Over the last few months, we have altered how we live and work due to COVID-19. Many employees understandably feel uneasy, uncertain, and disconnected as we continue to navigate our way through this ‘new normal’.
There are many things beyond our control right now, which may leave us feeling anxious. Despite this, there are still things within our control that can help us maintain a sense of purpose and wellbeing.
We can do this by staying connected with one another, maintaining a routine whenever possible, looking after our physical and mental health, and seeking professional support when we need it.
Chelsea Konyk, Registered Nurse and Mental Health Consultant, spoke about the importance of employees looking after their mental health during this uncertain time:
“In this ‘new normal’, there are many things we can do to strengthen our overall wellbeing.
We can train our minds, just as much as we can train our bodies, to be more resilient to stress, develop better coping techniques, and to improve how we respond to challenging situations.”
Chelsea has put together some tips and resources that can help you stay connected with your workplace and create some structure at home. You can also visit myGB Poster Designer to customise posters to support your employees mental health and response to COVID-19.
Looking After Your Health and Wellbeing while Working from Home
Whether you're working from home or off work temporarily, it's important to stay connected to your colleagues.
This can be achieved by:
- Planning regular catch-ups, using video chat if possible
- Having a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling
- Work catch-ups don’t have to be about work, use them to build connections with one another.
According to Chelsea Konyk, employers have a unique role in supporting employees during COVID-19:
“Staying connected reminds employees that they are cared about, even if it’s just a quick check-in to see how someone is doing.
It promotes a safe space to express concerns, reach out for help, and enables supportive relationships within the workspace.”
Looking After Your Health and Wellbeing at Home
Implementing the below steps can support your mental health and wellbeing while at home:
- Try to maintain a routine that includes waking up and going to bed at the same time
- Go outside daily for exercise and fresh air
- If you are working from home, take regular breaks and work normal hours
- Set two small achievable tasks every day
- One task that will make you feel you’ve accomplished something; such as a household chore, online learning, exercise, or walk outside
- One enjoyable task like reading, meditation, playing a game, stretching, or phoning a friend.
'Sleep hygiene’ means having good sleeping habits.
Having a good sleep cycle will positively impact your mood, energy levels, concentration, memory and ability to handle stress. You can improve your sleep hygiene by:
- Staying off your phone for at least an hour before bed, as the bright light impacts your ability to fall asleep
- Avoiding caffeine in the evening
- Limiting daily naps to 30 minutes
- Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day
- Developing a sleep ritual/routine
- Creating a calm bedroom space
- Avoid watching TV or gaming in bed.
Mental Health Web Resources
There are many great mental health resources that you can access from the comfort of your home. They are designed to promote positive health and wellbeing.
Free online tool for people struggling with anxiety and depressive symptoms
- Online and phone counselling with mental health professionals
- 6-8 weeks of guided support
Support through the pandemic
- Phone support, web chat support, online community forum and crisis support
- Translation services and content available in languages other than English
- A website with tools and apps for mental health and wellbeing
Take control of your wellbeing through online courses
- Supervised by your clinician OR self-guided courses
- Provides lessons, action plans, and progress tracking
Mobile Apps to Support Employees
Visit your online App Store to download to your mobile phone. All apps are free but may have in-app purchases available.
- Helps reduce the physical symptoms of stress anxiety by slowing down breathing and heart rate (compatible with Apple phones/ watches).
Headspace: Meditation & Sleep
- Hundreds of guided meditations on everything from managing stress and anxiety, to sleep, focus, and mind-body health.
J&J Official 7 Minute Workout
- 72 different exercises and 22 workouts, with options ranging in both duration (7 to 32 minutes) and intensity.
- Address feelings of anxiety and depression by developing healthy coping strategies. Simple, quick, evidence-based tools to improve your mood.
Daily Work Outs Fitness Trainer
- Over 100 simple exercises that you can do from home.
- Increasing clarity, calm and contentment and reducing stress via mindfulness instruction and encouragement. Includes targeted programs for adults, kids, and families.
What's Up? - A Mental Health App
- Using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy methods to help you cope with depression, anxiety, anger, and stress.
- Mindfulness made easy with a daily meditation practice. Assisting with sleep, developing self- esteem, gratitude and happiness and reducing stress.
Daily Yoga: Workout & Fitness
- A large volume of content for all fitness levels
Professional Mental Health Support
If you're struggling with low mood or feeling more anxious, beyond what self-care can improve, please visit your GP. Your doctor can develop a Mental Health Care Plan which allows you to access psychology sessions under Medicare.
Some psychologists are still accepting patients for face to face appointments, but many are providing care through telehealth or video appointments. Your GP can assist you to find a treatment provider who best suits your needs.
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