It’s been such a tough two years. And as we see across health and social care nationally, we’re tired. We’ve been through enormous changes, demands, and the complexity of the people who need our service is growing. There’s change fatigue as well as just general fatigue.

As Head of People and Experience for Sussex MSK Partnership one focus of attention right now is our wellness. How are we doing?

I came back to work after the New Year thinking ‘actually, I don’t really know’. I haven’t seen many people or been to all our sites. I meet the people I see in meetings, but I wonder, how are we?


Wellness: a confession

For me, wellness is the foundation for us really living our best lives and happily, and contributing what we have to contribute. If I feel 50%, then I might have the energy for the essentials, but I don’t have the energy for what really helps me to learn and grow and be who I really want to be.

Even though my work is wellness, taking care of my own wellness is really challenging. I can come up with all sorts of reasons why I can’t pay attention to it:

  • Because I’m busy
  • Because other people’s needs are more important, or what’s needed of me is more important than how I am
  • Sometimes I’m afraid to check in around how I am because I’m afraid of what I’ll find and what that will mean
  • Sometimes I don’t check in with how I am because I think that what I need just won’t be available to me, so I won’t even bother

And I’ve noticed in this last week that when people ask me how I am…

…I don’t really know the answer.

How do you know how you are?

When asking how we are, I wondered if we could ask some different questions. Recently, through the positive psychology work, I came across three questions that can help us to get under the skin of our experience.

So, in the last week…

  • …how positive have my interactions been?
  • …how much have I used my own personal strengths?
  • …what’s the quality of my own kind of mental space been?

And to those I’d add a fourth question:

4) On the basis of those answers, what do I need?


Checking in

As we begin 2022 we have invited everyone to take part in a joint enquiry. A check in. Using the above questions, we have asked everyone to check in with their own wellness, and to also ask how the person next to them how they answered.

In the spirit of this I went first, then shared with the whole service my honest answers.


How positive have my interactions been?


I’ve had a really tough week. I had Covid last week. I’ve felt quite isolated being at home. Having been back at work the last couple of days has really lifted it. It’s just been so nice to see people. So I’m on a five kind of edging up to a six.


How much have I used my own personal strengths?


Yeah, it’s been really tough and I haven’t been using my strengths so much. It makes me think, do I even know what they are? I guess that’s part of the question too, isn’t it? Do you know what your strengths are and are you using them again? I felt quite low with having Covid and not very resourceful.


What’s the quality of my own kind of mental space been?


I’ve been unwell and facing a lot of change at home and concern as well for others. I’ve been very focused on caring for my kids and not so aware of my own mental space.


What do I need?

I need to see people.

I need some hugs.

I need some physical activity again, now I’m starting to feel better.

I need some space. And then I feel a fear about how am I going to make that?

I want to paint my house.


What you get in return

I realise that is really exposing to tell people how I actually am. I share this because I think it could be really powerful and really catalysing source of energy for us. Imagine if we didn’t have to hide how we are. Imagine if we let other people in and we let support in, what that could be like for us. I find that really exciting.

As we check in across our different teams and locations how we are, I think about what wellness needs might arise. For me the first call is always to reach out, ask for help, get support.

I hope to see more of the people I work with online or in person in the coming days. I think about that person who is perhaps so focused on getting by that they don’t even know how they are.

I know that feeling. I’d like to take them by the hand and say: It’s alright. Everything can wait. You can have a few minutes.

How are you?


Our People Teams and Culture Lead is responsible for cultivating our working culture and the flourishing of our people and teams. The work focuses on how we work, our culture, values, learning and real care at the centre of what we do.

tagged in Enabling Team

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