Where do you work and what is your role at the organisation?
I work at the Royal Society for Public Health. I am Senior Policy and Communications Executive in the External Affairs team.
When did you do the RSPH Level 2 Understanding Health Improvement course to become a Health Champion?
I have been a Health Champion for almost one year, but I only did the UHI course last month – it has really helped me better understand my role as a Health Champion.
What made you want to train to become a Health Champion?
I wanted to train to become a Health Champion because I wanted to practice what I preach. My job at RSPH involves advocating for policy change to improve health and wellbeing, and I like the idea that being a Health Champion means I can bring about small changes to benefit my own health and wellbeing, along with the health and wellbeing of family, friends, and my colleagues. It makes my work feel more genuine.
What were some of the key learnings you took away from the training?
A key lesson I took from the training was how to go about communicating with people about their health. It can be difficult to have conversations about our own health and wellbeing, but I now have some useful techniques to use to make those discussions productive and as beneficial as possible.
What kind of things have you and your Health Champion team put in place to improve the health and wellbeing of your colleagues?
When we all started working from home in response to the pandemic, our Health Champions team put in place a weekly video call for all staff to join if they wanted to. We also provided all staff with a document of tips for working from home and for looking after their mental health and wellbeing while spending more time at home during what was a stressful and anxious period for many.
What impact do you think having Health Champions have had on people’s health and wellbeing?
We surveyed staff a few months into working from home to ask how we can continue to support them and we received positive feedback about the team calls and the list of tips we sent to everyone at the start of the pandemic. We’ve had staff members thank us for providing an opportunity to switch off from work during the day and connect with staff that they might not normally get to speak to in their role.
Is there anything you’d like to do in the future with your role as a Health Champion?
As we look to be set to work from home for the foreseeable future I’d like to do more social activities with colleagues, because that is what we have lost from not being in the office together. Being able to socialise with colleagues is a positive aspect of work for many people, and can help improve mental health, wellbeing and motivation. As we approach Christmas I think we might see the return of Zoom quizzes and virtual social events!
What do you do to take care of your own health and wellbeing?
I feel at my best when I look after my physical health, so for me that means being active – running, yoga and cycling are all regular activities I do in my free time. I’ve also recently got into crochet, which I find really good for totally occupying and focusing my mind – I can’t get distracted or I’ll mess up! It also feels good to learn a new skill and to produce something useful at the end of the process.