Teesside NHS staff invited to reflect on their journey through COVID-19 in new labyrinth

A new interactive labyrinth asks staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to reflect on the pandemic and the impact it has had on their emotions.

Different to a maze, the labyrinth in the spirituality centre at the University Hospital of North Tees has a single entry and exit point.

Rather than solving the puzzle of a maze, staff have the opportunity to instead figure out and potentially resolve any puzzling emotions that COVID-19 and lockdown may have brought on.

Jim Wright, lead chaplain at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The labyrinth represents the journey through COVID-19.

“While we’re all eager to find a way out of the pandemic and the national lockdowns we have been through, it’s important that we take some time to reflect on the journey we are on and what lies ahead.”

The labyrinth asks the question: ‘What now?’

All staff at the Trust are welcome to take some quiet time out of their shift to ask the question as they journey through the labyrinth at their own pace. There are photos and additional questions along the route to help bring out any emotions brought on by living and working through the pandemic.

Jim continued: “It’s a sort of physical mindfulness and meditation exercise which encourages people to consider their journey through this difficult period.

“You cannot get lost in the labyrinth – there’s one way in and out. I hope it allows people the opportunity to clear their mind and not get lost in their own emotions and thoughts. The idea is not to focus on the centre of the labyrinth as a goal, but to enjoy each step for itself.”

Staff journeying through the labyrinth will meet a wooden bowl in the centre where they can write down any questions they have for themselves, emotions they have discovered along the way or anything they feel is important.

While visitors are still restricted in the hospital, it is important for everyone, not just NHS staff, to reflect on their journey through COVID-19 and the journey yet to come as we look for a way out of the pandemic.

Take 15 minutes out of your day to go for a walk and ask yourself:

  • What have you learned from the pandemic that may help you again in the future?
  • What do you want to ensure will never happen again?
  • What – and who – do you feel grateful for?
  • What pains are you carrying because of COVID-19?
  • What kind of a future can you build that will best honour the memory of those who have died or have lost others?
  • What now?

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