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College launches wellbeing initiative

Tuesday 11 February 2020

New Year Wellbeing launch for staff and students at Selby College

Selby College has spent the past month embracing a new health and wellbeing strategy which has already proven popular with staff that have got involved, with the launch of regular activities incorporating fitness or encouraging colleagues to take the time to talk to open up communication.

A number of staff have been attending a weekly ‘Five Weeks’ to Fitness’ HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session, run by Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science Amy Hague after College each Monday evening for 45 minutes since the new year.

Amy said: “One of the biggest advantages of HIIT is that you can get maximal health benefits in minimal time, the short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods make it a really time-efficient way to exercise. There are circuits are designed for all ages and abilities – it has been shown to improve overall fitness, mental health, sleep habits and overall physical health so there really is nothing to lose!”

The last session was on Monday 10th February and it has certainly been a hit with the first group of staff that have taken part!

Courtney Sunman, Higher Education Quality Co-ordinator said: “I have really enjoyed doing the Five Weeks’ to Fitness because it fits around work and home life – it has really helped to push me physically and got me doing something I wouldn’t have normally have done. Everybody who attends has been really supportive of each other and I would 100% like to continue!”

Sarah Abbott, E-Learning Facilitator also enjoyed the sessions, saying: "Amy organised a well-balanced exercise programme for both core strength and cardio, with different options available to suit personal fitness levels. The opportunity to attend straight after work has really helped to make the class a success."

Amy added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from everyone who has participated in the HIIT sessions. It has been more than just getting staff exercising, it has become a session where staff can have a laugh and engage with each other away from work commitments! I’m pleased to say it will be carrying on after half term – bring on another five weeks!”

As well as the fitness sessions, Careers Officer Helen Howard has been delivering a Yoga class in College on a weekly basis for a number of months as a qualified Yoga teacher, which has a dedicated group of staff attending every Wednesday evening.

Then on Thursday 6th February, as part of Time to Talk Day, a nation-wide initiative created by the Time to Change campaign from the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness - the College’s Counsellor Lorraine Fisher organised a number of activities to get staff and students talking. The campaign encourages everyone to ‘be more open about mental health, to talk, to listen and to change lives’.

Speaking about the campaign’s aim, Lorraine said: “Time to talk is not just about talking it’s about actively listening to another person’s communication, not being distracted by technology but being present in the moment. The experience of being heard is crucial to our wellbeing and creates a sense of connectedness within our everyday lives.”

Throughout the Thursday lunchtime, there were a number of sports and board games set up in the Sports Hall by second year Sports students, aimed at getting all students involved in a fun way, plus an information drop-in with topic cards, mindful colouring and quizzes in Jubilee Reception with Lorraine’s team.

HR Manager Alison Whale also helped to organise a lunchtime Wellbeing Walk circuit to encourage staff to take time away from their desks and make the time to talk. The staff from across College that took part made the most of the beautiful weather and enjoyed walking along the town’s canal.

Alison hopes to makes this a regular initiative in the future, saying: “I am as bad as the next person for sitting at my desk with a sandwich and not taking a break. The Wellbeing Walk encourages people to break out of that habit and walk outside, even for a short time with colleagues and talk about something other than work. The benefits are known, it is just making that change. I’m hoping that organising a regular walk will encourage people to join in and enjoy a bit of sunshine (hopefully) and a break from work, which can only help their wellbeing.”