In stressful situations in life we’re often told to ‘take a breather’. And that’s exactly what we’re offering you through the Here For Each Other staff wellbeing service…

A chance to join us in the woods near Dorchester to reflect, share, listen and connect – with nature and with others.

A half-day away from your day-to-day. Come as a team, or just come as you are.

You can book a ‘Boosting your wellbeing through connecting with nature session in July or  August/September.

Here For Each Other wellbeing team members were the first ones to try this ‘green’ wellbeing support. Reflecting on her morning in the woods, Jo shared her thoughts with us:

In the woods – being me

I recently spent half a day in the woods with a group of colleagues who I have been working with remotely over the last year and have never actually met in real life. Being quite at home in the countryside, the invitation to spend a morning in the woods was a welcome email in my bottomless inbox and I readily accepted.

Virtual versus reality

As the day got closer, I started to feel apprehensive which took me hugely by surprise. I started to worry about all sorts, from having to leave the house at a specific time, that I wouldn’t be able to find my way or I might forget something I needed. Then the realisation that I actually had to spend a morning with a group of people I had only ever conversed with via a computer, not to mention that I have barely been in close proximity to anyone outside of my family bubble for a significant period of time hit me as well.

These feelings were completely alien to me, 18 months ago I was happily commuting to various different locations to work each day, attending meetings and events, often without knowing a single person and it didn’t phase me. Whilst I had been happily working away at home, I didn’t realise that my confidence in going about my normal working day had been ebbing away.

Be prepared

In a very organised fashion I dutifully packed my bag the night before, being careful to include the kitchen sink, and set off with a full tank of petrol, the What 3 Words app and more than enough time to travel across Dorset, even with our unpredictable traffic levels. I was guided into the site by the app and was grateful to see Mick standing by the roadside ready to welcome us in. There were a couple of other people there as well and we got chatting while we waited for everyone else– thankfully, despite my fears I have not fully lost the art of face-to-face conversation!

What was the point?

The morning sped past with plentiful coffee, a few activities and opportunity for both conversation and reflection. We learnt new skills and explored the site, which is a beautiful place to be, with running water and I even spotted a deer much to my delight! It sounds lovely doesn’t it, but what is the value of setting a team free in the woods for half a day?

For me there were two key benefits to the morning; firstly, I got to connect with my peers on a human level, I learnt a little more about the people I have been working with and what is going on for them. The next time we spoke we were able to have a little more interaction beyond the agenda, building that sense of connection and trust into the working relationship.

Secondly, I had a bit of a moment halfway through the morning perched in a tree with a coffee I realised that I felt calm, that no one needed or wanted me, I didn’t have to ‘just do’ anything. I was just me sat in a tree having a drink and that felt good.

A chance to turn off the phone

Over the pandemic the sense of urgency, the feeling of always needing to be available and the constant barrage of notifications, invitations and emails regularly reaches an overwhelming level, but you just keep ploughing through as best you can then you wake up and do it again, there is no escape.

Permission to ‘take five’

Perhaps that is what the woods gave me, a break, an opportunity to turn off the phone and computer and to have permission to just ‘be’ for a short while. I left the site feeling calm and connected and I carried those feelings with me for as long as I could. Inevitably feelings will fade but as often as I can I let myself drift back to that tree and I give myself permission to ‘take five’ to just be me.

Check out the woodland wellbeing availability in July and August/September.