At the bottom of this article, you will find the translation into the other working languages of the ILO.

Amid the considerable upheavals witnessed, the ILO team embarked on a transformative retreat within Ukraine that was far from ordinary. This was not just a gathering; it was a pivotal moment, an expedition into the heart of resilience, unity, and psychological well-being amidst the echoes of war and the solitude of remote work. The serene landscapes of Zakarpattya region served as the backdrop to our story of rejuvenation, a testament to the human spirit’s indefatigable quest for connection and growth.

In December 2023, our journey towards resilience and unity was illuminated by the spirit of the season, reflecting the deep solidarity and support within the ILO community. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Staff Union for their pivotal role in co-funding the retreat. Their invaluable contribution made this transformative experience possible, highlighting our shared commitment to overcoming adversity and fostering a stronger, united front. This collaboration is a testament to the enduring power of partnership and shared vision in cultivating a resilient and supportive workplace culture.

Imagine a place where the air buzzes with the electricity of new beginnings, where each conversation is a bridge to understanding, and every activity a step towards collective healing. This was our reality during the three transformative days dedicated to self-care and nurturing the team’s psychological well-being. With the dual threats of COVID-19 and ongoing war as our backdrop, the retreat’s curriculum was a masterclass in emotional intelligence, resilience, and the art of thriving in adversity.

Our days were a mosaic of interactive learning, from engaging workshops that delved into the science of well-being to spirited discussions that explored the nuances of supportive communication. Picture us, a group of professionals, engaging in thematic games, quizzes, and even video reviews, each activity meticulously designed to fortify our mental resilience. We journeyed through the complexities of life balance in wartime, dissected the anatomy of stress, and emerged with a newfound understanding of how to weave psychological safety into the fabric of our daily interactions.

Amidst the deep dives into emotional intelligence and stress management, there were moments of unexpected levity. Picture this: a group of professionals, usually glued to their screens, trying to navigate a makeshift obstacle course. It was a reminder that sometimes, the path to resilience is filled with laughter and the willingness to embrace the unexpected.

One of the retreat’s most illuminating revelations was the undercurrent of stress that runs beneath the surface of professional life. Through self-assessment exercises and candid feedback, we confronted the specters of burnout and workload overload, acknowledging the silent toll they exact on our collective psyche. It was a reminder that the battle for mental health is often fought in the quiet moments, in the spaces between our actions and words.

The retreat was not just an oasis of tranquility in the midst of chaos; it was a clarion call to action. The unanimous verdict among us was clear: the journey does not end here. The insights gained and the bonds forged have laid the groundwork for a continuous psycho-social support program, a beacon of hope and a testament to the ILO’s commitment to its staff’s well-being.

As we look back on those three days, it’s evident that what we experienced was more than just a retreat; it was a renaissance of the spirit, a collective vow to navigate the uncertainties of our world with grace, resilience, and an unwavering sense of unity. In the end, we didn’t just learn about psychological safety; we lived it, breathed it, and vowed to carry its principles forward, into the heart of our work and beyond.

Version française(deepl): ici

Spanish version (deepl): aquì

One thought on “<strong>Unity Amidst Adversity</strong>”
  1. A big Bravo to the Ukraine team and to all those who supported and organised this retreat. It demonstrates the importance of support to foster mental health and wellbeing especially in these difficult circumstances. What we all experienced during the lock-down periods throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – the burden that remote work can create – is ongoing for the colleagues in Ukraine who are also burdened with the uncertainties of the war situation. The support through the retreat certainly needs to be followed up and pursued in the long run. The safety, health and wellbeing of colleagues concerns us all. Reach out to each other. You are not alone. You are part of the ILO and Staff Union family.

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