Staff Health and Wellbeing Hub

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you try them, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. 

The five steps are:

1. Connect

2. Be active

3. Keep learning

4. Give to others

5. Take notice


Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work and in your local community. Invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Hear from others

There are a range of podcasts hosted by members of the University community that can help you feel connected. Some examples are:

Let's Talk

Sharing Things

Our Community

Getting involved in the University or local community can be a great way to feel connected to people and the world around you. There are lots of ways you can do this.

Community Projects and Plan

Find out how our staff and students work with local communities on a wide variety of projects. 

Community Projects

Community Grants 

Our scheme helps the development of projects, community activities and sustainable local action through funding and collaboration. We support local people's vision for a better Edinburgh. 

Community Grants 

University in the City 

Find out what facilities the University offers to Edinburgh residents. 

University in the City 

Staff Networks

Many staff across the University are involved in staff networks that have been created due to a shared goal, interest or experience.

Staff Pride Network

The Staff Pride Network is an inclusive network for LGBT+ employees and allies across the institution, including PhD students who prefer to attend staff events. They host regular socials including weekly coffee meetups, and other interesting events throughout the year. 

Staff Pride Network

Disabled Staff Network

The Network aims to provide a network of mutual support and a collective voice for staff with disabilities, restrictive health conditions, and caring responsibilities.   

Disabled Staff Network 

Edinburgh Race Equality Network

The Edinburgh Race Equality Network (EREN) is a network for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and allies committed to creating an environment where race is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly.


Sustainability Champions

The Sustainability Champions are a network of staff and students making the University of Edinburgh more sustainable. We will help you develop the skills you need to lead positive change in your area of work.

Become a Sustainability Champion


Be Active

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

 The University’s Active Lives team are always offering new and interesting ways to keep active for the benefit of your physical and mental health. This includes:

  • Health walks
  • At home workouts
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Managing acute injury
  • Introduction to running

Check out their webpage for more information:

Keep active

See also our section on Looking after your physical health [link].

Staff Discounts and Benefits 

Browse the site for a range of health and fitness related discounts. Our News Posts on the main page of the site keep you updated with new offers and information.  

Information is stored on the Pay and Reward SharePoint site, you will need your and password to access the site.  

Staff Discounts 

Keep learning

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Centre for Open Learning 

Provide short courses for the local community in a range of subjects.  

Open Learning - Short Courses 

Digital Skills and Training 

The Digital Skills and Training team help to develop the digital and information literacy, desktop and IT productivity skills of University staff and students to help them work, research and study more effectively and to support continuing professional development. 

Digital Skills and Training 

Finance Training Hub 

Specialises in a wide-range of training resources from hands on training sessions to user guides to online video tutorials. 

Finance Training Hub 

Free Short Online Courses 

The University of Edinburgh offers a range of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). 

Short Online Courses 

Health and Safety Courses 

The Health and Safety Department provide various training courses for University employees and students. 

Health and Safety Courses 

HR Courses and Resources 

Access to personal effectiveness, management and leadership resources, workshops and eLearning for all staff. 

HR Courses and Resources 

Institute for Academic Development  

IAD provide support for teaching, learning and researcher development; through leadership, innovation, collaboration and direct provision that benefits students, staff 

Institute for Academic Development Courses and Resources 

Social Responsibility and Sustainability  

Learn about social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh through our online training course 'Be Sustainable', or take your knowledge to the next level with 'Be Sustainable Advanced'. You can also find out how to request an in-person training session 

Be Sustainable 

Staff Go Abroad Programme 

Erasmus+ funding is currently available for staff to teach or train in Europe and beyond during the 2019/20 academic year 

Staff Go Abroad Programme 

Staff Scholarships 

Find details for available staff scholarships.  

Staff Scholarships 

Give to others

Doing something nice for a friend or stranger, or volunteering for a larger cause, can have a huge impact for other people, as well as helping you in looking after your wellbeing.

Giving to others helps, whether it's time, energy or money

It helps you and it helps others. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to acknowledge it. By giving we get something back in turn, and because it feels good, we should do it more.

Giving can take many shapes and it can start small, so why not give it a try.

Getting started

You will already be ‘giving’ as part of your relationships with family, friends, and even strangers. You’ll give time and energy to listen and support; to think about them and offer advice. You will also give to neighbours and strangers, through your interactions and encounters. Your warmth and friendliness will spread positivity and connection.

For years scientific studies have demonstrated how giving can benefit you. We often think about this as future benefits, and through the lens of volunteering, but you can benefit now and in many different ways. Giving can:

  1. Create a sense of belonging
  2. Give you purpose
  3. Give you perspective
  4. Teach you to help yourself
  5. Boost your self esteem
  6. Create a positive mental attitude
  7. Extend your network 

Hints and tips

  1. Start small: pick up something extra in the supermarket and donate it to your local food bank (there’s normally a trolley or basket in the shop) 
  2. Make it easy: telephone a friend and ask them how they are; put a note through your neighbours door
  3. Make it your identity: do you people recognise you for your generosity? Make giving a part of your identity
  4. Don’t miss out on a social norm: people are helping one another now more than ever – be part of the movement

So what’s next?

Don’t be afraid to make it simple and ask yourself:

  • Can I help someone or something?
  • Who can I help?
  • What can I give?

Keep the answers simple, and it’ll make it really easy to start. Tick off the benefits when you feel them and acknowledge what it means to you. Soon giving will become an important part of you looking after your wellbeing.

Giving to our environment

Our health is influenced by the environment within which we live, work and play. By becoming involved in initiatives which promote healthier environments, there are also opportunities to further your own health through engagement, social interaction and skill development

Waste and Recycling: The University is committed to continuous improvement of waste management practices and a reduction in the proportion of waste sent to landfill.

Waste and Recycling

Energy: The University seeks to raise levels of energy awareness amongst staff and students through the Switch and Save Energy Reduction Campaign.


Travel: The Transport and Parking Office provides information on walking, cycling, public transport, driving and travelling to the University.


Greener Scotland: Greener Scotland is a Scottish Government website which provides advice and support to reduce your carbon footprint.

Greener Scotland

Giving to our local community

There are a number of ways you can work with local communities to make a positive contribution to the lives of people in and around Edinburgh. Find out more via the Edinburgh Local webpages:

Edinburgh Local

Payroll Giving

As a University of Edinburgh employee, you can give to any registered UK charity including the University of Edinburgh through your pay. Payroll Giving is a simple, tax-efficient way of donating to the cause you care about most.

Payroll giving

Take Notice

Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends.

Being aware of the world around you and what you are feeling, and reflecting on your experiences can help you appreciate what matters.

Support Available

The Chaplaincy are running virtual mindfulness workshops, drop-ins and organise a weekly MindLetter which consists of an email and a theme for reflection. 

Mindfulness with the Chaplaincy

Know You More, one of our coaching partners, has put together a resource to help you understand your own reactions at this time of crisis and identify your personal strengths and resources to support you stay resilient and adapt.

 Self Care Resource

The Institute for Academic Development has produced a guide to provide researchers with the skills and awareness required to thrive in your research position.

Thriving in Your Research Position

How to be more mindful? 

The following is taken from NHS guidance on mindfulness 

Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness. 

Notice the everyday 

"Even as we go about our daily lives, we can notice the sensations of things, the food we eat, the air moving past the body as we walk," says Professor Williams. "All this may sound very small, but it has huge power to interrupt the 'autopilot' mode we often engage day to day, and to give us new perspectives on life." 

Keep it regular 

It can be helpful to pick a regular time – the morning journey to work or a walk at lunchtime – during which you decide to be aware of the sensations created by the world around you. 

Try something new 

Trying new things, such as sitting in a different seat in meetings or going somewhere new for lunch, can also help you notice the world in a new way. 

Watch your thoughts 

"It might be useful to remember that mindfulness isn't about making these thoughts go away, but rather about seeing them as mental events. 

Name thoughts and feelings 

To develop an awareness of thoughts and feelings, some people find it helpful to silently name them: "Here's the thought that I might fail that exam". Or, "This is anxiety". 

Free yourself from the past and future 

You can practise mindfulness anywhere, but it can be especially helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that, for several minutes, you have been "trapped" in reliving past problems or "pre-living" future worries. 


Mindfulness practices aid good sleep, and quietening of the cognitive reactivity that accompanies difficulty sleeping, by quietening the mind’s ‘driven-doing’ mode of mind, which activates the fight/flight and drive systems.

Here are some guided practices, recorded from the Mindfulness Drop-ins, to stream or download. These are best done a few times a week, to help train your mind to gather and settle.

Chaplaincy Mindfulness for Sleep