Reach out this R U OK? Day

10 Tips on How to Have a Conversation on R U OK? Day
You don’t have to be an expert to support someone going through a tough time. You just need to be able to listen to their concerns without judgment and take the time to follow up with them.
 

1. Know your colleagues

Relationship building is very important when it comes to mental health in the workplace. You will need to feel comfortable to approach a colleague that you may be concerned about. Also in order to pick up that someone is behaving out of character you will need to know how they usually behave.

2. Approach the person

It may be difficult to do, feeling a little anxious about approaching a colleague to ask them if they are OK is normal, it is necessary that we do it none the less. Think about whether you are the right person to approach your colleague, and if for any reason you think you may not be the best person, employ the appropriate person to approach your colleague you are concerned about. Make sure this is done with discretion and confidentially.

3. Explain why you are having this discussion with them

Be clear that you are concerned about the person and give specific examples of the observed behaviour change that sparked your concern. For example: "you are usually the first one at work and never take a sick day, however, I have noticed that over the past few weeks you have been arriving at work late and have had a few sick days."

4. R U OK?

Ask the question clearly and directly.

5. Listen

Listen to what the person is saying and also listen for how they are feeling. Do not interrupt, just listen and at the end summarise what you have heard to check that your understanding is correct.

6. Do not go into solution mode

It is not your responsibility to "fix" the problem or "save" your colleague – giving solutions can make the situation much worse.

7. Do not counsel the person

You are not a counsellor or psychologist and should not try to be that for the person.

8. Encourage the person to take action

Point the person in the right direction i.e. HR, EAP and/or their GP. You may have to support the person to seek help by going with them to HR, or making an appointment for them with the EAP or their GP and possibly accompanying them to the appointment if possible.

9. Ask what way you can assist

Allow the person the opportunity to explain what would be helpful for them.

10. Follow up

Don’t just leave it there, it is very important to check in with the person regularly to see if they are OK.

For further information about R U OK? visit www.ruokday.com

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Newport & Wildman provides confidential counselling services and psychological related training for employees, managers, family and friends. For more information, please contact us on 1800 650 204.

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Women's Health Week 2021

#WomensHealthWeek 6-10 September 2021

With the stress COVID has placed on everyone's lives, it’s now more important than ever to look after your overall health and wellbeing. This September, Women’s Health Week will be a great reminder to take time out to check in on your health and to keep making positive changes that can last a lifetime.

For more information and free resources visit the Jean Hailes' Women's Health Week Website. It's time to put your health first.

WHW20

With so many competing demands and expectations, the struggle to keep up with both work and home commitments can be extremely stressful. When stress persists to a point that a person feels they aren’t coping, it can affect the functioning of their day-to-day life as well as their overall wellbeing. The stressors of too much ‘juggling’ together with trying to do things well and be ‘good’ at everything is impacting on women and their ability to sleep, think clearly and make decisions.

For more information about Women's Health and Wellbeing contact the Newport & Wildman Team who can go through our Women's Wellbeing Training and Webinar options.

If you would like to arrange an appointment for yourself call us on 1800 650 204. Find out more about our counselling service here.

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R U OK? Building Connection - 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.

At the heart of what we do at Newport & Wildman is caring for others’ wellbeing – particularly their emotional health. For all of us affected by the lockdowns around Australia, our emotional wellbeing is probably being tested. I miss the regular face-to-face catch-ups with friends and family that, up until COVID, was a very regular part of my life. And most of us are now regularly seeing our work colleagues on a computer screen, rather than in person.

R U OK? Day on Thursday 9th September is a very timely reminder of the vital importance of checking in with each other – especially in these times of separation. R U OK? Day was founded by Gavin Larkin as a response to the suicide of his father. Gavin was determined to try to help others. He championed the fact that a conversation, starting with “are you OK?” can change a life – perhaps save a life. Out of that was born an extraordinary Australian organisation whose mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling.

R U OK? Day creates an opportunity for us all to start a dialogue about mental health, to create an environment of acceptance, and to normalise asking for help. At work, Managers play a vital role in the culture of their workplaces. The most direct way to encourage discussion is through talking and encouraging others to talk, especially about what might be uncomfortable topics for some – such as their mental health. This is particularly relevant during these times of lockdown when it is hard for everyone and where we may feel fatigued and unsure of how we can help others.  Leaders can empower their employees and facilitate a culture where it is normal to talk about how you feel and for others to actively listen without trying to ‘fix’ anyone. R U OK? Day is an opportunity to discuss the importance of learning the steps and skills on how to have the conversation.  Lots of great guidance can be found on their website.

Our emotions are our friends. They tell us how our inner world is going. Learning to listen patiently to our emotions, to hear what they are telling us, and then acting in a way that adds to our wellbeing, is a skill learnt over the course of a lifetime. Talking with others about how we feel can help clarify what we need to do to take good care of ourselves. Having someone ask you, genuinely, “are you OK?” and then them waiting quietly for what you have to say, might be the difference between you feeling confused and lonely or feeling there is hope and a way forward. When we as leaders are experiencing similar challenges as our employees and also feel responsible for our employees’ wellbeing, it is important to remind yourself that checking in and connecting with others is just as valuable and powerful for yourself. It’s okay to not have all the answers and to reach out for support when you need it.

Sally Kirkright, AccessEAP CEO

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Newport & Wildman Resources and Tools

At Newport & Wildman we're here to make it easier for you and your people to access support. Utilise our Login Areas, the AccessMyEAP App and our LinkedIn for wellbeing tools and mental health support.

LinkedIn

Follow the Newport & Wildman LinkedIn Page here. Follow us for tips on keeping mentally healthy, supporting your people, self-care and more. 

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Login Areas

Access Wellbeing Calendar Tools, COVID-19 Support, promotional materials and more in the Employee and Employer Login Areas.

Employee Login Area 

 

AccessMyEAP App

Track your wellbeing and arrange appointments via the AccessMyEAP App, find out more information here.

Your new app AccessMyEAP 

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Constructive conversations in times of stress - 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.

I want to start by acknowledging the effect of the lockdowns and increased restrictions on us all. Newport & Wildman are here to support you and help you face each challenge. This month we are focusing on Constructive Conversations because we know that communication and connection are so very important for our overall wellbeing.   

Conflict happens in the most harmonious of working environments. I think we have a great culture at AccessEAP & Newport & Wildman, but conflict still occurs. So it’s not about avoiding conflict, which can create an ‘elephant in the room’ situation - it’s about enabling it to happen in a constructive way. One of my favourite authors, Patrick Lencioni, talks about fear of conflict in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Great relationships require “productive conflict in order to grow”1. By engaging in productive conflict, it helps the Executive Leadership Team discuss and resolve issues more competently without any resentful feelings.

Psychological Safety is something we aim for at Newport & Wildman. The Center for Creative Leadership defines it as “the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” As a leader, I aim to nurture an understanding we are here not just to be responsible for our roles but to contribute without fear in a way that gives voice to our care about the organisation, the work we do, and our own and others’ wellbeing. It’s about speaking up. I think of teachers who say when inviting questions, “there’s no such thing as a silly question.” That’s creating psychological safety.

When I am in a conversation where conflict might occur or is occurring, I remember the importance of creating safety. I listen carefully to what undercurrents are happening – I try to hear who is feeling hurt, or unheard, angry or scared. Is there someone who hasn’t voiced their opinion yet and they need some encouragement? As a Leader, I encourage those I work with to respectfully and truthfully say what is going on for them to help avoid misunderstandings.

If something that happened in the past needs addressing, the Center for Creative Leadership has a model for structuring a constructive conversation.

  • First, you outline the situation. For example, “During this morning’s meeting…”,
  • Then you describe the behaviour, “…you interrupted me and others…”,
  • Then the Impact, “…and as a result, some people felt shut down and didn’t get a chance to express their ideas.”
  • Then you invite them to reflect – “I’m curious what you saw happening at this morning’s meeting?” You actively listen to what they say and explore solutions. As a leader, you can make clear what the behaviours are that reflect the organisation’s values.
  • Finally, you conclude the conversation and clarify any follow-ups, “Can we agree that….”

This way of talking about a problem creates a safe container to explore what happened and then shapes the way forward.

A constructive conversation is non-judgemental and empathetic. It builds relationships, understanding and leads towards beneficial outcomes. The great early 20th-century psychologist and philosopher William James said: “Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is your attitude.”  When we have a mindset of creating Psychological Safety, of aiming towards understanding, conflict can become an opportunity for growth, learning, and the deepening of trust.

 

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

1 Lencioni, P. M. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Jossey-Bass.

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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

We all know it's essential to prioritise eating well, exercise and relaxation in this incredibly stressful year but it can be a little easier said than done. Looking after yourself requires a multi-layered approach so below are some tips to help get you back on track.

Exercise 

  • Exercise provides a mood boost and a more energised outlook on life thanks to the release of endorphins. Exercise can help to lift low mood.
  • Exercising with a buddy, or as part of a team, provides a sense of belonging through the sharing of common interest. It also helps motivate and keep you on track toward your health goal.
  • Participating in a sport or reaching a personal physical goal promotes a sense of mastery, accomplishment and increases self–esteem. Set yourself a physical goal no matter what your current fitness level is. Remember tackling small ‘chunks’ of a larger goal will see you mastering your chosen activity in no time! For example, commit to a 20-minute power walk each morning and increase this by 10 min increments each week until you are walking an hour a day.
  • Exercise improves cognitive function. It has been proven decision-making and problem-solving ability improves after exercise. We all know the feeling of going out for a walk and coming back with a ‘clear’ mind. Some may even choose to use their lunch break as an hour to hit the gym, go for a jog, walk or train in a group.

Sleep

  • A good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience. Chronic sleep disruptions set the stage for negative thinking, depression, anxiety and emotional vulnerability. Being physically active throughout the day can help you get a restful sleep. See here for more tips to sleep well. 

Nutrition 

  • Every meal should include protein to ensure a continuous supply of the amino acid tryptophan to the brain Tryptophan is proven to boost mood. Add some fish, turkey, chicken, meat, eggs, legumes, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts or seeds to your meal.
  • Studies suggest omega-3 oil can reduce symptoms of depression. You can include oily fish such as salmon in your diet or even take a daily supplement. Vegetarians get similar benefits from flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds.
  • Excessive weight loss through extreme dieting can make your mood worse and should be avoided. Rapid weight loss and lack of good nutrition will deprive the brain of glucose and other nutrients that control mood. If you are planning to lose a few kilos do it sensibly with a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.

Water

  • An adult can lose up to 2.5 litres of water daily through the lungs as water vapour, through the skin as perspiration, and through the kidneys as urine. If you do not drink enough fluids to replace this loss you will get the symptoms of dehydration, including irritability, loss of concentration and reduced mental functioning. Replace fluid with drinks such as water and non-caffeinated herbal teas. Aim for about 2.0 litres each day, and increase water consumption on very hot days or when you have been exercising.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol has a depressant effect on the brain and can result in rapid worsening of your mood. Also, the body uses important nutrients to process alcohol; those who consume alcohol excessively may suffer from vitamin deficiencies, which can in turn impact mood and overall health. Limit your alcohol to special occasions and drink moderately, avoid binge drinking altogether.

 

For more information or to arrange an appointment, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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Let's talk R U OK? Day

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Thursday, 9th September is R U OK? Day and Newport & Wildman would like to support you and your people to feel confident asking “R U OK?”. 2021 has had its challenges, and this year we are focused on helping people have these conversations and feel confident to respond if someone says they are not OK.

A common theme for many people this year has been isolation. It’s unfortunate that one of our best weapons against COVID-19 is something that can negatively impact on mental health and wellbeing. This year we would encourage you to consider the benefits of bringing people together for R U OK? Day. Examples could include our virtual group training session, a virtual morning tea or a lunch and learn session using our Webinar.

R U OK? Day is often the busiest day of the year for us here at Newport & Wildman! Given the challenges we are facing, we expect this year to be the same. Reach out to discuss how we can support you and your people.

You can also download our Wellbeing Tool - Asking R U OK? through the Wellbeing Calendar on the Employee and Employer Login Areas.


R U OK? inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life.
For more information about R U OK? visit their website ruok.org.au.

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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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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.

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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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Connecting Mind & Body- 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 head further into 2021, I’ve been thinking about ways in which we can take control over areas of our lives and how this increases resilience and overall health. In particular, the connection of mind and body, looking at where Eastern and Western understandings of health can both give guidance.

Finding ways in which we can regain a sense of control in our personal lives despite what is happening all around us can help us with managing our feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. What are things we can do in terms of looking after our physical health? And what are the flow-on effects in terms of our mental health? In the West, we used to look at the mind and body as related but separate systems and illness as a faulty body part. While your sore wrist may be RSI from using a mouse, one way of treating it would be painkillers and maybe a steroid injection. A holistic response looks at your posture, how much time you spend on a computer, what forms of exercise you are engaging in. The Eastern understanding of the body would look at is as a connected system that includes diet, social connections, spiritual engagement – the totality of your life away from work.

A simple way to bring all of our systems together is to have awareness of what we eat and how we move. Both of these activities impact the body and mind. We know the relationship between exercise and mood. There is now a growing understanding of how food impacts our mental clarity and emotional wellbeing: what we eat and how we move influences how we feel, how we sleep – and how we think and work.

Problem-solving capacity increases after exercising – so the idea of clearing your head by going for a walk is an easy starting point; it also increases endorphins, thereby lifting mood.   The previous image of the dedicated employee who only eats lunch at the desk has been replaced by a workforce – led by compassionate leaders who lead by example – think walking meetings! At Newport & Wildman, we know how quickly time passes, so our Wellbeing Champions work with our employees to implement initiatives to remind everyone to take mindful and active breaks. As a leader, role-modelling good habits is essential. Recharging your batteries increases satisfaction and productivity and minimises burnout. Getting away from the workplace, whether on a break from your workspace or around your neighbourhood and enjoying the season – the shade of a tree in summer or bracing wind while rugged up in winter – activates a range of our senses, a key aspect of mindfulness. If you haven’t exercised much, start with a walk, and increase the time and the intensity. No matter what your current level of fitness is, working towards a physical goal promotes mastery and self-esteem.

High sugar/high-fat foods give a short term lift which is often followed by a sugar slump or binge-regrets. I’m certainly tempted by the array of quick and easy local café options but the majority of what I eat I try to be mindful about. The gut and the brain are intimately linked – what you eat affects the production of neurotransmitters. Serotonin is produced in the gut, and so good gut health has a significant impact. Looking after the gut means a high-fibre diet, low in processed food and sugars – which includes regulating your alcohol intake. As with exercise – make changes gradually, so you don’t set yourself up to fail. You may also notice that regular exercise and mindful eating will impact the quality of your sleep.  You can get the benefits of small changes as well as a sense of control in a year which still feels unusual.

The benefit to organisations that promote healthy food and exercise patterns are a healthier, more productive workforce. Over 2020, we prioritised health at Newport & Wildman with employees joining in online yoga, setting walking challenges and ensuring we made time for mindful activities. In the absence of a shared lunchroom for much of 2020, shared food became online shared recipes.

In changing times, flexibility is a necessary strategy to succeed, so keeping your employees informed and engaged about their health and your journey, as well as the business direction, will help to carry all of us through.

 

Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

 

Cover Article Image- Pexels image by Trang Doan

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