Random Acts of Safety & Wellness over the Festive Holiday Season
Nov 29, 2023
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The Random Acts of Safety Campaign
In today's episode, we're talking about random acts of safety and extending a warm invitation for you to join our annual campaign.
We've been at this for a couple of years now, though we didn't have a podcast the first time around. But we're back at it and eager to share what random acts of safety truly mean.
What inspired the exploration of random acts of safety, and what served as its foundation?
Safety has always been close to Nuala's heart, and it became even more apparent when she stumbled upon the Random Acts of Kindness movement [the inspiration for this idea].
This movement revolves around small, everyday gestures that make kindness the norm, and it had her thinking, why not apply a similar approach to safety?
Safety doesn't have to be an elaborate, formal process with risk assessments and toolbox talks. Instead, by incorporating small random acts of safety into our daily routines, it can become a natural part of our lives.
When we launched the concept of random acts of safety, we were genuinely excited about it. We understood it might take some time to catch on, which was perfectly okay because this initiative means a lot to us.
It's certainly not just a once-a-year effort; however, we have chosen to highlight it during the holiday season when our focus shifts. It's a time to enjoy the festivities while keeping safety in mind for ourselves and those around us.
For many people, navigating this time of year can be challenging. We often refer to it as the 'end-of-year pressure cooker.' Whether you're away from home, at home, or just dealing with life, we all have our unique reactions to this season.
Remember, this time of year isn't solely about Christmas, as many of you listening may have different traditions.
However, this season has a considerable commercial push, which can put financial pressure on people. The cost of living also comes into play. Not everyone looks forward to this time of year; in fact, looking at the news recently was disheartening, so perhaps avoid it over this time if possible.
We're not saying to bury one's head in the sand, but it's about caring for one's emotional well-being and doing what feels right for you.
Whether you're far from home or have recently experienced loss, which could even involve a beloved pet, it can be tough.
What can we do to make things a bit brighter and better?
That's the essence of this episode and the core principle behind our random acts of safety.
Help everyone enjoy a wonderful festive season by engaging in
Random Acts of Safety...
Physical, Emotional and Psychological
Join the movement [and us] as we do good, be good over the festive season.
Bring a smile, help someone feel less lonely, and possibly change a life this December.
We've got your back and brainstormed some ideas that might help you navigate this season more easily. It doesn't take much to start with Random Acts of Safety, and it can be something quite simple.
At her great-nephew's birthday party, Nuala noticed a VW car with an open boot as its owners were leaving. She approached them and pointed out the issue, which they hadn't seen.
They promptly secured the boot, and this small act potentially prevented a dangerous situation on the road.
While Karin was shopping for a mirror at a local vintage store, the topic of random acts of safety came up during a chat with the owner, Chris.
They discussed the common habit of using whatever's closest as a makeshift step stool, which led to a personal realisation that even with knowledge of safety practices, we can sometimes overlook them, emphasising the importance of caring for each other and speaking up for safety.
There is a clear connection between random acts of safety and random acts of kindness.
While South Africans enjoy the warm Southern Hemisphere weather, they are aware of underprivileged individuals enduring harsh conditions. So, they've adopted a simple but effective approach of distributing frozen water bottles to those in need to keep them hydrated during hot days.
It's a small yet impactful way to show care and promote safety.
In Scotland, it's a matter of looking around and considering what blankets and rugs we have accumulated and then distributing them to those in need, whether through organisations like Cyrenians or other local initiatives.
It's disheartening to see homelessness and people living below the poverty line in our community, especially with the high cost of living. As winter approaches, it's clear that some will face a very cold season.
What can we all do to lend a helping hand to those who could use some support, no matter where we are?
A Starting Point for Random Acts of Safety
Sometimes, it can be challenging to know where to begin when it comes to making a positive impact.
To assist you in finding a starting point, we've created an inspiring 25-day advent calendar that starts on December 1 and continues until December 25.
Each day offers a simple gesture, and while not every one will resonate with you, there will be moments when you think, "I can do that."
Give it a try, and you might be amazed at the difference it makes for the other person, but more importantly, what it does for you.
Here are a few more ideas:
1- Managing Well-being During Pressure:
It's important to acknowledge the pressure many feel during the year-end season, often expected to put on a brave face despite feeling burnt out. Prioritising your well-being is crucial, and you have the right to do so. Consider conscious choices that nurture your well-being.
2- Impact of Food and Alcohol:
Be mindful not to overeat during this period, and remember the saying that being 80% full is sufficient. Rest and exercise are also vital components of well-being.
3- Importance of Sleep:
Getting enough sleep is crucial for brain function, energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. Surviving on minimal sleep isn't the same as thriving. Managing your time effectively includes prioritising rest.
4- Supporting Each Other:
Support is essential during challenging times. For instance, if someone you know is overwhelmed, offer assistance or encourage them to seek help. It's okay to ask for assistance when life is too stressful.
5- Working Away from Home:
For those working long shifts away from home, supporting each other to maintain well-being is vital. Catching some daylight and considering supplements or sunup clocks can help manage the challenges of working in demanding conditions.
6- Environmental Awareness:
Be mindful of the environment and climate change, avoid unnecessary purchases, and focus on practical and meaningful gifts based on what people mention throughout the year.
7- Seeking Joy and Effective Communication:
Finding joy even in challenging situations is essential. Knowing how to ask for help or say no when necessary can be difficult but crucial for well-being. Episode E052 provides insights into linguistic acts to improve communication and relationships.
Remember to prioritise your well-being and seek joy during this time of year.
So Why is Doing Good, Good for Us?
First, let's look at our emotions - they're quite a vast spectrum, and today, we're focusing on one:
It might not immediately strike you as an emotion, but technically, it is, and every emotion comes with its own story, impulse, and purpose.
Generosity's story is about giving without expecting anything in return.
What does this prompt us to do?
It encourages us to share our resources, whether they are emotional or physical.
The essence is to give without attaching any strings or expectations.
True generosity flows from the heart.
In the context of making offers and requests, it's good to remember that while we may want to be generous in our actions, it's perfectly okay if our offers are accepted or declined.
Respecting each other's choices preserves our dignity, which is equally important.
One way to practice generosity is by sharing random acts of safety with our community.
So, we invite you to our Random Acts of Safety page (link in the resource section below), where there is a form where you can share any little random acts of safety. You can share a picture or not; that's fine, and it only has to be a sentence. We'll create a little blog post and put it on our website.
You can also use #randomactsofsafety on your social media platforms, and we can all follow and connect that way.
Let's explore the concept of learning together because building a community involves ongoing education. It's not just about our emotions; it's about understanding the neuroscience behind generosity and random acts of safety.
What occurs in our brains when we engage in these actions?
As humans, we consist of chemical cocktails, including neurotransmitters and hormones.
These chemicals are continuously active in our bodies, influenced by our emotions, physical state, and surroundings. Two key players are oxytocin and cortisol.
Cortisol is our action and stress hormone. In the right amounts, it's healthy and motivates us. However, excessive cortisol can lead to stress-related physical and mental health issues. Understanding this balance can contribute to our overall well-being, especially during the festive season and in the areas we discussed earlier.
Let's talk about oxytocin, often called the "hug hormone," which is our body's feel-good chemical responsible for love, friendship, and loyalty.
Oxytocin has a relatively short lifespan in our system, lasting around three to four hours per shot. In contrast, cortisol, our stress hormone, can linger for up to 27 hours or more when compounded.
Balancing these two hormones is crucial.
It's important to recognise that each individual's response to stress and exercise is unique.
While some may find high-intensity exercise helpful in reducing cortisol, others may benefit more from activities like Pilates, yoga, or gentle walks, which can promote the release of oxytocin and help manage stress effectively.
There are various hormones and chemicals at play in our bodies, including dopamine and others; however, one simple practice that can benefit your well-being is deep breathing.
Breathing through your nose is important, especially during moments of heightened stress, as shallow mouth breathing can be less effective. Taking just a minute or two to focus on deep nasal breathing can make a difference.
Now, when it comes to oxytocin, it's interesting to note that human contact, such as hugging, can significantly boost oxytocin levels. For those who enjoy hugs, this can be a fantastic way to increase your feel-good hormone.
Another approach to stimulate oxytocin is by engaging with stories of generosity. It doesn't always have to involve physical acts. Reading heartwarming stories, listening to uplifting tales, or watching joyful movies can have a positive impact.
These experiences can help raise oxytocin levels and lower cortisol levels, aligning with the essence of random acts of safety, where stories of kindness and generosity can inspire greater feelings of generosity in us all.
Many individuals perform acts of kindness and generosity regularly without seeking recognition.
So, if you prefer not to have your name featured on a blog post on our website, that's okay.
You can choose to do it anonymously or include a note indicating your preference for anonymity.
The important thing is that these acts inspire others and contribute to a sense of safety and well-being. Your choice to remain anonymous can still positively impact and serve as an example for others to follow.
So our mission has us asking:
What did I do to keep someone safe today? physical, emotional and psychological.
We encourage you to join the movement and share your random acts of safety on our website to inspire others, and we look forward to reading them and sharing them.
🌟Special Shout Out 🌟
A special shout out to some of our listeners who have given us great feedback on our podcast, and this week it was Graham Skinner and Euan Gemmell.
Some of the feedback was that it's a friendly conversation, and we learned from it and it was so valuable learning about different types of questions.
You guys are awesome, and we loved getting feedback!
- E014 - What are Random Acts of Safety? Join the Mission
- E025 - How 1 small Random Act of Safety can have a big impact
- E052 - The 6 Basic Linguistic Acts: A Good, High-Level Understanding
About the Show
Our purpose in sharing this podcast is to have a chinwag (conversation) to help people change how they think and behave about safety.
We do this by engaging in dialogue and testing the levels of trust and psychological safety, which are core to organisational culture. Making safety part of your DNA so that your people speak up, show up, do right, and become safer every day for yourself, your team, and your business.
We will explore topics related to organisational and safety culture, leadership, the language of risk, emotional literacy, psychological safety, conversational agility, intercultural intelligence, and whatever else pops up during our conversations—sharing our experiences and learnings.
We intend to share nuggets of wisdom that will challenge your perspectives, potentially solve a nagging problem, share actions you can implement, and give you at least one aha moment.
And, if you enjoyed the show and gained value, please share with just one other person to help spread the word.