New Year, new approach?

New Year, new approach?

January 2021

Jill Hambley, MD of ICS, writes about her approach to staying positive in all winters but especially this one.

John Steinbeck said ”What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”.  Personally I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint and am firmly with the hedgehogs and bears; hibernation is the perfect solution. It seems easier to get through November and December with the excesses of Christmas on the horizon but come the 3rd January (Scotland still needs 2nd of January to recover from Hogmanay and New Year) the temperature seems colder and the days darker.

In other years I might have set myself some resolutions (which quickly failed) or cut back on anything containing sugar but this year I have decided to be kind to myself and am ignoring all recommendations for dry January or veganuary. For the latter it is more the stress of converting the small people in the house or being faced with cooking 2 options every mealtime that’s putting me off.

Of course, this winter is doubly hard given the circumstances we all find ourselves in.  Even though it seems as if there is a way out in the not too distant future, the daily news headlines still make it feel as if we are one step forward two steps back – if I can make one personal recommendation here, it’s to avoid reading news and social media every five minutes as it definitely doesn’t help.

Borne out of a desperate desire not to contract this virus, we’ve upped the ante in our household in terms of fitness and its now a feature of almost every day. There is a huge variety of resources out there for all fitness levels and trying to find something that keeps each of the age groups interested has been a huge distraction. We really miss our pre covid-19 activities but doing exercise as a family has been different and fun.  Of course Joe Wicks has been a legend in his own lifetime but we’ve mixed it up with YouTube videos and dancing around the kitchen.

Everyone has more down days than up at the moment and we have been no exception to that but for us exercise has helped. That, eating chocolate and absolutely trying not to look at the news. For others it will be something different ; helping others, meditation, writing a journal, planning some time off, diy (that did take up a lot of time for us last lockdown but enthusiasm has waned recently).

Conscious that I’ve written this article without once mentioning anything to do with ICS or FCA regulation, I will finish by discussing training and CPD (continuing personal development). Putting effort into getting fitter has had the knock on effect of reminding me that I need to put some effort into not just documenting my CPD activity but to being more proactive (its funny but the headspace you get from exercise actually really helps in this regard especially if its a run – or exaggerated amble in my case).  We need reminded to set time aside on a regular basis to look at the opportunities out there for online training (for the next few months at least) and what would really develop ourselves and our colleagues.

For insurance intermediaries, the upcoming deadline for all staff to have been trained in the Conduct Rules on 31st March concentrates the mind;  some effort has to be put into ensuring staff understand the consequences of this piece of regulation on the role they perform. No easy feat when the FCA has said don’t rely solely on digital learning solutions but firms should look ahead and schedule in some virtual team or one-to-one meetings to meet this requirement. And of course, if you need any help, just let us know.

I hope that, if like me you are not a winter person, the next few months pass quickly and undemandingly and you are able to get some quiet head space in what form that takes for you.