Hello my name is Lee Barnes and for those that do not know me my role is the Associate Director of Staff Wellbeing and Engagement. I am proud to say I have worked at ELHT for over 20 years. Despite my many years at the Trust what never ceases to amaze me is how deep colleagues dig within themselves to prioritise patient care when times are hard.

The last three years have been nothing short of a hurricane. So, if you are not feeling thelee barnes.JPG New Year’s vibes of rest and rejuvenation, I do understand. Many colleagues have faced challenge after challenge with no let up, so don’t be hard on yourself if you crossed the finish line of 2022 feeling frazzled, it is ok to not be ok. Do ask for help if you need it, January is a tough month for many and you are not alone.

I would also encourage you to take a moment and remind yourself of who you are and what you have endured over the last three years and then remind yourself of what you have overcome. Despite everything that has been thrown at you, you have overcome numerous challenges and still kept going. Yes, on days we stumble but we get back up and keep going at Team ELHT.

When I ask colleagues what keeps them going when times are really hard, I hear two things consistently:

1.       I keep going because what I do really matters

2.       I want to help my colleagues

Having a strong sense of purpose and colleague care are critical for getting through the hard times.

One of the greatest strengths we can have at work is working with a great team with colleagues that look out for each other. According to the World Health Organisation we spend over one-third of our lives at work. It is amazing to think that we actually spend more time with colleagues each day than we do with our families or friends. And, for many, getting through the challenges at work is only possible because of caring and supportive colleagues. Even though our work changed and there was never enough hours in the day, mentally and emotionally we knew we had a support system. Having people that care around us gives us the capacity to adapt and recover from difficult situations faster.

To recognise the power of colleague care, we are designating January as Colleague Care month. This great idea came from one of our teammates from the Emergency Department, Anna Grey who came forward with the idea of a dedicated month which helped to showcase colleague care specifically focussing on how colleagues care for each other, how colleagues care for themselves and how the organisation cares for its colleagues. 

We are encouraging you throughout this month to take part in our #ColleagueCareMonth to share what you or your colleagues do to look after each other through our ELHT people Facebook group, or why not send an appreciation card to say thanks to a colleague who has gone above and beyond?

You will also be able to get involved in a wide range of wellbeing drop in sessions, mini health checks, virtual self care training, our 31 day self care challenge and share daily hints and tips. Please, take a look at our January Well Newsletter for further information.

Never forget that one small caring gesture can help a colleague get through a tough day. Many small acts of care can create a ripple and be a force for good for colleagues the organisation and the community we serve. We need to recognise and celebrate this.

Thanks for reading and if you have any ideas on how we can support each other throughout the year do get in touch.

Please take care of yourself and each other as much as you do our patients and remember you matter and are valued.