Shoots of Recovery | preparing to return to work
In many respects the development of our ‘recovery and resilience’ service is the one that’s most important to us – the one we’re most proud of! Had we not experienced these difficulties ourselves and found solutions that worked well for us, then Human-Nature wouldn’t be here today.
We’re so convinced of the benefits of getting outdoors has, both for emotional as well as physical wellbeing, that we formed this organisation. To continue to help ourselves, but now help others in their recoveries.
We firmly believe that the green shoots of recovery can be found ‘out there’ in nature – and we want to help others find them too.
Our intervention programme, which will mesh seamlessly with a phased return to work, will run daily sessions for small peer groups of individuals – all looking to successfully return to work in a mutually supportive environment. Our ‘green exercise’ and nature inspired ‘creative activities’ will promote rebuilding confidence and gaining work-life balance skills, for individuals who might otherwise be languishing at home, ruminating about their situation, and nervous about the prospect of returning to full time work.
Too much thinking time is not always good for mental wellbeing, and having something active and purposeful to do, can distract us away from troubling thoughts. Being around other people in a similar situation, having meaningful activities to do, and being surrounded by a pleasant environment can be tremendously supportive, nurturing and even healing. Much better than being sat at home alone worrying, we think.
Also, the usual pattern and daily routine of going to work can have fallen away after a period of absence from work. Our programme aims to mend and re-establish that daily routines. Getting up and getting ready on time each day – helps to give a smoother transition back to work, and our programme aims to fit well with the ‘phased return to work’ model.
By and large attending work is actually good for most people’s mental health – feeling sufficiently stretched, needed and valued. So getting back to work in a sensibly managed way is often the best for the individual, providing of course that any unreasonable work stressors from the job role or working relationships are properly addressed, as part of the return to work process.
Of course we can’t ourselves fix any problems or stressors that might be emanating from the workplace or home-life environment – that’s not our job. What we can provide some third space – a neutral place to rebuild one’s wellbeing, which is neither home nor work. Our wellbeing activities allow participants the time and space they need to focus on their own wellbeing, putting them in a much stronger position to build their own resilience and coping strategies, to make that return to work so much easier.
Programme Taster | strong again
Prior to joining our programme (which will be 5 weeks, for around 2 hours per day, 4 days a week), we’ll invite potential participants to taster sessions. These will allow new participants to come along and sample our typical wellbeing activities with a friend or family member – someone who knows them well. The taster(s) will provides re-assurance, giving time to assess together, whether the intervention and activities are right for them as an individual, and ensure their willingness to commit to the 5 week programme.
Activities on the taster sessions will involve sample activities from the full programme. The programme draws from a range of activities from our general portfolio of inspired by nature ‘green exercise’ and ‘arts for wellbeing’ experiences – but is specially tailored to our smaller peer group needs. These activities help the cohort to grow stronger as a group and as individuals, as they share their journeys back to work and maintaining their on-going health resilience:
- Natter in Nature – social walking (and chat) through local landscapes – Connect
- Greenway Cycling – cycling (on mountain bikes) along non-challenging green space tracks – Be Active
- Mindful Photography – nature/macro photography walks appreciating nature and season’s change – Take Notice (& Be Creative)
- Nordic Walking – learning basic Nordic walking technique – Keep Learning
- Nature Conservation – supporting local green spaces to flourish supporting the local canal-side landscape and wildlife – Give & Care
- Poetry Walks – creativity walks, finding words to capture local landscapes and heritage in writing poems – Be Creative
All our activities will take place locally in the a beautiful canal-side location setting, on the border of Staffordshire/South Cheshire – a safe and nurturing environment which will include using traffic free tow paths, farmland and woodland walks.
For the moment this service is therefore only available to employees of local organisations (within the North Staffordshire/South Cheshire area), and within reasonable travel distance to us. Our programme does requires participants to have access to suitable transport and to be able to meet at the canal-side venue, throughout the duration of the programme.
(Pilot Study planned for 2019, will be free to participate as it will be fully funded).