choose a time to practise again tomorrow.

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes per day, unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour - Zen proverb

Click here to explore more tips for how to begin a meditation practice.

Join the Fit from home Club!

Due to new measures introduced to keep us safe during the Coronavirus outbreak including restrictions on how far we can travel from home, we have decided to replace our Run Club with Fit from Home Club this week. Fit from Home Club aims to create a community where we can motivate, inspire and support each other, while celebrating the joy of participating in physical activity while working from home. It will take place in an online space (Google Classroom) where a range of physical activities will be available for all to access along with an activity planner. The activities available will range from home workouts, dance sessions, yoga practices, kickboxing, strength workouts, and much more. There is something for everyone in the Fit from Home Club. Participants will also be able to share their photos, videos and suitable resources on Google Classroom. You will receive an email invitation to join Fit from Home Club shortly.

Free access to Online Yoga Practices

The Down Dog App is currently offering the following programmes: Down Dog Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout - completely free until May 1st. Click on the button below to get started.

Music for the soul

As the world continues to advocate social distancing, many artists from across the globe have taken to the internet to ensure that fans still have access to live music. Ticketmaster are maintaining a comprehensive and regularly updated list of live-stream gigs happening across the globe - click on the button below to see what's happening now!

Join the Casual Choir Sofa Sessions

The Casual Choir usually meet fortnightly and the focus is all on fun - no auditions, no sheet music, no formal concerts. However, in the current environment of social distancing and self isolation, the choir can't meet as usual so MD Róisín Savage, is bringing the choir to you!

They will post videos online so you can learn your parts, you can record yourself, send the recordings in and they will magically put it altogether. It's all done from the comfort of your own home and you don’t even have to spend a penny! If you'd like to sign up, email casualchoir@gmail.com, or follow the Casual Choir on Facebook.

Coming next week ... guided art, more opportunities to move, meditate and connect, another delicious recipe and much, much more.

Tabhair Aire Duit Féin

The past few weeks have invited us to live and move and work in ways that we hadn't considered before. As we approach the holidays, take a moment to reflect on how much you have achieved or accomplished over the past few weeks, and how many people have benefitted from your support. Consider all of the little things that you are now more grateful for.

Enjoy the break, and take care!

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't. Thomas Edison

We welcome contributions to the Wellness at Work newsletter! If you have any suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact liamclohessy@pdst.ie or any member of the Primary Health and Wellbeing Team. For lots of resources you can use to support pupil wellbeing during school closures, visit www.pdst.ie/primary/healthwellbeing/distancelearning

Created By
Ciara Delaney


Created with images by Dawid Zawiła - "untitled image" • Jay Castor - "Pristine water lily" • Dustin Belt - "This was specifically shot for a mental health company called Brogliebox (www.brogliebox.com). I asked if i could have permission to share on unsplash, as I found the image to be very simple yet visually pleasing. " • Dan Gold - "w/ Platterz" • Sam Moqadam - "untitled image" • Djurdjica Boskovic - "untitled image" • Fabian Møller - "Breathe Amsterdam" • Bruno Nascimento - "untitled image" • Zen Bear Yoga - "Yoga in Yoga Studio on a Zen Bear Yoga Mat" • Vishnu R Nair - "The vibe" • Anna Kolosyuk - "untitled image" • Sage Friedman - "Let Peace Fill Your Body" • Brooke Lark - "Sometimes the very best breakfast eats are the simplest."