35 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Episode 41 - What we Learned from it all - Stress Inoculation
As Lockdown restrictions are eased across the UK, Professors Koch & Jackson begin to wind down the Living thru Lockdown podcast. In this episode they look back over the course of the Pandemic and lockdown, and review what aspects of ourselves and our families may have changed for the better or worse, as lockdown has been a period of reflection and re-evaluation for many of us. Taking the principle of "Stress Inoculation" - the concept of how awareness of tough times can help to make people more resilient and hardy in the face of adversity - they discuss the changes we have witnessed to everyday life and the potential impacts these changes may lead to for any possible third wave, another lockdown, or any future pandemics....
23 minutes | May 25, 2021
Episode 40 - What We Got Wrong in Lockdown?
As Lockdown restrictions are eased across the UK, Professors Koch & Jackson begin to wind down the Living thru Lockdown podcast. In this episode they think about some of the negative aspects of the lockdown, and try to see what things we got wrong when responding to the advice we received. In the UK we panic-bought and cleared supermarket shelves of basic products. meanwhile, the US saw record levels of firearms sales because of the pandemic. What areas did we 'fail' at as citizens.Did we over-trust the advice of the government and scientific advisors? Were we too trusting and not as critical as we should have been? Did we understand the messaging we were being given? Were we guilty of seeing Covid-19 as a "foreign problem" like we did with SARS, and reacting far too slowly? We perhaps all cherry-picked the differing and contradictory advice that suited our own agendas.In the early stages of the lockdown, large-scale horse racing meetings and rock concerts still went ahead, leading to suer-spreaders and hot-spots of covid infection. Much discussion was made of "herd immunity". In the early-days of the pandemic, our covid-secure behaviour was not as good as it should have been, but that began to change once we acquired the worst Covid-19-mortality rate in Europe.
19 minutes | May 25, 2021
Episode 39 - What We Got Right in Lockdown
As Lockdown restrictions are eased across the UK, Professors Koch & Jackson begin to wind down the Living thru Lockdown podcast. In this episode they think about some of the positive aspects of the lockdown, and try to see what we got right as citizens when responding to the advice we received. Despite the 127,000 deaths in the UK associated with Covid-19 and one of the highest mortality rates in the world, some aspects of the campaign against Covid-19 worked well, and that is due to people doing the right thing.We showed ourselves to be resilient and good at coping with the restrictions and changes to our daily life - perhaps more so than we thought we would be. Things were not as doom-laden as some experts told us they would be. We have become better at coping with our mental health concerns as well as being more sympathetic to others' concerns and difficult situations. Deaths of despair, and the UK suicide rate was significantly reduced in 2020 relative to 2019 (although the ONS point out that there may be a severe administrative delay behind such a drop in suicidal deaths and this remains to be seen). More of us have become aware of health inequality issues and have become determined to address it. We have also seen a growth of interest among young people wanting to develop careers in medicine, healthcare, and the safety industries. When restrictions are lifted completely, we will see which positive aspects of human behaviour may continue to exist beyond the lockdown. Adaptability to circumstance seems to be a key component among those people who coped best during lockdown.
21 minutes | May 9, 2021
Return to Campus Special Edition 5 - Fatigue & Tiredness
Return to Campus Special Edition 5Fatigue and TirednessCONCERNS"I worry about my ability to go the distance on a full day of work.""Ive been feeling tired during most of the day and have got used to having afternoon naps at home. What if I need naps at work?""My sleep pattern still does not feel quite right and I worry my tiredness at work will be a problem.""Since lockdown my body has felt ten years older and I feel like I might have long-covid. How does this get managed at work?"PROBLEMS Concern about tiredness and overload when back on campus Managing vague symptoms that worry you Not lasting a whole day of working With commuting on top of working it may be too tiring Quality of my work may suffer Performance will be poorer while tired My manager might not understand my tiredness How long will this all last? Could I have long covid? 10. What do I do?TIPSUnderstand how the return to campus may affect you physically & mentally (tiredness, overload, ‘running out of steam”)Understand how physical symptoms and emotions are linked (e.g. we notice more aches and pains when we are tired or distressed)Fatigue cannot be “outrun” and will catch up with all of usInitially pace your activity with goals and aim for some gradual increases You are the best judge of your own energy / fatigue levelsPhysical fatigue and psychological fatigue are linked - be aware of each of them in your bodyNobody is yet sure about long covid and the clinical picture of how it manifests and what makes some vulnerable more than othersTake a rational approach to your symptoms and keep a diary / log if it helps make sense of thingsMeasure your fatigue with self-completion scales (eg the Chalder Fatigue Scale)Talk to line managers about tiredness and flexible workingSet small goals and gradually increase themPace yourself, use rest periods sensiblyRelax every couple of hours.Even 10-12 minutes of rest and sitting down can be restorativeTake regular short breaks but often (every hour)Set manageable goals for your workloadIf possible take power naps / more rests during the dayTry to make sure your sleep routine is working, and make changes if notGood sleep hygiene can include baths, relaxing, a soothing bedroom, aromatherapy, visualisationDo not rely on alcohol or medication to help sleepUse relaxation to help stay calmRemember you can access tests, Gp advice and advice from HRMiscellaneous - things you were afraid to askTell yourself things are improving and will continue to do soSee your GP if fatigue levels persistThe University can provide guidance on fatigue management via the Employee Assistance ProgrammeSeek out occupational health assessments to help keep you fit in workIf commuter driving make sure you are fit and rested enough to driveSome tiredness may be expected while we change our working routines, but check excessive fatigue and tiredness with your GP
20 minutes | May 9, 2021
Return to Campus Special Edition 4 - Being Away from Home
Return to Campus Special Edition 4Being Away from HomeCONCERNS"Caring responsibilities (whether caring for more elderly/clinically vulnerable family members or with young children).""My dog has had me at home 24/7 for a year and I am really worried how he will be when he is left.""I would like as much notice as possible before returning so that I can start to prepare my family.""I’m also anxious full stop regarding going out again anywhere to be honest, speaking to people the whole lot. Dreading it."PROBLEMS I’ve not had the vaccine - should I stay working at home? I am living with someone classed as extremely clinically vulnerable Concerns about travel complexity (crowds, timetable etc) Concerns about the “New Way of Working” - what will it be? Feeling alone and a bit helpless Caring responsibilities /vulnerable family Being separated from pets Anxiety about safety and hygiene at University General feeling of dread of the unknown: ‘negative anticipation’TIPSThe University Management Group say no distinction is being made between having a vaccine or notEveryone is advised to observe the safety measures put in placeThe University will consider individual situations and concerns on a case-by-case basis, please liaise with your line manager and seek advice from HR. Phased returns tow office working are anticipated as the normalTake small steps being away from home for longer each time. Increase small steps away from home by 30mins each time if feeling OKConsider online familiarisation / orientations days Make use of the Employee Assistance ProgramArrange to meet friends and travel together if possibleDiscuss new forms of working and phasing back to campus line managersAnticipate having hand sanitiser and spare masks to handThink positively about this new schedule and format of workingPlan travel arrangements as best as possible is keyTalk to other people: line managers, friends or colleagues, and share concernsShare your feelings with at least one other person (face to face or by telephone)Remember the almost everyone is feeling a bit unsettled at this timeThe Humane Society and RSPCA have info about leaving pets at home when returning to work
21 minutes | May 5, 2021
Return to Campus Special Edition 3 - Re-starting Social Contacts
Return to Campus Special Edition 3Re-starting Social ContactsCONCERNS"I have become quite accustomed to working in a very quiet environment and think it will take some adjusting to working in a room with others again.""Work will take some adjusting to, especially work that requires concentration when we might be distracted by people catching up with each other. Will we be able to get work done?""Over lockdown I have gained weight and feel my appearance is a little embarrassing compared with how I looked before. ""I am worried about being judged by others and office cliques starting up."PROBLEMSWorking with one or more people on campusProximity to others who may not abide by rulesSocial anxiety in general about so many people all aroundLunchtimes might have more sociable expectations than beforeTIPSTalk to line managers and raise any worries or concerns you may haveDiscuss social distancing in university with colleagues and line managersUse the Employee Assistance Programme if neededSay something to others who don’t protect themselves and others.Use the Report & Support action line if need to report unkind behaviourReport & Support can be used anonymously if preferred reportandsupport.bcu.ac.ukBe confident in your ability to be more confident on a supportive campusReturn to feeling more socially confident at your own speedDiscuss worrying travel arrangements with colleagues or managerIt’s ok to say something to others who don’t protect themselves or who break covid security on campusManage your space and also expect others to do so tooFeel positive about politely saying something to others who get too closeRelax when you can through the day and do it often (eg tea-breaks; visualisation at your desk; stretching legs, or focusing on calmness)
24 minutes | May 4, 2021
Return to Campus Special Edition 2 - Being Back on Campus
Return to Campus Special Edition 2Being Back on CampusCONCERNS"When back on campus, I am concerned if we are told we only need to go in so many days a week, then I presume hot-desking will be encouraged, (rather than going back to our static desks). I suppose my concern there would be health and hygiene.""How clean is the desk I am going to sit at… has the person before me cleaned it before they left? Do I have to clean it before I use it?""Additional to that, how will everyone be able to work with ventilation when most offices in Curzon don’t have windows?""I guess one of my biggest concerns about returning to site is losing time with physical meetings. I have found it much easier to multi-task, dedicate more time to my team and attend and fully engage in more meetings when at home.""From a selfish and very honest point of view, I have also enjoyed eating a proper lunch and dinner without worrying about needing to sit in a meeting room for two hours."PROBLEMSManaging our physical environment on returning to campus General anxiety about returning Covid-age concernsDifficult transition from home to work. e.g. noise, crowds, privacyGeneral anxiety about the unknownChanging from home-eating to work-eatingAnxiety about eating around others againAdjusting to eating potentially in public with othersTIPSSome anxiety about returning to work after 1 year away is normalUse online familiarisation / orientations (iCity and from HR)Clean own desk and related surfaces if it helpsManage ventilation in office - open windows whenever possibleShared workspaces (offices) addressed on individual basis Spreading out and agree office occupancy among staffEngineers have declared rooms as safe: those not safe are out of boundsHR advise anyone who is Extremely Clinically Vulnerable (ECV) to not attend campusIf an individual has Covid Age score of 80+, they should not be attending campusA Covid Age of 70+ needs to be considered by the line manager and HR on an individual basisIf concerned about a change to their circumstances, retake the Covid Age Assessment toolHR advised any individual cases should be discussed with the line manager / HR Business Partner.Engineers have declared all safe rooms as safe - and those not safe are out of boundsStaff and students authorised to come onto campus are encouraged to take 2 rapid Covid-19 tests per week to help prevent asymptomatic transmissionDo not come to campus solely to take a rapid Covid-19 test.If authorised to attend throughout the week it is recommended to be tested twice per week while on siteIf onsite just once a week, 1 rapid Covid-19 test will be sufficientFrom 17th May, home-testing packs can be collected from campus for some staffUse any nerves to your advantage to keep you alertUse the Employee Assistance Programme to your advantageYou are the best judge of what you feel safe and comfortable doingRemember to keep in contact with your line managerStaff can have their lunch at their designated workstation in their designated office (keeping the required social distancing at all times where single occupancy is not achievable)The BCU-branded face coverings meet the 3-ply requirement. Plan eating arrangements and where to eat (your desk / outdoors)Bring your own disposable utensils and cups if preferred - catering outlets encourage this
16 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Return to Campus Special Edition 1 - Transport Anxiety
Return to Campus Special Edition 1 Transport Anxieties CONCERNS “I am anxious about having to start catching the train again and waiting with crowds of people on platforms etc.”"I think the main concerns do surround the commute to work (especially when using public transport)."“I normally travel by train and could usually get into work in the morning without any problems but returning home in the afternoon was a different story…. for two days I was in that week my train or trains in the afternoon were usually cancelled which meant I had to get the bus home.”"On the one occasion when all trains were cancelled because of an accident, all travellers had to use the bus. On that day the bus driver kept letting people get on the bus so that people were standing in the central isle between the seats.""In short, my main concern is that we are asked to return to work whilst public transport is not operating a full time table. This could result in overcrowding of the transport that is available.""My concern is around public transport , I haven’t been on a train for a year and can’t ever imagine travelling on “sardine trains” at busy times or when problems occur causing trains to be jam packed maybe this can in part be addressed with flexibility in working hours when in the office ?"PROBLEMSUnreliable travel timetables (bus, train) inc. cancellations.Crowded trains and busesUnexpected events that can’t be controlled ergo forced onto busesWaiting on crowded platforms and bus stopsUnreliable time keeping - family commitments / work responsibilitiesWorry and anxiety of the above happeningTIPSUniversity of course will not be able to influence public transport arrangements or timetables. There is no punitive actions for staff who are travel delayedThe University wants all colleagues to work productively to provide a valuable contribution.Number of practical steps and psychological tools could helpPlan journey time and explore timings ahead. Avoid peak times if possibleKeep socially distanced and masked as best you canFactor in a window for travel delaysCommunicating potential problems is essential - Make sure your manager knows beforehand if any problems are anticipatedMake sure that, if you have any concerns about being able to get to BCU on time that you let your manager know. Accept there will be unplanned events that nobody can controlManagers need to understand the issue preventing returning to work on campus and colleagues need to recognise that they can propose workable solutions. Get regular updates on travel situations (use apps & web)Approach travel journey positively - use visualisation to help10. Mitigate and control what bits you are able to
21 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Episode 33 - A Big Night Out
We're told that bars and restaurants could soon be opening up for outdoor customers. Some people will find this a welcome aide to their social life and well-being, while others may find this all too reminiscent of the 'Eat Out To help Out' mistake in 2020, and have reservations about going out so soon.Professors Koch & Jackson look how keeping hospitality venues, bars and restaurants open will help most people's wellbeing and the reacclimatising process. Here are a few tips on how to keep venues afloat and how we can do so while feeling that our covid-security will not be compromised.And remember if we all tip a little, it will add up to a lot.And don't shovel your peas . . .
30 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Episode 32 - Before you unlock, think!
As lockdown restrictions are due to be gradually released, bit by bit, we need to find a way for each person to unlock comfortably but without slipping back into behaviours that may be covid-unsafe. Some people are anxious about being "forced" back to normal life when they may not be ready for it. Professors Koch & Jackson explore some areas we might wan to think about before we prepare for our own unlocking and how to reduce the worries we may have.Control what can be controlledPace yourself (go at your own speed)Vary your routines (push yourself if you feel ok)Build up your toleranceLook after your own wellbeingFocus on the positives and gainsTake care of your family when you canIt is important to acknowledge that worries about lockdown easing are reasonable and understandable despite the positive direction we are going in. We need to build up our confidence and tolerance to get through these worries and keep on target.
20 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Episode 31 - Four Key Tips to Keep Relationships Going
We're trying to find a way to keep relationships going and healthy. We're under stress and strain and we need to keep relationships going more than ever before, both at work and at home. Do we find ourselves backing away from tackling difficulties or potential conflicts in relationships because of Lockdown? Being forced to spend more time together and to work together more intensely, we may get short-tempered, frustrated and perhaps even intolerant of others. Professors Koch & Jackson explore some small things to think about within both our personal and professional relationships that may help:Try to do something kind or compassionateAppreciation of each others' actionsMaking comments in non-critical and non-judgemental waysDon't expect perfection from yourself or othersWe can all think a bit more and be more "intentional" in our relating to others - not all the time, but when we need to be. Thinking about our thinking, and then changing our behaviour for the better if we need to can always help when relating to others.
27 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Episode 30 - Visualisation of our Happy Places and Sanctuaries
In Enid Blyton’s well-loved book ‘Faraway Tree’, the imaginary Lands at the top of the tree change frequently. One of the more relevant ones in the context of COVID-19, was the Land of Topsy Turvy – homes are upside down as are trees with roots in the air and people walk upside down too. Our personal and working lives are topsy-turvy and, at worst, very upsetting, distressing and worrying. Over the past 11 months, we have been fearful of getting infected by COVID-19, and worried about and frustrated with our economic circumstances, and reductions in the quality of our livesDiscovering ‘sanctuary’ is a very positive technique, lasting from 5 seconds to as long as we want it to. Visualising sanctuary and happy places uses one’s own experience from the past to visualise a safe and happy place where one can go in one’s imagination – a sunny beach, a babbling stream, a childhood room, an affectionate friend. Every ‘sanctuary image’ is unique. One can always return and enjoy its calm, beauty and peacefulness whenever it is needed. Professors Koch and Jackson outline techniques to help us use visualisation in our working days as a tool and technique to help us keep calm, stay happy and keep going mentally, and see how we can tailor our own happy places to create calming visual imagery to help us.
22 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Episode 29 - As strong as an Ox!
Trying to maintain our robustness or to increase our ability to cope with the continued lockdown is proving to be a challenge for many of us. We have a small number of simple techniques that help integrate working life with our home lives in order to help our robustness. Vitality. Positivity. Connectivity. Mobility.Professors Koch and Jackson outline 4 techniques and small changes we can make that can improve our sleeping, waking, working and interactions.Vitality in the morningPositivity in reflectionsConnectivity with othersMobility of our bodies
29 minutes | Feb 7, 2021
Episode 28 - Keep your home-working healthy - 7 tips
Lockdown 3 is well underway and is different from the previous two stay at home episodes. Many people who are home-working again may also be having the additional pressures of extended home-schooling and continuing worries about themselves or family & friends. The poor working habits people got into previously may now be having cumulative effects and manifesting in aches, pains, or other symptoms and discomfort. Professors Koch and Jackson outline 7 key aspects we should all consider in order to make sure we stay healthy while enforced home-working continues. These are important things to address.Good posture and healthy desk workingLooking after your eyesControlling your environmentSharing your workspaces with othersExercising and frequent movementModerating food and alcohol intakeMake a reasonable schedule of your workThey mention the Health & Safety Executive website for advice on home-working that can be found at www.hse.gov.uk
21 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
Episode 27 - 6 tips for coping with January
A recent study by Ipsos-MORI found that 6 out of 10 people in the UK are finding it hard to be optimistic in the lockdown, with this slightly worse for women, with 7 out of 10 feeling despondent. The study also found that only 7% of people polled had any optimism for the near future. With dark nights and cold days, this is a tougher time than other lockdowns. It is a fallacy to believe that those who were coping OK in previous lockdowns will be doing OK in the current lockdown.With New Years Resolutions being broken all around, Professors Koch and Jackson have 6 helpful suggestions that we can all use in order to make lockdown 3 more bearable. Here they explain how these 'resolutions' may work for you. Try 1 or try all 6 if you're feeling particularly in need of a boost.Develop a routine for spare timeBuild relaxation into each dayAccept the idea of mindfulness Daily walking Turn daily habits into comforting routineConnect with other people
40 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
Episode 26 - Lockdown 3 - How did we get here?
Following massive increases in covid cases, England went into a third period of Lockdown on Jan 5th 2021, 9 months after the pandemic started in the UK. The awareness of a new-variant of coronavirus has been associated with the drastic increases in infection rates, hospital admissions, positive cases and mortality rates.How are we coping with continued working at home and childcare arrangements for many; and are we seeing the onset of long-term fatigue and despondency among workers? In this episode Professors Koch & Jackson review what happened in 2020 and how what we may have learned from last year could be applied to future behaviour in dealing with the new-variant coronavirus and the ongoing lockdown. With a mixture of some optimism and trepidation, they look to the ongoing vaccination programme and our need to stay positive.
23 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
Episode 24 - The 3 Ps - Positivity, Post-pandemic & Pottering
At the end of November, while England was still in Lockdown 2.0 we all needed to focus on keeping going, being resilient and thinking positively about carrying on. Using our minds to stay positive and optimistic is vital.Professors Koch and Jackson focus on 3 mental activities that can keep us feeling positive. Things we can all do for free, at almost anytime and anywhere;Focusing on good positive news & giving thanksVisualising a good life post-pandemicEnjoying small tasks and pottering
27 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Episode 23 - We have a working vaccine! Now what?
News this week that the UK is to start inoculating the public with a 2 shot vaccine against the coronavirus. This is optimistic news and a major step in the fight against COVID. Despite the good news, we need to be careful that this development does not impact on social distancing and the behavioural strategies we need to keep using while the vaccine rolls out. How will the UK Government maintain the balance between optimism and ensuring that social distancing is maintained?Professors Koch & Jackson discuss the best ways that the UK Government can ensure the health messaging is effectively communicated - and the ways to make sure that as many people as possible receive both doses of the vaccine.
32 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Episode 22 - Coping with pain
Pain is something we all have experience of. Pain is universal.Although pain can come in many different forms (stabbing, dull, sharp, throbbing, or aching) we are not always very good at describing our pain to others. We may be even less good at understanding just what the cause of our own pain may be. Pain can be caused by physical organic issues, and it can be caused by psychological or behavioural things too. We all acknowledge that when we feel unhappy or sad, that our pain thresholds are lower and we cannot take as much pain as normal - why then do we have such resistance to accepting that sometimes physical pain can have a psychological cause?Professors Koch & Jackson describe how we can all cope with pain, how to manage it, and what we can do to distract ourselves from the discomfort.
24 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Episode 21 - Listening with empathy
We all agree that being kinder to others and having more empathy towards people who are struggling is no bad thing. However, actually BEING empathetic is not always easy - especially when we have our own worries and concerns to deal with, or when we feel we just do not have the time to be empathetic towards others. Professors Hugh Koch & Craig Jackson discuss and describe simple ways to make our style of listening to others become more empathetic and how we can help people by listening just a little more carefully and by asking the right questions. It's not always about finding the right solution for someone quickly.