Wellness at Work PDST Wellbeing Newsletter #10

Welcome to the tenth edition of the PDST Wellness at Work newsletter, designed to support your wellbeing while working from home. This week we invite you remember that this is a rare moment in time, and it too, shall pass. Reconnect with your personal history and discover why a sense of culture, identity and place is good for your wellbeing and happiness.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in one drop - Rumi

connecting to your history

Studies have consistently found robust correlations between positive affiliation and engagement with our culture and wellbeing and resilience. Developing a distinct identity and crafting a sense of purpose are key elements in fostering continued healthy development and psychological ease. Collective and cultural memory helps us to find our place in larger temporal and social contexts and situates us in our community and in the world. The following links, resources and activities will help you to discover your own story. Celebrate who you are, where you've come from, the history of your locality, the histories of your neighbours and loved ones. Connect with each other through our shared and learned histories.

The gift of Storytelling

To be a person is to have a story to tell. We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.

Listen to Nan Delaney's story, told through the letters of her children. This RTE documentary, also available on the RTE Documentary on One app, is about the contents of a box of letters which is an archive of a life, as well as a window into a world from a child’s point of view in 1962, where the distance between a rural village and Peamount Hospital feels a million miles away, and where this small part of Ireland is the centre of a child’s world.

Delve into the Dúchas Schools Collection to discover manuscripts written by your relatives, or your community members, nearly 100 years ago. Admire the stories they tell, articulated in delightful handwriting. Beware, you may get lost in time perusing these! I discovered one penned by my Grand Aunt, Lizzie Kearns:

Follow Old Ireland in Colour on Twitter. For centuries, the hues of Ireland have been lost to time. NUI Galway professor John Breslin has been bringing them to life through colourisation. You won't believe your eyes!

discover your family history

There has never been a better time to research Irish family history. A revolution in access to Irish genealogical records has taken place over the past decade. Ireland has become one of the world leaders in providing online record transcripts.

10 tips to kickstart your family history journey
  1. Start with what you know. It's all about family. Any detail can help!
  2. Has someone in your family already started? There might be a list of names and dates somewhere or even a scrapbook or a diary hidden in the attic. Family bibles, old photographs or memento boxes can all tell detailed stories about your family.
  3. Create a paper trail. Birth and baptismal certificates, marriage licences and death notices are all basic documents that can give you that framework. Official certificates of life events can also give extra information like the professions and names of parents or next of kin.
  4. Follow genealogy's golden rules: Be flexible with spellings and dates, cast the net wide to begin with and make sure your facts add up: focus on the right person by cross-referencing with other facts and family members and be patient. If you don’t find something initially, keep trying!
  5. Pick a starting point. Search one story at a time rather than try to tackle the whole family tree at once.
  6. Begin with the basics - birth, marriage and death rates. Then delve into passenger lists, criminal records, military archives, school records and newspaper archives!
  7. Keep everything organised. Family trees can grow quickly. Keeping everything organised right from the getgo can save hours.
  8. Search censuses. Census records will be one of the most useful resources you use as you explore your past. As well as providing you with useful information for your family tree, they often reveal entire branches of your family tree in one single record.
  9. Read old news. Apart from finding your ancestors in articles, you could also spot them listed in birth, marriage or death announcements, public subscriptions or business adverts.
  10. Reach out! Join a family history society or connect with like-minded researchers in online communities. You never know, you may even meet some distant cousins.

The following websites will support you on this exciting, fulfilling, and often surprising journey!


While it can be challenging to be limited to a 5km radius during this stage of the Covid 19 Crisis, it is also an opportunity to connect with the history and heritage that surrounds us where we live. While getting out and about for our all important daily exercise this historic environment viewer map from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is great way to plan your walks around places of historical interest and learn a bit about the history of your immediate surroundings. It also works on smartphones so can be a great companion as you stumble across architecture or monuments that stimulate your curiosity.

Greet your neighbours (from two metres away, of course). Instead of talking about the weather, ask them to share a story, a moment or an experience from their life that changed how they viewed the world. Who knows, this moment in time might be one you look back on in years to come for the very same reason!

Listen to the History of Ireland Podcast or the Hedge School round-table discussions from History Ireland.

FUN genealogy activities for the whole family

Write down your own history, so far. Future generations will thank you for it! There are lots of guided journals that you can use to help you, here are some that might be available from your local bookstore:

  1. Stories for My Child - A journal of memories from your mother, Samantha Hahn
  2. Letters to my Future Self / Love / Friend / Son / Daughter / etc, Lea Redmond
  3. Stories for My Grandchild - A Grandmother's Journal, Honey Good
  4. My Life and Times - A guided journal for collecting your stories, Sunny Morton
  5. A Lifetime of Memories, David Hough
  6. The Book of Myself - A do-it-yourself autobiography in 201 questions, Carl Marshall

Start the conversation. Begin asking questions, now, before it's too late. It's never been easier to record your loved ones' stories, you have access to a dictaphone on your mobile device. Click here for a list of 30 questions that you could ask.

Create a Time Capsule. Time capsules are fun to make, and even more, fun to open years down the line. A time capsule can be any container that holds objects meant for people to open in the future, whether that be in 5, 10, or even 100 years. A good time capsule will hold its contents safely, preserving them for a future version of yourself, your grandchildren, or even a stranger. Click here for tips.

Telling Tales. In addition to reading stories with little ones at home, try making up your own stories, based on imaginary characters living in your local area. Or tell stories about the adventures you went on as a child. Your life is important, and your stories are important. Click here to learn more about how to become a great storyteller.

“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” — Leo Tolstoy

This one may sound obvious... print your photos! Invest in a good old fashioned photo album, or create one online. Over the years, photos pile up on our mobile devices until it becomes too overwhelming to sift through them all. Do your future self a favour and print them now. Photos displayed in your home also make great conversation starters, and invite opportunities for you to share your story. A picture paints a thousand words.

Huge thanks to PDST History advisors donal, cormac, eimear and elaine, The primary health and wellbeing advisors, and other collaborators for their contributions on this theme
A family is like the branches of a tree, we may grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.

marion's Honey & Mustard Glazed Smoked Ham with Stir-fried Ginger infused Cabbage

This is a posh version of traditional bacon and cabbage. Once you try it you will never settle for the ordinary boiled version again!!

INgredients - HAM
  1. Joint of smoked ham (horseshoe gammon works well)
  2. 1 onion
  3. 6 or 8 cloves
ingredients - glaze
  1. Juice of one orange
  2. 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  3. 1 tbsp honey
  4. 3 tbsp brown sugar
ingredients - cabbage
  1. 1 small head of savoy cabbage shredded
  2. I knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  3. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  4. 200ml water
  5. A good tbsp. butter
  6. Salt and pepper
  1. Place the piece of ham in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Add a halved onion and some cloves.
  3. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender.
  4. Remove from saucepan, trim off outer fat and score the remaining fat in a crosshatch pattern. Insert some cloves in the diamond pattern.
  5. Blend the orange juice, mustard and honey together and baste the ham.
  6. Sprinkle with the some brown sugar.
  7. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes until the glaze has caramelized and darkened.
  8. For the cabbage: Place all ingredients in a frying pan or wok and cover with a lid. Cook over gentle heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 mins.

genevieve's TIRAMISU

This creamy delight will serve 12 people - due to social distancing and travel restrictions, you may have to eat all 12 portions yourself!

  1. 4 egg yolks
  2. 4 tbsp of caster sugar
  3. A few drops of vanilla essence
  4. 500g of mascarpone cheese
  5. 200ml of strong black coffee
  6. 4 tbsp of Tia Maria
  7. 2 tbsp of brandy
  8. 300g of chocolate chip cookies (or sponge fingers)
  9. 1 tbsp of cocoa powder ( 2 tablespoons of grated dark chocolate optional)
  1. Mix together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, beating with a wooden spoon until they are creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla essence and fold in the mascarpone. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
  3. Make the strong black coffee in a jug or cafetière, then mix with the Tia Maria and brandy in a bowl. Quickly dip the chocolate chip cookies (sponge fingers) in the coffee mixture. They should absorb just enough liquid to flavour them without going soggy and falling apart.
  4. Arrange some of the biscuits in the base of a large glass serving bowl or eight individual serving dishes. Cover with a layer of the mascarpone mixture.
  5. Alternate layers of biscuits and mascarpone finished with the top layer of mascarpone.
  6. Sift the cocoa over the top, then chill in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours or until set. The flavour improves if left in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!


Have you been feeling the burden of too much desk time in your back, neck and shoulders? Sneak some yoga into your office! Because you are worth it – and we know the tools of yoga are powerful and sometimes quite simple. This sequence is ideal for those of you who need to take a short yoga break or for those who are in healing and want to practice a little bit of opening with the support of a chair. Practice a little bit of energetic, deep breathing! Open your heart, your shoulders and relieve tension.


Greetings from all in Fit from Home!

This week we are sharing N.E.A.T. with you (non exercise activity thermogenesis). We will explore the benefits N.E.A.T can bring to our bodies and how to incorporate more N.E.A.T. into our daily routine.

Also this week, Fit from Home features the 'Stages of Running' guide written by running coach Evan Scully.

We greatly welcome suggestions for suitable ideas, activities and feedback on Fit from Home.

New members are always welcome, to join simply use the log in code (ttfewb3) on Google Classroom. You can access the activities in the Classroom at any time that suits you, and we add lots more every week. Come and check it out to see for yourself!

Contact Mags and Kate: margaretfoley@pdst.ie kateoneill@pdst.ie

No access to your gym or training grounds? No problem! Irish National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB's) and their athletes have been busy creating resources to help you stay active and stay healthy from home. Click here to access regularly updated activities, resources, advice, ideas and support.

Join the Special Olympics Together at Home programme each week for a new workout or tips to help you to stay healthy and connected at home. Everyone can benefit from these resources which focus on fitness, health promotion, mental health and young athletes. Follow these short School of Strength videos five times per week to keep your fitness up at home!

The Book Nook

Brought to you by the PDST Literacy Team


It is undeniable that this pandemic has been an extremely challenging, worrying and unprecedented time for all of us. For many, it has also been a voyage of self discovery, an opportunity for us to learn new skills and for us to appreciate what is truly important in all of our lives.

Robert Frost describes poetry as ‘a reaching out forward expression, an effort to find fulfillment’. For that reason, the PDST Book Corner recommends spending some time this week indulging in your favourite poets and poems. To get you started, we would like to share one of our favourite poems. It is written by Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who is a retired principal of a primary school in Co. Kerry. As restrictions begin to ease, and some level of normality begins to return, we hope that this will act as a gentle reminder to continue to cherish all that is dear to us and to hold on to some of the important lessons we have learned during this time.

Just to Be Beside You is Enough by Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Just to be beside you is enough,

Just to make your breakfast tea and toast,

To help you with the ware, that kind of stuff,

Just to get the papers and your post;

To hold you in my arms in calm embrace,

Just to sit beside you at the fire,

Just to trace my fingers on your face

Is more to me than all of youth’s desire;

Just to lie beside you in the night,

To hear you breathe in peace before I sleep,

To wake beside you in the morning light

In the love we sowed together that we reap.

Together we have taken smooth and rough.

Just to be beside you is enough.

Do you write poetry? Would you like to share your work with us? We can connect across the miles through words, imagery and story. Send your poems to ciaradelaney@pdst.ie, thank you.

sprinkle positivity wherever you go, you never know who might need it...

Thank you to everyone that shared these gorgeous photos with us.


We usually put more into getting an object or experience than we do into appreciating it when we have it. Appreciation isn't just a nice idea... it's a way of getting more out of your life. To appreciate something you have to pause and take it in. That's why appreciation makes a good mindfulness practice. Yet we race by... ignoring the good things in our lives. Is this down to our obsession with phones and other gadgets? No, it's not just an outcome of living in our busy, distracted era: the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that most people run after pleasure so quickly they rush past it - and he was born in 1813.

Practice: Wander around the space in which you live or work. Try to become aware of anything in it that you can appreciate. Then give a few moments to appreciating it. Remember, the key is that to appreciate, you have to pause and take in what you normally pass by.

From Daily Calm - 100 daily reminders to help you build the mindfulness habit, by Padraig O'Morain. For daily mindfulness reminders and mindfulness ideas, you can sign up to Padraig's newsletter The Daily Bell.

share your world

There is magic on your doorstep! This week, your fantastic photos are shared from all corners of our beautiful country - Ballybunion, Lucan, Knockma, Monaincha, Inch Beach, Celbridge, Shackleton's Mill and Milltown. Thank you!

Keep in touch

Fancy a cuppa before the Bank Holiday weekend? Join us for an informal get together with some fun and games this Friday at a time of you choice. Click here to register your interest! Bring along your favorite book, movie, Netflix or Podcast recommendations to share.

remember to Take care of yourself

While we recognise the importance of appreciating all of the good things that have emerged over the last 10 weeks, it is also important to accept that this is a challenging and worrying time for all of us, which we are experiencing in different ways. It can be difficult to remember to be kind to yourself, and to look after your emotional wellbeing.

Samaritans Ireland have launched a new Self-Help app that offers people practical ways to cope and stay safe if they are going through a difficult time. Keep track of how you're feeling, and get recommendations for things you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis. The app aims to provide a means of accessing support for people who may struggle to use Samaritans’ listening service, or who may find it difficult to express how they are feeling when talking to someone.

As well as launching the new app, the Samaritans have also created new online resources for people who are supporting someone who may be struggling. The resources include practical ways for people to look after themselves when they are supporting others.

You are a rare gem, an exclusive, limited edition. There is only one of you. You are more magnificent than you will ever truly know!

we love hearing from you

Did you discover something interesting in your family tree? Let us know! Send us your suggestions and wellbeing tips, and share your experiences with us by contacting any member of the Primary Health and Wellbeing Team here. Remember, you can find all previous editions of the Wellness at Work Newsletter on the Teacher Wellbeing section of the PDST website. Tabhair Aire.

Created By
Ciara Delaney


Created with images by Dawid Zawiła - "untitled image" • Clarisse Meyer - "Book case of old books." • Cheryl Winn-Boujnida - "untitled image" • Dariusz Sankowski - "Adventuring flatlay" • Harli Marten - "Pink sunset couple" • Johann Siemens - "Tree in green wheat field" • Julie MARTINS - "Dessert Speculoos Biscuits with black spoon on slate lay" • Aziz Acharki - "happy moment" • Allie - "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Poem by Mary Oliver" • Everton Vila - "Don’t let go" • Aaron Burden - "Writing with a fountain pen" • Cristian Escobar - "untitled image"