Renfrewshire Council

"Let's Talk" Staff wellbeing blog: Catherine's story

Catherine O'Regan, content designer at Renfrewshire Council, shares her wellbeing story.

Our wellbeing page header "Last winter was a difficult time for many of us. We had to cope with the normal challenges this time of year brings and the additional ones with coronavirus and restrictions limiting our lives and activities in lots of different ways.

"For me, there was a mix of challenges. I had started my new job at the council during the first lockdown and come wintertime I had still never met most of my team members face to face. I also had a bereavement during the pandemic and the restrictions made it too complicated to travel back to see my family in Ireland. Things were starting to get to me; and the shorter, darker days only added to my low mood and feelings of fatigue.

"A colleague suggested I get in touch with Time for Talking - our free employee counselling service. I thought "why not?" - it certainly couldn't do any harm! So, I emailed them, and they arranged six one-hour therapy sessions for me to talk to a trained counsellor about my life and how I was feeling. It helped having someone outside my circle of friends and family to talk to; someone who had the experience and skills to help me recognise and deal with both personal events and the anxiety of the pandemic in the background. I also liked that the sessions were over the phone because it meant I could talk from the comfort and privacy of my own home

"I also found the online wellbeing hub for staff useful during the winter months. There's lots of small but practical ideas on there that helped me improve my energy and mood. Building new habits like going for lunchtime walks and making the effort to keep in touch with people every day, whether that was catching up with the team at work, video calls with family or messaging my friends. I even got a daylight lamp for my office desk for the more 'driech' winter days.

"If you're finding things difficult, I'd definitely recommend taking advantage of the support you can get at work. It's amazing how helpful talking can be. And small things like walking outdoors, healthy eating (most of the time!) and keeping in touch with people all adds up to maintaining your wellbeing.

"I'm feeling more positive this year and I know the healthy habits I've developed will help me be more resilient. My main concern right now is choosing what to wear when I'm out and about. I've grown too attached to my lockdown hoodies and leggings!" - Catherine O'Regan, Digital Content Designer

We're so grateful to Catherine for kicking off our brand-new staff wellbeing blog by sharing her brilliant story. It's really helpful to hear from others and it's great to hear how our colleagues are benefitting from the supports available. Look out for more blog posts coming soon on our online Wellbeing Hub, and if you'd like to take part and share your story, just email

Though it may be the season of giving, it's also important to remember to be kind to yourself and realise it's perfectly normal to experience a change of mood when things in life change. We have all had an abundance of change over the last few years, so try to go easy on yourself and show yourself the same kindness and compassion as you would to others.