Caring for yourself
We have very natural and varied reactions to disruption and uncertainty, and it’s “normal” to become aware of discomfort or even distress when so many areas of our lives are being impacted.
We will have individual responses according to our levels of tolerance for change and our different coping mechanisms. It’s good to reflect on where we find ourselves on the spectrum of coping and know that for some, this can change from day to day.
Coping with change can mean managing a sense of loss for routine, a fear of uncertainty and a sense of loss for the immediate company of others. It’s important to recognise the impact these changes can have.
Following are some practical tips and reminders of things that can help.
Tips for caring for yourself and managing during these times
- Make use of support services whenever you need to - as you know, talking about any fears and concerns can help you find ways to manage them. Identify when it would help you to reach out - notice when your usual coping mechanisms may not be working as well as usual. Beyond Blue has a free online and phone counselling service, and Lifeline has an online support service. You can speak with your manager and also access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Check your organisation’s intranet page for further details
- Be clear on what you can and can’t control - make a list of the things you are concerned about. Acknowledge the things that are beyond your control. Refocus your energy on what you can control by making an action plan for how to address these things
- Get good quality sleep - this can protect your immune system and help refresh your mind. Recognise signs of sleep deprivation such as yawning, moodiness, forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate. Work out what helps you sleep better
- Keep informed - use reputable sources of information. Visit government websites such as NSW Health and visit NSW Health Facebook. Limit exposure to media coverage and second-hand information
- Understand your unique response to types of stressors - different people respond differently to impacts or challenges. HETI has a resource to equip you with the tools necessary to recognise, understand and manage stress effectively
- Stay connected - this gives a positive boost to your mental wellbeing. Find ways to stay connected with your family, friends, work colleagues and community. Phone and video calls, online groups and social media can help bridge the physical distance and maintain feelings of social connectedness. Reach out to those in similar situations. Turn to your colleagues or manager for support - share your experiences
- Take a break - take a deep breath, stretch and hydrate when working. If you can, take a short walk to a different space
- Taking care of your mind and body - getting fresh air and sunshine every day, within the COVID-19 restrictions, can help you recover from pressures you may feel, and contribute to post-work revival. Discover the staying active during COVID-19 activities. There are free, guided in-house activities such as yoga, guided meditation and workouts that can be accessed online. These are just some of the things that can help sustain your energy levels
- Eat healthy immune boosting foods and stay hydrated - eat a balanced, healthy diet to support your immune function, your mood and your energy levels. Discover the Make Healthy Normal tips and tools. Take time to prepare your food, it can be enjoyable, and include foods such as citrus fruits and green vegetables. Follow the good advice to drink plenty of water, and avoid large quantities of sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol. The WHO, BBC and Healthline provide information on healthy foods that can boost your immunity during this time – these can be good reminders and support your positive self-talk
- Adapt to a new normal - Life as we knew it has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty in our work and family lives. With no clear end in sight, and with changes occurring daily, it can be difficult to adjust to this ‘new normal’. Discover nine tips to help you adjust to our new normal
- Wellbeing advice line - NSW Health has launched a bespoke 24/7 wellbeing advice line, COVID Connexion, for health workers to support them during the pandemic. COVID Connexion will provide a tailored service specifically addressing health workers’ experiences, and will connect staff with referral pathways to ensure additional or ongoing support to those who need it most. It is independent, confidential and staffed by highly skilled professionals.
Resources to explore