Fiona children

Happy New Year everyone.

Many of us are keen to start the New Year with a fresh challenge despite the on-going challenges.

It’s been hard for everyone over the last year. Some people are trying to fulfil their job role on site despite a massive change in working conditions. Others are on furlough away from colleagues and the social interaction. Office workers are adapting to working from home and mastering virtual platforms like Teams and Zoom. Some people are home schooling or having additional caring responsibilities. I know many have had holidays cancelled and not been able to visit family.

Physical wellbeing iconPractical steps to improving physical and mental wellbeing

It’s a good time to reflect on the impact of COVID-19, and look at possibly leading a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle.

I am taking part in Dry January to avoid alcohol. I may have over-indulged over the last few months, and feel this is a great way to start afresh. Research has shown you are more likely to keep it up after the challenge. For tips see alcoholchange.org.uk.

Regular exercise is so important. The couch to 5km is a great way to start for beginners.

If you are giving up smoking, use one of the many NHS resources to help.

Mental wellbeing iconRemember that many of us will experience stressful times.

The last year has taught us we can overcome challenging situations, but there is always someone to talk to if you need to.

Dr Adrian James, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, believes that ‘Covid poses the greatest threat to mental health since the second world war’.

This New Year can be a time to address our own needs and ensure we are happy in both mind and body. Keep in touch with your mates or colleagues often. Even if it’s just a quick thumbs up or an emoji, it is something you can both relate to.

BUPA Healthy Minds is a new employee assistance programme for VGC office employed staff. Get advice if you need to by calling 0800 269616.

Site staff can contact B&CE Charitable Trust for a free employee assistance programme.

Financial wellbeing iconNow is also a great time to review your finances or set yourself some goals to budget.

Maybe you want to keep some money aside for a rainy day or have a big purchase in mind. Small changes in your spending can really make a difference.

The Lighthouse Charity has partnered with Nudge to provide personalised prompts to help you reach your budgeting and savings goals. See

Bang on budget is an online workshop by the Supply Chain Sustainability School on Friday 15 January. (You will need to register with the school – which is free – before you can book.)

HMRC website tax returnDon’t forget the tax return submission deadline is 31 January 2021. Ensure you deal with this to avoid any penalties. If you will find it hard to pay because of coronavirus, don’t ignore it. Contact HRMC to talk about your options.

If you are feeling stressed:

The photo at the top of this blog is of my two daughters. They keep me mindful of what’s important and why we need to take it one day at a time.

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