Mr Daniel Hutchins
Winter can be a difficult time of year. With the darker nights, the stresses and strains of the Christmas rush and the added pressure of COVID-19, it’s important to look after your mental health during this period.
The NFSP is here to help. We’ve compiled some tips on how to look after the wellbeing of you and your staff this winter, along with some important information on FREE support services available – some of which are provided through the NFSP member benefits scheme (NFSP+).
1. Stay connected. Stay in touch with others through the NFSP’s social media networks. Our Facebook members group and our regional WhatsApp group chats are great ways to stay connected with other subpostmasters and to seek support from NFSP representatives and staff.
If you’re not yet signed up to either of these, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01273 452324.
2. Seeking professional help through NFSP+. You’re eligible for FREE counselling sessions. Two companies, ARAG and Health Assured, can provide telephone support from qualified counsellors on any matter that may be affecting your wellbeing. Call 0344 477 1619 for ARAG or 0800 028 0199 (quoting reference number HA174638) for Health Assured.
3. Download a FREE wellbeing app. You also have FREE access to My Healthy Advantage, a smartphone app containing a library of resources to help you overcome mental, physical and financial wellbeing challenges. See: https://nfspplus.org.uk/members990g/b_we_HealthAssured/.
4. Take time out for yourself where you can. Whether that’s taking a walk, a coffee break, doing some exercise, practicing meditation, or spending quality time with family, be sure to build in time for regular self-care and relaxation wherever possible.
5. Manage your own expectations. For some, festive cheer can feel quite jarring – particularly when grappling with the most hectic trading period in the calendar.
Managing your expectations about the holiday period can help you feel a little less isolated from those in the holiday spirit around you. It’s OK not to love the festivities and it’s important not to be hard on yourself if you’re not able to devote as much time and energy to the holidays as others around you.
6. Take a step back when dealing with difficult customers. As footfall starts to pick up and the pressures of the holiday period mounts, you may encounter a few more impatient or unhappy customers than usual.
Remember to remain calm when encountering any customer hostility. Try not to take customer frustrations personally – even if they’re unfairly directing these at you or your staff.
This does not mean you should tolerate abuse. Report any abusive behaviour to Grapevine by phone on 0345 603 4004 and if you feel threatened or unsafe in any way, don’t hesitate to call 999 and ask for the police.
7. To minimize stress, don’t delay in addressing any issues or errors until after the holidays. Contact the NFSP Operations Team straight away if you need help at email@example.com or call 01273 452324 and press 4.
8. Look after your staff. Keep a close eye on the wellbeing of your team. Bupa has guidance on what to look out for and how to act if you think a member of your team may be experiencing mental health complications, see: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/workplace-mental-health/signs-poor-mh.
You can also guide your employees (and family members you live with) to the counselling services mentioned above.
9. If you’re struggling financially – get in touch! The NFSP has a Benevolent Fund that helps serving or retired subpostmasters and their dependents who have fallen on hard times. For more details on what’s offered, eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit https://nfsp.org.uk/your-member-benefits/benevolent-fund.
If you (or a member of your team) are experiencing mental health issues and you’re unsure of what to do, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01273 452324. We can help guide you to the support available.
You can also visit the Health & Wellbeing section on the NFSP’s website to learn more about the support services available to you: https://nfsp.org.uk/information-directory/health-and-wellbeing-support-services.