Five ways to fit more walking into your busy lifestyle.

May is National Walking Month, and with the weather getting brighter every week, it’s the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and try something new!

Ajuda always strive to promote a positive and healthy lifestyle for all of our customers, and hope we can inspire some of our blog readers along the way. This week we will be sharing some advice and tips on ways you can introduce more walking into your daily life, which is a great form of light exercise with plenty of benefits.

Regular walking is a great way to keep your lungs and heart healthy, along with building body strength and help with losing weight. Walking can also improve mental health by allowing you time and space to process your thoughts and enjoy some amazing scenery at the same time. Another positive is that walking is easy to do, and doesn’t require any special equipment or level of fitness before you begin.

Here are 5 ideas for fitting in a bit more waking into your daily routine. If we have inspired you, please take some time to read about our director Dawn’s amazing walking challenge for charity (more details at the end of the post).

1. Walking to work (or part of the way…)
Distance permitting, this one could be a great way to get started on your journey to fitness. Even if you walked for a few days out of the week rather than every day you would still feel the benefits of a regular walk and fresh air. If you live a little further away, you could try to get off the train or bus a few stops earlier, or park your car a short distance away from the office and walk the rest of the way.

2. Taking the stairs/long way
It’s always tempting to take the elevator up to the office in the morning, or to your next meeting. But these are easy steps that you’re missing out on every single day, which you can slot into your routine simply and regularly. The same can be said for any shortcuts – try taking the longer route and see how many extra steps you’ll fit in a day!

3. Walk to chat with a co-worker
The beauty of advancing technology is that we can speak to anyone, anywhere, with the press of a button. Perfect in some situations, but what about when the other person is simply a few doors away in another room? Rather than email them, why not get up from your desk and go and actually speak to them! Not only is this a great way of adding some walking into the day, verbal communication can also improve teamwork and understanding between staff members too.

4. Walking Meetings
The idea of walking meetings has likely been around for years, but has recently seen a big revival in popularity among office workers and managers. If little or no note taking is required during a meeting, and you feel the topic is suitable for the occasion, then taking the meeting during a walk could be the perfect way of combining work and exercise! You may even find that the meeting becomes more productive as a result, too.

5. Try walking as a get-together.

Trying to balance work life, home life, exercise, healthy eating and maintain a social life with friends seems almost impossible at times. If you are agreeing to that statement, then perhaps your friends are feeling the same way too.

Invite some friends for a walk on the weekend, as a form of meet-up. Instead of meeting at a restaurant, or bar where you’d usually meet, you could meet at the bottom of a mountain and take a walk up instead. You never know, it could end up becoming a regular plan among your friends!

Ajuda’s director, Dawn, loves walking and has set herself a massive challenge for this year – walking up Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Dawn is undertaking this difficult walk to raise money for ABF Soldiers’ Charity, which is very important to her. The walk will take place

You can donate to Dawn’s fantastic cause and follow her training progress here.

 

Spotting Workplace Mental Health Concerns In Your Staff

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (12th – 19th May), and Ajuda are passionate about promoting open conversation about mental health, and ensuring everyone has the access to the support and help they require in a time of need.

Facts:

  • In 2017/18 57% of working days lost were as a result of stress, anxiety or depression. (HSE 2018)
  • One in four adults in Wales will experience some form of mental health problem in a year (Mind)
  • Mental health problems are a major cause of disability for some people.

For this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at five signs that your staff may be struggling mentally or emotionally. These can be difficult to approach at times, but address feelings of stress and anxiety at the early stages is crucial to ensure your staff do not suffer more than they already are, and can have the best chance of a speedy recovery and return to the workforce when ready.

 

Absenteeism

When suffering with mental health issues, it can be hard for your employees to open up. If one of your staff members has suddenly begun to take extra sickness days, without a doctor’s note – this could be a signal they need time away from work to deal with some problems.

Decreased productivity/Lack of Cooperation

If you’ve noticed your staff member is more quiet than usual, and struggling to remain motivated at work when they are usually engaged, this suggests either something at home or work is causing them some worry.

Safety Problems   

If you’re in a workplace with some health and safety risks, and you notice a staff member acting recklessly around equipment, this shows signs of not caring about their health and future consequences. This can be considered a sign of depression – and should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure the safety of your workforce.

Alcohol and/or drug misuse

The increased use of drugs and alcohol is often a signal that an individual is trying to block out some feelings of anxiety and stress. If you have a feeling one of your staff are becoming reliant on drugs or alcohol, this could be the cause.

Frequent Complaints of tiredness

Depressions, stress and anxiety can not only cause a lack of sleep in some people, but also are a case of tiredness in general and low feelings of energy.

 

If you have noticed any of the above points within your staff members recently, it may be a sign that they are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue that needs to be addressed.

One of the easiest ways to begin tackling these issues – it’s best to talk! Having an open conversation with your staff about their mental wellbeing, and making it clear that your workplace is a zone where these things can be discussed, is a fantastic first step in the right direction.

Other ideas to make the member of staff feel supported are to keep up to date with the member of staff with regular relaxed meetings, planning some social occasions such as a team-building nights and inviting the member of staff. You can also look at ways of relieving their workload for the time being to allow them some space to recover, or look into potential counselling if you feel this the appropriate action.

If you are unsure of how to approach the initial conversation, please take time to read some of our links below which provide advice on approaching the topic with your staff member. You wouldn’t tug on a broken arm, so the same caution should be applied when dealing with a mental health worry.

Ajuda offer our own Mental Health First Aid (Wales) training course, which provides attendees with the knowledge to spot the early sign of a mental health problem, along with the confidence and skills to support individuals who are suffering on a “First Aid” basis.

We offer this course on a monthly basis at the Cardiff Bay training centre, but we can we can bring the training to your workplace if the dates suitable for you at our training centre (for groups of 12 people).

Our next upcoming Mental Health First Aid (Wales) training courses in Cardiff Bay are…

23 & 24 May

27 & 28 June

25 & 26 July

22 & 23 August

Please follow this link to book yourself in to our training course. To enquire about our Mental Health First Aid (Wales) corse, or any other courses we offer, contact us on 02920 576883 or email admin@ajuda.org.uk

 

Mental Health Support Links

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/talking-about-mental-health

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/police/supporting-a-colleague-with-a-mental-health-problem-police/talking-about-mental-health/#.XNiV0vZFyhc

https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/workplace-mental-health/supporting-employees-mental-health/talking-about-mental-health-problems

https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-blog/talking-change-childrens-mental-health-week

 

Ajuda offer accessible training courses for disabilities and learning impairments.

Ajuda Training Services pride ourselves on our inclusion, adaptability & resourcefulness, which we display in many aspects of our company values. Another of these values is the belief that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to develop their skills, no matter their difficulties.  

Deaf Awareness Week is this week (6th – 12th May), and aims to promote the positive aspects of deafness, promote social inclusion and raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.

As with other awareness campaigns, the team at Ajuda take some time to highlight the challenges that people with disabilities face every day, and consider ways we can help to improve the lives of those who do struggle with these conditions. Providing as many accessible training courses and accessibility options as we can is a step we are committed to taking.  

Last week Ajuda, with the aid of an interpreter, taught a Emergency First Aid at Work course for Pontypridd Deaf Society. The group had a great day, and took a lot of valuable life saving information from the course. We can’t wait to visit them again! Below is a video of the course taking place: 

Ajuda can offer our wide variety of courses in British Sign Language, including our Emergency First Aid at Work,  Basic Life Saving and Mental Health First Aid (and many more) with the help of an interpreter. This allows us to train many learners who suffer with deafness or limited hearing, and provide them the opportunity to gain further qualifications as a result. These courses are available in groups of 12, and can be arranged on a day suitable to you and your organisation.

Ajuda can also offer accessible training options for individuals who have limited sight, by providing the student with large print resources and examination papers. One of our trainers can also travel to a setting of choice to accommodate for a group of students in an environment where they would feel more comfortable and secure.   

The team are dedicated to extending our variety of accessible training courses, and are always looking to do more. If you have a specific need or requirement in order to take part in one of our courses, please get in touch today and we will do our best to provide for these. If you are a group or organisation who feel they could work with us to help us provide a wider variety of accessible training courses, please get in touch!

To learn more about what we can offer, please call Rachel in the Ajuda office on 02920 576833 or email rachel@ajuda.org.uk