As the number of COVID-19 cases rise by the minute across the globe, so too does the impact it is having on individuals and community mental health.
It’s understandable that, in this unprecedented time, people may be feeling fearful, worried, anxious, overwhelmed and helpless. The 24-hour news feeds and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus, the health of loved ones, financial concerns and the ever-changing ability to take part in community and social spaces is having a direct impact on mental health.
Adding to this, there is a sharp rise in pre-existing mental health challenges becoming apparent due to the stringent rules of self-isolation. Individuals displaying anxiety are starting to report an onset or more frequent panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is reportedly on the rise and, most concerning, individuals suffering from depression have an opportunity to easily disconnect from friends and family.
Further, we have found ourselves dealing with the double-edged sword of ‘working from home’. On one hand, we save time travelling, gain greater autonomy, observe lower absenteeism, have the ability to walk the dog at lunch time and complete some of those household chores.
On the other hand, we can find ourselves becoming more distracted and maintain blurred boundaries with home life. Add a healthy dose of home-schooling of children, along with the daily monotony and lack of social face to face connection, we are quickly seeing the sudden adjustment to an altered way of working which requires a significant amount of self-awareness, discipline and conscious self-care.
1. Communicate changes openly and honestly to reduce any ambiguity. By being more transparent and discussing worst-case scenarios, managers cannot only reduce stress and anxiety but also disengagement of the task at hand.
2. Provide guidance on the ‘altered way of working from home’ including workspace environment, boundaries and the importance of physical exercise and nutrition. This will allow for optimal.
3. Maintain daily ‘check ins’ with your employees online to monitor their wellbeing both physically and emotionally.
4. Reset your expectations of your employees. Many employees are parents who have found themselves juggling work/life balance on a different scale. Talk to each employee individually about strategies on how to maintain realistic working outcomes.
5. Empower your employees through involvement of task and project decision making and creation. Make it a real team effort to maintain enthusiasm towards the outcomes. To eliminate miscommunication and maintain clarity on objectives and requests, have an employee summarise the meeting and send to all parties.
It’s important to know if your organisation has a specific employee assistance program (EAP) channel. Connect Psych services has partnered with Powerhouse Hub to provide organisations with convenient and flexible online counselling.
At Connect Psych, we are all about you. We bring the therapy to you in the comfort of your chosen environment, at the time of your choice and on a communication platform of your choice (voice, video or live chat). The Connect Psych platform cleverly matches you with a registered therapist who specialises in your challenges; eliminating time and disappointing sessions with other therapists.
There will be good days and bad days, more restful days and more stressful days. Be aware of this and expect it.
If you felt you did not achieve what you wanted, or the children were particularly difficult, it’s ok.
Be kind to yourself; take some time out that night with a guided meditation, a book, an online yoga class or a funny movie and start again the next day.
Dr. Natalie Flatt, PhD
Dr Natalie Flatt Ph.D is co-founder of Connect Psych Services. Natalie has extensive experience in Solution-Focused Cognitive Behavioural presentation and interventions to assist with anxiety, resilience, stress management, relationships, workplace conflict and compassion fatigue.
Her therapeutic work offers practical, evidence-based solutions to assist professionals to overcome a wide variety of difficulties to ensure ongoing emotional resilience, well-being, and improved self-confidence; resulting in higher work life satisfaction and productivity.