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    Unum’s new wellbeing podcast offers advice for all

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    Whatever’s causing you stress, there are lots of achievable, practical steps you can take.

    Practical

    “This podcast is aimed at anyone, really – anyone who wants to make some steps towards improving their general wellbeing1.”

    So begins the first Unum wellbeing podcast, launched on 21st January, as part of the 2019 Wellbeing Calendar.

    The aim

    Beth Husted, Rehabilitation and Wellbeing Manager at Unum, is the host of the podcast. “We decided on a podcast for two reasons. Firstly, last year our Wellbeing Calendar was mainly focused on line manager content and support and we felt we wanted to reach out more to employees.

    “Secondly, following the only event we did deliver for employees last year, we realised the mode of delivery needed to be more flexible, available throughout the year and to complement wellbeing initiatives in businesses.”

    Podcasts in general have never been more popular. The latest OFCOM stats report that nearly six million people in the UK tune in to podcasts each week. That number has doubled from 3.2 million in 2013 to 5.9 million in 20182.

    With podcasts now an established part many people’s lives, Unum’s new wellbeing series aims to add an informative, engaging voice to that landscape – whatever your role within a company.

    What’s it about?

    This opening podcast of the year takes an introductory approach, looking at five areas of wellbeing – and how to make steps to improve the quality of each. The areas are:

    • Sleep
    • Finances
    • Emotions and resilience
    • Exercise
    • Goal setting

    1. Sleep is a cornerstone of wellbeing. The podcast states that many of the wellbeing goals you might set for yourself won’t work effectively if you don’t have enough quality sleep.

    Despite its importance, the NHS advises that one in three of us suffers from poor sleep, and most of us need around eight hours of quality sleep in order to function properly3. With responsibilities, distractions and time demands, that can be hard to achieve. But the podcast lays out some simple ways of upgrading your sleep to ‘good quality’.

    2. Finances and their role in wellbeing comes down to taking control. Not having enough money to meet basic needs was one of the top three listed sources of stress found by the Mental Health Foundation’s Stress: Are we coping? report4.

    The money matters may not disappear, but there are ways of changing your reaction to them. Another Unum podcast later this year will return to the theme of money matters.

    3. Emotions and resilience is about better understanding what we feel and how it affects us – utilising positive emotions and learning from seemingly negative ones.

    4. Exercise follows a similar pattern to sleep, in that it comes down to implementing specific routines. The NHS recommends adults aged 19 to 64 do at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days5. And the key to making it stick is to incorporate that exercise into something you enjoy doing.

    5. Finally, goal setting builds on those four areas and clarifies exactly what you want to achieve in your bid to improve your wellbeing.

    Upcoming podcasts

    Unum has a series of podcasts coming out, covering different areas and spread throughout the year. “We have podcasts for HR, line managers, employees… anyone interested in wellbeing initiatives,” says Beth.

    “I will host each podcast but I have guest speakers both from within Unum and also externally. Wellbeing is getting more focus in the workplace. But the issue is that many are not meeting the needs of the workforce. We aren’t researching the needs of our staff before implementing wellbeing support –meaning the resource is wasted and not focused in the right way.

    “But it’s great that staff needs are being thought of more often.

    “What have I learned from doing this first podcast? I learned that I can find my own voice quite irritating! But also that we all need to be reminded of the basics – the strategies I share are very straightforward. Sleep and the amount of sleep we actually need is fundamental, plus the finances element always gets me – I need to track my spend better!

    “Finally, remembering how important our response to a situation is can shape so much.”

    You can listen to the podcast here.

    Sources

    1 Unum. (2019). Wellbeing podcast, 21/01/2019

    2 OFCOM. (2018). Podcast listening booms in the UK

    3 NHS. (2018). Why lack of sleep is bad for your health

    4 Mental Health Foundation. (2018). Stress: Are we coping?, p13

    5 NHS. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for adults