It’s ok not to be ok

It’s ok not to be ok. It’s even more ok than ever to not be ok through our current pandemic. When you find yourself consistently challenged in ways you’ve never really experienced before, over an extended period of time, it’s easy to feel drained. We are in a period of time that we can say is unique for most of us as our lives change and evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment that you find yourself reading this take a pause and acknowledge that in spite of all the challenges you have done the best you can do, and that’s more than can be expected. Remember, “It’s ok not to be ok”.
 
It’s a natural human response to say to someone who is going through tough times “I understand”. We recognise that for many of us who are either in heightened physical distancing or supporting our people in that situation, that right now we empathise with you. We may not understand, but we are genuinely cheering and supporting you through these challenges. We’re here for you and will stand beside and with you. We recognise that many people are just trying to make it through the day before doing the same the next day. We also believe it’s very important to remind you that we will get through this together.

If you need to prioritise your self-care download our Personal Tool for Keeping Mentally Healthy.

NW Personal Tips Strategies Keeping Mentally Healthy

Support is available. Reach out to us here at Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

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Effective Communication - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

The everchanging COVID situation unfolding around the nation continues to fuel a media frenzy and the constant communication can be overwhelming. As leaders it’s important our communication, both spoken and written, doesn’t add to people’s anxiety or uncertainty. It’s about striking the right tone, being honest and clear, and being a stabilizing, reassuring influence on the organisation.

When I plan what I’m going to say, I start by listening. Take the time to ask questions, be curious and approach the conversation with an open mind. It can also help to practise standing in the other person’s shoes to see an issue from their perspective.

Misunderstandings can create a lot of extra work and frustration. I learnt from our wonderful clinical team the importance of regularly checking my understanding. “Just checking, you’re saying that…” not only helps us get on the same page, it tells the other person you're engaged and interested in exploring the topic with them. Another tool helpful in exploring a topic, and something we practice in our own meetings, is “Yes and…”. “Yes, that’s a really interesting point, and what about we build on that and also consider…” creates a positive cycle of ideas. “Yes, but…” pushes another’s idea away in favour of your own.

Being vulnerable and being ok with silence are both really important to me. We live in a very noisy world, where there’s an expectation we should have all the answers. Admitting to mistakes, seeking support, asking for help, apologizing, and acknowledging we don’t have all the answers are often seen as weaknesses. Not so. They are signs a leader is aware they are part of a team effort, where others’ contributions are valued – a leader can’t do it by themselves. As Brené Brown says “Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” Being ok with silence also takes courage. To leave space, rather than jumping in to fill it, allows room for reflection, which can lead to new, creative ideas, rather than simply recycling the old. Silence can feel uncomfortable, but respecting those natural pauses allows time to think and feel, and in groups can give opportunity for the quieter, more thoughtful introverted members to have their say. 

Communicating with each other is the most natural thing in the world. We are born wanting to do it. And we can keep learning to do it more effectively. They are skills we can all constantly improve, and they are skills that underpin the work we do at Newport & Wildman.

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

 

Newsletter Cover Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels
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Stress Down Day 2021

 

Saturday 24th July 2021 is Stress Down Day, a fun and easy initiative designed to reduce stress and raise vital funds for Lifeline Australia. Stress Down Day promotes happiness, encourages help seeking and raises awareness of suicide prevention through raising funds for Lifeline's crisis support services. For more information, check out the Lifeline Website.

"Research shows that 90% of Australians feel stressed - with 74% of people reporting being stressed from work. This Stress Down Day we are asking you to 'task yourself with 30 minutes of movement' in recognition of the importance of taking some time out to relax your mind and body and give yourself a break:

  • 30 minutes of yoga
  • A walk around the block or along the beach
  • Swim
  • Ride
  • Dance

Whatever form of movement makes your body feel good!" Stress Down Day.

Self-care and managing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Get moving!

It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but exercise is one of the best things to do to improve your mood and reduce stress. The trick is to find what suits your lifestyle and daily routine. Gentle repetitive exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress.

Hobbies that focus attention onto other things are also good stress relievers. Take up a new activity unrelated to current work or personal commitments - activities that give a sense of achievement and satisfaction are best. Set aside time each day to fit in a stress relieving activity, this should become a priority in your life not just an optional extra.

  1. Identify your stressors

Identify the causes of stress. More than one in five Australians reported mental health issues as a source of stress. These stressors related to both external and internal factors including workplace pressures, family issues and problems related to personal finance. Once you have identified the triggers, you will find they are much easier to manage.

  1. Work out your priorities

Start your day by writing down your main concerns, prioritise them and tackle each challenge one at a time. Make your tasks achievable and tick each one off once complete. It is a great way to focus your energy on each single task and once complete you will feel a sense of achievement and progress.

  1. Practice saying no

Sometimes we become ‘yes’ people –‘yes I will get that done, not a problem,’ when really our stress levels are soaring and we should have said no. If you are already feeling overloaded, think hard before committing to other people’s needs and expectations. Remember you can always say, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do that right now I am just too busy.’ No is not always a bad thing.

  1. Take your time

We could all learn something from the saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race’, by slowing down and going at our own pace. Most of the time working slowly but consistently will achieve more than becoming over-stressed and frantic.

 
It is important to remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry or irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times like these. It is important to monitor your own physical and mental health. For more information or to arrange an appointment, please contact us on 1800 650 204.
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Men’s Health- Reducing Stigma in the Workplace

It's Men's Health Week from the 14-20 June. The focus is on Connecting for Men's Health, find out more on the official website.

Misunderstandings about mental health can lead to prejudice, discrimination and stigma. While there have been changes recently in the media reporting on mental health concerns, stereotypes are often perpetuated in sport, films, media and social networking especially by images portraying unrealistic images of men as strong, self-sufficient and “practical providers”. In reality these are unhelpful and often untrue and, there is even more scope for the role of media and social media in debunking myths and raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The most effective way to break down prejudice and stereotyping of mental health issues is through; education, awareness and listening to people’s personal stories.

Men who suffer with Mental Health issues feel societal stigma is often more disabling than the illness itself. Coping with a mental health issue often includes increased use of drugs and alcohol, risk taking behaviour and social isolation. Over time these activities negatively influence self-esteem and confidence and in extreme circumstances can lead to suicide. Men are afraid of the impact on their relationships and career if they open up and talk about or show their feelings. Often feelings like anger or aggression can mask underlying depression.

Research by the Mental Health Council of Australia (2013) found that discussing a mental health issue is still taboo in the workplace. Research conducted states that 69% of people are uncomfortable to disclose a mental illness to their employer, while 35% would never disclose. The study reported that 48% of respondents had taken time off work for a mental health issue and not disclosed the reason to their employer. These are alarming statistics and reflect the need for action to eliminate the stigma and fear of disclosing a mental health issue in the workplace.

1 in 8 men will suffer from some form of mental health issue over a lifetime. Life’s issues such as the death of a loved one, illness, injuries, genetics, interpersonal conflict as well as drug and alcohol abuse can all contribute to levels of anxiety and depression. Seeing a person ‘with’ a mental health issue rather than labelling them is a helpful shift. Acceptance by peers and family, knowing that there is help available and being supported to access help are critical in helping individuals seek the appropriate assistance.

Organisations need to have procedures in place to manage mental health in the workplace and work towards eliminating the fear of disclosure. They should provide training to leaders and supervisors to help them have sometimes difficult conversations with the team members around their personal wellbeing and potential mental health concerns. We often are reluctant to offer support because we are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

What can Newport & Wildman do to help?

We can provide a comfortable and private space to talk where there isn’t pressure to bottle things up. A person who is experienced in understanding human emotion and behaviour can listen without judgment and without consequence. We can even offer tips or strategies if that’s what is wanted or needed.

EAP sessions are free and confidential. You choose how much you want to say and what you want to focus on in the sessions.

How to arrange an EAP session

All that you need to do is contact us on 1800 650 204 and our Client Services Team will book you in for an appointment with one of our clinicians.

 

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Take Your Dog to Work Day 2021

Friday, June 25th is this year's Take Your Dog to Work Day. If you are lucky enough to have a well-behaved pup that can come in, make sure you get approval from your employer before you bring your pet in. With many people still working from home, we also encourage you to bring your dog and any other pets to your online meetings! 

What should I consider before taking my dog to the office?

It’s important to ensure this does not adversely impact on the health, welfare or working environment of employees, volunteers or visitors to office, or on the health and welfare of the animal or other animals in the office. For tips to make the experience run smoothly check out the RSPCA's Website.

Newport & Wildman and AccessEAP Pets

Here are just some of the pets that have come into the office. Many more join us on Zoom calls!

Take your dogs to work day

 

Cover Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels

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Positive Psychology and Change - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

We’ve all been going through so much change over the past 18 months – border closures, social distancing, businesses rapidly adapting to their employees working from home, and now trying to find a balance between work from home and office. It’s hard to find stability in the midst of so much uncertainty.

This is where it can be useful to remember that we all have what’s called a “negativity bias”. This is the way we often pay more attention to information we feel is negative. If we do this a lot, it can become harder and harder to solve complex problems as we get stuck in the fight-flight-freeze response. To rebalance the scales, it can pay to consciously give our attention to things that we feel are good and useful. This is where Positive Psychology comes in. Positive Psychology focuses on our strengths, building on what works. When applied to working with change and uncertainty, it gives us an approach and a set of questions that help us to flourish.

Finding the most useful question is half the battle when trying to solve a problem. “How do we avoid difficulties when introducing a particular change in the business” leads to a very different answer when compared with “How can we draw on our strengths when introducing a particular change.” In my experience, the first question leads us towards negativity, the second towards positivity.

I use a journal to regularly reflect on how I can bring greater positivity to the way I am a CEO, the way I am in my life, and how I initiate change. Taking time at the end of each day for conscious reflection helps me to refine my leadership style, to think through how I want to approach change from a more positive mindset. It also helps to get my thoughts down on the page rather than them circling around in my head just before I go to sleep!

At Newport & Wildman, we approach change through the lens of Positive Psychology.

  • We frame our process of change positively, so we’re aiming towards something we want rather than away from something we don’t want. We underpin this by first reflecting on what our strengths are and checking we are making use of them.
  • We are curious about what the future could look like, and then we aim to be clear what success looks like – it helps create a clear path, and we’ll know when we get there!
  • We design a way forward and then draw on our strengths to tackle challenges – it helps us feel more confident and engaged.
  • Finally, we deliver the change by taking one small step after another - our confidence grows with the success of each small step.

I believe the principles of Positive Psychology have made me a more effective leader. I invite you to try them out or do some deeper investigation if you’re already familiar with them.

 

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

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Get to know your AccessMyEAP App

It's new and released for free download via Google Play and the App Store. We’re making it easy for you to access your own EAP and wellbeing services with our intuitive and dynamic app.

  • Put yourself in control of your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Make a booking to speak with one of our counsellors.
  • Read tips, strategies and new ways to support your mental health and wellbeing journey.
  • Choose your own wellbeing tools and resources based on your preferences, goals and interests.
  • Take your Wellbeing Check regularly. The questions are based on the positive psychology PERMAH model. 
  • Monitor your results with your personal Wellbeing Tracker.

This free service is provided to you by your employer as part of your EAP services. 

We’re here to help you be your best at life and work. Get started today. 

Google Play App Store.

Please find FAQs regarding the download and use of the AccessMyEAP App, via the AccessEAP website - here.

 

 

 

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5 Health Pillars

There are many ways to exhale, and one particularly helpful one is cleaning out the unnecessary and outdated information in our brains. Like a spring clean in our house or car, a cleanout of the mind requires taking time and reflecting on all aspects of life to see where you are at right now. When looking at the five pillars of health (social, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual), the exhale starts by reviewing all five aspects. Looking and rate each pillar from one to five (5 being the best); how well do you think you are doing the following?

Self Reflection

When completing the rating, try to avoid comparison or judgment and just take some time to sit down and think. If you prefer pen and paper, use an exercise book to write down each pillar and its rating. Then list ideas of what may need to happen next with the above categories. Have a think about what is in balance in your life, what you are generally drawn to and what helps you heal – this may be a road map to assist you to see what you can do more of to get all five to a rating of 5.

Taking the time to reflect on how you process what is happening in the world and in your close environment (colleagues, family, and friends) is a big part of the exhale. Thinking about your approach to people and how you interact with them is a way to move after a big event. The reason being that those who are self-aware appear to have more empathy towards others; they are better listeners, can think more critically and report that their decision making improves. These all appear to be useful skills in a post-pandemic world.

If you are not sure where to start with your life audit, improving your wellbeing or would like some suggestions on how to self-reflect, start with our app, AccessMyEAP. Inside it has a wellbeing tracker that allows us to keep an eye on how we are carrying out our day-to-day wellbeing. Also, our friendly and supportive clinicians can also assist you with face to face, video or phone appointments focussing on self-reflection, growth or wellbeing. Contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

AccessMyEAP:

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Grow your Emotional Intelligence - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

Emotions, especially positive ones, can motivate us to create opportunities and find ways through difficulties. And emotions can be messy. They can get in the way of thinking clearly and they can pull us in opposing directions. Whether we are feeling on top of the world or quite down, it’s very helpful if we can bring awareness to what is happening for us emotionally so we can make wise choices on how to act.

This is where Emotional Intelligence comes in. Often abbreviated to EQ, it’s the ability to identify, understand, and handle emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, build wellbeing, communicate effectively, overcome challenges, and build healthy relationships. The term Emotional Intelligence first appeared way back in 1964 when it hit popularity with the writings of Daniel Goleman in 1995, and it has been in popular use ever since.

Emotions underlie everything we do, and they change the way we think. The ‘broaden-and-build’ theory of emotions, developed by Barbara Frederickson, says that positive emotions, such as happiness and joy, broaden our awareness, encourage curiosity, and build more creative and varied ways of thinking and acting.

As a leader, I am very aware of how important it is for me to be aware of my emotional state, especially when I am making important decisions or responding to situations. I want to approach decision making and situations with a healthy sense of self-confidence and optimism. I know I make better decisions when I feel like this. Responding form feelings of fear or anger are much more likely to lead to unforeseen and unwanted outcomes.

There are 5 main characteristics of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills. It’s not just about our own emotions. EQ is also about getting better at noticing and identifying others’ emotions so we can relate more easily with other people, and build relationships based on trust and care.

How can we all get better at EQ? Here are some things I try to remember to do myself and I see others at Newport & Wildman doing too. It helps me to incorporate my emotions skilfully into my work and into the relationships I build with my colleagues:

  • Practice being present when you are with others and create opportunities for connection.
  • When discussing something, take time to invite others to share their perspectives and listen to how they feel, not only to what they are saying.
  • Tune into your own emotions: A helpful way to do this is at the end of each day, write in a journal what emotions and moods you experienced. If you have trouble identifying them, you can use this list as a starting point: joy, fear, sadness, disgust, anger. How did your emotions feel in your body? How did they influence your decision making and behaviour? How did they impact those around you?
  • When you notice you are highly emotional, take some time to calm down by using breathing or exercise before engaging with others or making decisions.
  • Take a risk, and be vulnerable with someone you trust.

 We are all emotional beings. Bringing awareness and intelligence to our emotions makes us more effective managers, leaders, family members, and members of society.

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

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Joint Effort

The pandemic has forced us to look more closely at the way we work particularly in terms of team and people interactions and dynamics. The way that our teams function is crucial to our workplace culture and productivity. Whether your team dynamics have changed drastically or not so much, see our tips for an effective teamwork refresher below: 

1. Review Objectives and Goals

Successful teams have clear objectives that all team members are aware of and working toward. There is a clear vision and shared values. Team members are committed to the goal and live the values.

2. Participation

Active participation is evident and encouraged by all team members. Team members focus on their areas of strength for the greater good of achieving the team outcomes. Effective teams want the team to succeed and place team success above individual recognition and reward. Everyone carries their weight.

3. Trust

Fundamental to effective team functioning is trust. This allows for an environment where people are willing to risk, and to make mistakes, thus pushing the team out of their comfort zone. Trust also enhances team co-operation as team members are not competing, they co-operate to achieve team goals.

4. Continuous improvement/learning and Feedback

Team members in successful teams are open to learning new things and adapting old ways of doing things if a better way is highlighted. In order for continuous improvement individuals are open to providing and receiving feedback about the work and the way the work is done. This feedback is never personal; it is always focused on work and improvement.

5. Interaction

Team members have some fun together and celebrate success. They build healthy work relationships with one another which lends to contribution and freely sharing ideas.

6. Effectiveness review

Work and processes are constantly reviewed for what worked well and what could have been done more effectively and efficiently. These learnings are then applied in the future, thus review is for a purpose and makes a difference.

7. Clear expectations, Honest Communication and Transparency

Expectations around standards, time frames and behaviour is explicit, not assumed. Team members are willing to communicate in an honest way with one another about ideas, through feedback and review, sharing both the positive and negative. Successful teams usually house individuals who do have their team member’s best interests at heart and genuinely share information and ideas and challenge when appropriate. Successful teams explain and understand WHY things are occurring. If for some reason they cannot share information they explain it to colleagues. There are no hidden agendas.

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Reinvest in Resilience

Being resilient is the ability to bounce back after challenges. During this unprecedented time, we all find ourselves in, building resilience and trying to manage our stress levels can seem even more difficult than usual. As a manager or leader, you will be experiencing your own emotions as well as feeling responsible for your people or teams. As leaders, we are used to being in control and providing guidance and support to others, but we are also human.

Remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry and irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times. Identify your responses and feelings and ensure that you look after yourself and get support if needed. It is difficult to support others when we are experiencing heightened stress. If you notice behavioural changes like being snappy in a conversation that you would not normally worry about, or being abrupt towards someone you care for, take a moment to use the STOP technique.

  • STOP whatever you are doing
  • TAKE a few slow breaths
  • OBSERVE what you are thinking and feeling –remembering that thoughts and worries are not facts
  • Feeling calmer? Go on with the task. Still tense? Get up and move, make a cup of tea, walk the dog, do the dishes. A five-minute break is really restorative!

Click below to refesh on our top ten tips for Resilience.

 

Stress & Resilience Training

Would you like further support?

If you would like to know more about Managing Stress and Building Resilience we have a number of Learning and Development Opportunities available. Our Webinars are ideal if you want a taster of a topic or our Training is ideal if you want to support genuine behavioural change or provide an optimal learning experience for your people to attain and apply new skills and knowledge.

 

Contact myself or the Newport & Wildman Team on 1800 650 204.

Melita Griffin, Director, Newport Wildman.

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Showing Stress

Stress is a natural state which allows our minds and bodies to prepare for the unexpected. Some stress is good: It helps us prepare for a big task and protects against imminent threats. However, a constant state of stress is exhausting and bad for our physical and emotional health.

We show stress in four ways:

Physically: feeling the rush of adrenaline, headaches, muscle tension.

Emotionally: becoming snappy or teary with little provocation; losing our confidence and vitality.

Cognitively: black and white thinking; catastrophising and dwelling on unhealthy thoughts; being indecisive.

Behaviorally: increasing our drinking or drug use; avoiding people and places; eating comfort food or not eating at all; insomnia.

By identifying indicators that we are stressed, we develop self-awareness that allows us to intervene before we feel overwhelmed.

 

To see the full tip sheet, download your App, AccessMyEAP via Google Play and the App Store. Please note the contact details on the App are AccessEAP contacts details. Please call 1800 650 204 to arrange an appointment.

 

 

 

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Identifying your Stress Signatures - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

As we turn towards the second quarter of the year, it's a good time to reflect on how we are travelling and what we want to create as the year continues. With recurring lockdowns and travel restrictions, many of us did not have the break we were hoping for at the end of last year – and without that break, batteries could be a bit low and edges a bit frayed. And now we are facing floods and the loss which accompanies the damage. So if your energy levels are low, you're feeling overwhelmed or a bit "blah", it is not surprising. To support those that may have been affected by the recent events or if you have been directly impacted, please see our article, Support through Natural Disasters, which includes individual support strategies as well as information for managers and leaders.

Stress can show itself in many forms. As a leader, I am on the lookout for signs of stress and low energy in the people I lead – and in myself. Stress might take the form of headaches and tension; it might be losing your confidence or being irritable; it might be having difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Or stress might cause you to reach for that extra drink, that extra piece of cake, or you might lose your appetite altogether. These are all signatures of the effect of stress to be aware of. 

Resilience is a word that is used a lot when it comes to discussing how to respond to stress. The trick is to make the word meaningful for yourself and for those in your organisation, and not just an expression that is equivalent to 'move on and get over it'. The word resilience has been around since the mid-1600s. It's from the Latin meaning 'to spring back.' And that meaning is part of the problem. Sometimes springing back to the way we were is absolutely not what is needed. If I notice my golf-swing is not producing the results I want on a particular course, it may need to adapt to the unfamiliar conditions rather than persist with what I usually do. I like the definition of resilience given by CSIRO Research Fellow Brian Walker – "Resilience is… the ability to adapt and change, to reorganise, while coping with disturbance. It is all about changing in order not to be changed." Resilience is about:

  • having available to you a diversity of styles of responding
  • being self-aware and open to challenges
  • not being over connected with others and your environment (you might get overwhelmed), or under-connected (in which case you may not learn and you might miss the bigger picture)
  • being able to respond quickly
  • being ready to transform if necessary.

This is a much more nuanced version of resilience than the one we are often told about.

So, how might we all put this version of resilience into practice? I believe it starts with being curious. Curiosity lies at the heart of the joy and excitement of discovery, of finding new ways of doing things, of finding our unique approach to the world that uses our strengths and insights. Curiosity also means we aren't afraid to make mistakes. It's said that when a reporter asked him, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." A growth mindset is vital.

So, as you face into the second quarter of the year, take an energy check for yourself and others in your organisation, and have a think about what resilience can meaningfully mean to you and encourage others to do the same.

 

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

 

Newsletter Cover Image- Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

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Support through a natural disaster

Australia is no stranger to natural disasters, e.g. bushfires, droughts, cyclones and floods. These events impact entire communities, including organisations, their employees and families. The disruption to daily life can be significant. People may be forced to evacuate their homes and workplaces leaving cherished possessions behind as they turn their focus to survival. It is common to experience a range of intense emotions following a traumatic event like a natural disaster. The immediate loss of control and personal safety is frightening and can lead to severe or acute shock, distress and anxiety. People who have faced potential loss, injury, or even death from natural disasters will experience a range of feelings immediately, weeks and even months later. The memories and associated fear that a similar event will reoccur can be long lasting.

For individuals, see our tips and strategies (download pdf here).

As a manager, there are a few things you can do to support your employees (download pdf here):

1. Normalise reactions: Accept that people will experience a range of emotions and that it is normal. Once the event is over it doesn't mean people's feelings go away. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure people that their intense feelings are normal given the disaster.

2. Try to keep calm and lift spirits through community involvement: Provide reassurance that "we will get through this together" and focus on the things that were managed well, e.g. the brave responses of emergency services. People feel united in the shared experience and can support and comfort each other. This connection and sense of helping is critical to coping.

3. Ask how you can help: Ask if there's anything that you can do to assist employees or if there is anything they need? e.g. flexible hours, transport or belongings.

4. Do not catastrophise: It is common to reflect on the "what ifs" or "what might have been". Do not speculate on how much worse it could have been. Avoid comparison of stories as each person has a right to their feelings.

5. Encourage people to talk about their experience because keeping it inside isn't helpful - avoid reassurances such as "it could have been worse". It's common for people to want to escape their reality, they may deny or withdraw. They may need to delay their emotional response while they focus on survival or practical things so check in regularly and gently.

6. Avoid probing questions: Curiosity is part of human nature. Asking people for the details of a traumatic experience may bring it back or trigger other emotions, wait until they are ready to share their story.

7. Encourage a familiar routine: Routine and normal day to day activities provide a sense of control and security, which is reassuring when a natural disaster has a significant effect on their lives.

8. Returning to work: Having a sense of purpose and connection is essential to recovery and often work provides this. Facilitate this process by offering options such as flexible hours. The recovery process takes time, and there are often ups and downs so plan for people to have setbacks. Each individual will be different and recover at their own pace.

As a trusted partner your EAP is here to help: Remind your employees about their confidential EAP service and let us help you support your people. For further guidance call our Manager Support Hotline on 1800 650 204.

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Diversity & Inclusion Resources

This month have celebrated International Women's Day and Harmony Day within Harmony Week. Harmony Day is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values.

These are just two days that are highlighted but we encourage you to celebrate and implement diversity and inclusion in the workplace across all of March and throughout the year. To support your organisation through this, below are two great resources.

Inclusive Language Guide: Respecting people of intersex, trans and gender diverse experience 

Learn how to use inclusive language in a respectful way with this Inclusive Language Guide

Universal Music UK
Creative Differences: A handbook for embracing neurodiversity in the creative industries

Learn about neurodiversity, which refers to the infinite variation in cognitive functioning that can lead to differences in thinking, attention and memory. The handbook explores the experiences of people with specific facets of neurodiversity such as ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and Tourette Syndrome.

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Sleeping Well

Looking after our physical health is a significant part of looking after our overall wellbeing. Having a healthy lifestyle includes making the right choices such as healthy eating, being active and maintaining a healthy weight. Another aspect is getting a good night's sleep.

We know we need sleep but how do we get a good night's sleep? 

It's important to have sufficient, regular, good quality sleep so we can function effectively in our busy lives and help to maintain strong, robust immune systems. Nine hours a day is the standard health professionals suggest while realising that for many people, because of multiple competing demands, this is often difficult to achieve. The importance of short “nana naps” cannot be underestimated, as well as short, still “zone out times” during the day to help us to refresh our brains and bodies. If we review our sleep pattern there are probably some small things we can do to make our routine healthier – and we’re likely to then be surprised by the difference they make.

Some Useful Tips

  • Aim to go to bed at a similar time as often as you can so you can have enough hours to help repair and heal the body from the stressors of the previous day.
  • Spend a quiet period immediately prior to turning in to help your body and mind settle. That means no phones, tv, tablets etc.
  • A warm bath or shower before bed can trick the body into calming down, loosening.
  • Get to know your body and the effects of alcohol, spicy food and other stimulants too close to your bedtime.
  • Darkening the room so your body automatically prepares itself for rest can be helpful.
  • If you regularly wake up during the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep, remember that it may help to get up, have some water or a soothing tea, sit and quietly breathe, rather than lying in bed tense and frustrated that you are awake. Once we notice you are feeling more soothed and settled return to bed.
  • Some people find it helps to read for a while or have a shower before trying again. It is to do with interrupting the pattern of tension and trying something different that may help to soothe your mind and body.

It is worth formulating your own list of practical, healthy, accessible, common sense ways to soothe your body and mind, so you can get optimised times of rest and rejuvenation.

To arrange an appointment, contact us on 1800 650 204.

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Financial Check-Up

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a wide-ranging impact on all of us. We know that one thing that Australians often worry about is their financial situation. Many of us may experience financial stress as a result of physical distancing requirements and the impact this has had on employers and jobs. It is perfectly normal to worry about our financial situation, even in the best of times, as we try and provide a good life for ourselves and our loved ones. With so much uncertainty across a number of industries and employers, and if our partners or loved ones have lost their jobs, financial related stress may be a key concern for many.

Employers can play a role in helping their employees cope with financial related stress by recognising the impact it can have on different groups in the workplace. It is important to recognise that there are many varied reasons for financial stress. For example, our aging workforce is facing many challenges, including their fear of entering retirement, paying for their children’s higher education and moving their parents into nursing homes. On the other hand, millennials are facing economic instability, crushing student debt, stagnant wages and looming uncertainty about the future.

How individual employees handle financial stress varies greatly. Employers should aim to reduce the impact that this type of stress can have at work in the form of presenteeism. Breaking down and understanding the underlying issues can be the key to helping employees become more resilient.

Here are some basic tips on reducing finance-related stress:

1) Learn to budget: If your financial situation is causing you stress, it’s vital to create a budget. Record all income and expenditure and know exactly what you spend on non-essential items. Be critical of what you are spending and cut down on any unessential items if necessary.

2) Pay off debt: Review and consolidate loans to help get them under control. Pay off your credit card debt and remember to start with the credit card with the highest interest rate.

3) Review fees: It’s important to review your bank and bank products as your life circumstances change. Compare and contrast bank fees and ensure you have the best products for your individual situation. Your bank manager can help talk you through the best options.

4) Save for a rainy day: Having an emergency or ‘rainy day’ fund can help alleviate financial stress knowing you have something in reserve. Start putting money away every month – even if it’s just a small amount, it all adds up.

5) De-stress: It’s normal to feel worried or anxious when times are hard but consider the impact financial stress is having on your life. Take time to relax and de-stress. Taking the right steps towards getting your finances in control will help ease stress.

 To find out more about our Financial Coaching services, call us on 1800 650 204.

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2021 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar

Our 2021 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar has launched!

It's time to put Wellbeing In Focus with our 2021 Calendar of tools, training and resources. 

The Newport & Wildman Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is a great way to plan quarterly activity around the areas that may be of particular importance to your organisation while making sure you are aware of a wider range of topics. The Annual Planner gives a great overview while the quarterly themes help you to deliver information in manageable parts, highlighting importance and focusing attention. Over the course of the year, you will have access to new and updated resources! 

Our 2021 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar Annual Planner is available through the Employer Login Section and of the website.

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Realistic Resolutions

We've reached 2021 and with that, another year of expectations and resolutions for the year ahead. Chances are, at some time in your life, you've made New Year Resolutions and then broken them only to repeat the cycle the following year. It is common for people to get caught up in a pattern of resolving to make important changes across life and then not following through. This year, keeping these few simple tips in mind may help to increase your chances of success.

Pick Realistic Goals

The surest way to fall short of your new year’s resolution is to set your goals too high. Remember to keep your goals realistic, small and achievable.

Define Those Goals

A common pitfall for people is that they are too vague about what they want to achieve. Spending time developing a specific, concrete action plan with the details of each small step will help increase your chances of success.

Plan Ahead

If your action plan involves tasks which need to be done daily or weekly, set specific times of the day or week which you will use to work on it. The key is to stay flexible and adopt changes needed to be successful in your goals.

Have a Contingency Plan

Decide how you will deal with temptation. This could include practising positive thinking, reviewing the reasons why you set goals in the first place or calling a friend.

Track Your Progress

Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Rewarding your small accomplishments will help keep you motivated along the way.

Seek Out Support

Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell family and friends who will be supportive of your resolve to make a change in your life. Let them know how to help you achieve your goal.

Keep Trying

Accept that there will be times when your resolve weakens or you will have that slip-up. Don’t beat yourself up – simply start over again! Keep trying and enlist the help of professional services if needed.

To arrange an appointment, call 1800 650 204.

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Wrapping up 2020

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP.

In recent newsletters, I’ve highlighted a consistent theme – clear and kind communication. In 2020, being clear about what we require from those around us is what moved us forward in this year of uncertainty.

As 2020 gets ready to shuffle off into history, it’s time to cast a glance around at what has been important this year. Putting people first in terms of protecting their health, safety and ability to keep working has been front and centre for most organisations. Organisations who have staff working away from their offices tell us about prioritising team connections while being separated. Not just employee briefings but also birthday celebrations and family moments, and re-creating informal time where smaller groups log in with a cuppa and just talk. Like people used to do informally in the lunchroom.

Thank goodness Australia’s response – and particularly the bravery of Melbourne – has led to some sort of normality returning. Most of our offices have been welcoming staff back in – in staggered at-work and work-from-home rosters. It’s such a relief to hear laughter in the lunchroom again.

This feels like a time to reflect on how important kind, as well as clear communication, is. How you talk and write is as important as what you say or write. Emotion is transmitted as we communicate. Think how heated conversations about masks, protests, and overseas elections can become. So taking the time to pause and consider the emotional understory of our communications is paramount.

Caring communication is not just about what you say. It benefits people when you just listen. If someone is struggling, ask how they are, and just listen. A lot of us want to fix things – give people a solution to a problem that they still might not fully understand. Rather than give advice, just let them tell their story. Our clinical staff often say that their best work happens in the sessions where they talk the least. Letting someone talk though issues allows them to understand their situation. Understanding and relief follow.

If Christmas and the festive season is about giving and being together, then the best gift we can give is true kindness. Connect with those who are isolated, family members who have drifted away, old friends and find out how they got through this year because we did get through. And now is a time to pause and consider how all of those around us are more precious than any physical gift we could find under the tree.

Happy Holidays. Best wishes for a safe and restful festive and holiday season.

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

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