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Good for the soul

We are all currently living through strange times.

What once seemed impossible is now possible. We have realised when we must, we can. Although we have yet to fully understand what ‘The New Normal’ will look like we all agree that our post COVID normal will change.

We are far more aware of mental health issues than ever before.

We are all aware of at least one person who is struggling and we understandably worry about them Many of us now realise how our own wellbeing has been affected by the inability to have the basic human contact and freedoms we previously took for granted.

However, we have seen companies and individuals thrive.

Those who have had the capacity and opportunity to be flexible have adapted, many are doing well. People have upskilled themselves with new hobbies and training which previously they never had time for.

We have seen volunteering on an unprecedented scale.

Companies, charities and individuals have employed their skills and spare time to good use, we should be very proud of what has been achieved. Many have been creating much needed resources out of pretty much the stuff that was lying around their workplaces, and in some case bedrooms.

We have found the best in ourselves and others around us.

We have helped neighbours, some of whom may of previously been strangers. People are finding a satisfaction from helping others which is in fact is helping themselves to maintain balance and perspective.

We have noticed that busy people are happy people

Those who are keeping themselves busy, but not too busy, are coping better than those who are at risk of having no purpose. Country wide the long term job lists are being ticked off and sock drawers are now tidier than ever – I know mine is!

Volunteering is good for the soul

So during National Volunteer Week why not reach out to do whatever you can to help yourself by helping others in whatever way you can. This need not be saving the planet; cheer someone up with a smile and a wave, saving someone a trip to the shop or even spend a little time chatting to someone who is lonely. Alternatively if you need help yourself reach out to others as helping you will help them and later you can always return the favour.

Whatever you do keep safe, keep smiling and remember that you have survived everything so far.

About the author

Paula McMahon

Paula McMahon works for Sir Robert McAlpine as a key worker on the A19 DBFO Project which maintains part of the strategic road network. Paula also undertakes a wider role in SRM mentoring and coaching candidates who are working towards professional qualifications.

Paula has for many years volunteered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and is currently the Teesside Branch Chair and North East Vice Chair. Paula also undertakes national roles by sitting on the Editorial Panel of the ICE Proceedings: Civil Engineering and is an ICE Reviewer.

Paula also has other voluntary roles helping encourage a workforce and workplace fit for the future. This includes being a STEM and Apprentice Ambassador, an active member of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Tyne and Tees Cluster, attending as a guest lecturer at Teesside University and sitting on the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).

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