Riding the rollercoaster – managing your wellbeing during COVID-19

As we work at a pace during this pandemic, there are some crucial steps we can take to ensure we are still strong and well at the end of the marathon. And they all start with you.

Those who have been tuning into the Webex sessions for employees and managers over recent weeks, will have heard Barry Bloch, Head of Organisational Transformation, remind us that looking after our wellbeing and recognising the signs of burnout in ourselves and others, is the cornerstone of how well we carry out our role in caring for the community.

Barry has been bringing together material to share with individuals and teams, which help us think about how we are managing our behaviour and anxieties as we work through a difficult time.

As we head into another week, it’s worth taking some quiet time to read, watch and think about how you are managing your wellbeing and that of those around you at this time.

 

Your wellbeing

Barry’s presentation called How to look after yourself in challenging times is available on the health and wellbeing page of the coronavirus website for employees.

He starts with the seven steps for healthcare workers to cope with COVID-19 anxiety or distress.

In his presentation, Barry says “As you work through these steps, it’s really important to be sequential and help others around you too.

“You need to take the first three steps to look after yourself and your loved ones before you consider the steps in the workplace.”

The first three steps are:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and accept that others may react differently
  2. Take care of your basic needs (sleep, eat well, exercise, take time out, try not to rely on stimulants)
  3. Stay connected with your loved ones.

Take a look at the slides online to work through the seven steps, based on expertise from reputable and international sources:

https://coronavirus.monashhealth.org/health-and-wellbeing/#past-event-emotional-support

In clinical settings, models that involve a buddy model may also work well, particularly during a crisis.

One of Barry’s key messages is that it is ok to ask for help!

 

Helping your team

Barry speaks about a concept called ‘listen loudly’ where we are inter-active listeners, ensuring we are clearly present throughout the conversation. “We create a space where we can have safe, open and honest conversations, where we show care for each other’s feelings and find ways for the other individual to work through their feelings,” Barry said.

This is a key tool for managers too.

Also online on the Managers page of the coronavirus website, you will now find a presentation from last week’s session ‘Managing in the context of COVID-19’, which is about helping teams manage anxiety.

Barry has introduced some one-page tools, and models, designed to help you speak with your teams and give you 2 or 3 simple steps to help others when they are feeling anxious or need support to build resilience.

You will find the tools for managers starting on page 16 of the presentation.

Barry is working with teams as needed and with Executive Director People and Culture, Karen Lowe, and her teams in People and Culture and Occupational Health and Safety to ensure there is a clear plan for how we support employee wellbeing in coming months.

This plan will build on the extensive information online and available through Latte – search for ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ for manager and an employee online learning modules.

 

Where to get more help



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