The CHO’s prescription for wellbeing

When the Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, came and spoke with us last year, he had an important message that even at the peak of battling a global pandemic, he conveyed the importance of setting aside time for his own wellbeing.

This is a message we can all take on board as we head into a new year. It’s timely to reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t during 2020 and set some new goals, including some about how we keep ourselves well.

Professor Sutton reflected on what got him through one of the toughest periods of his life in 2020.

“I don’t have any magic solutions, but there are four pillars which we should all probably try and get right”.

  1. Sleep well – set the phone aside as much as possible before bed
  2. Eat properly
  3. Exercise regularly – it doesn’t have to be strenuous, but it should be regular
  4. Time apart from work.

On the fourth point he expanded, “for me that’s meditation. But it can be giving the phone over to someone else and make sure you’ve got time not to just be ruminating on work and be caught up in the day-to-day hurly burly.

“I think that’s really important, no matter what way you find is best suited to you.

“That (the four pillars) was all very helpful in terms of being calm and steadfast.”

Dr Sutton went on to say that he also consulted with a psychologist to help him manage the heavy burden of people dying as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

“The psychologist had great lessons on self-care and on pushing back on the continuous work demands.

“I’m very free about reflecting on that because in a leadership role, it’s important the permissions that you give to other people to say that they’re struggling, or to ask for help, or have a shared experienced of struggle,” Dr Sutton said.

He also commented that fantastic support from family, colleagues and friends had helped get him through the toughest time in his life.

Remember, we have a range of supports in place for our employees.

If you want to go back and watch the discussion with our CE Andrew Stripp, you can view the employee forum at any time.



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