How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

Over the course of an adult’s life, employees spend up to 4,821 days at work. This creates an opportunity for managers and HR leaders to start a dialogue with their employees who may be struggling to cope and to create an environment of acceptance and to normalise asking for help. Managers can ensure they are providing helpful information and the support structures which employees may need.

Awareness and education is the key for developing a good understanding of mental health and how to support employees who are at risk. It is important to develop and implement policies that raise awareness of mental health and work towards reducing stigma in the workplace. If you talk about mental health openly and honestly it goes a long way towards acceptance of mental health in the workplace.

Building a culture of trust and support is critical in reducing the stigma so employees can feel safe to talk about their mental health without fear of consequences and trusting that there will be help and support. Protective factors can be developed and implemented, such as training that is related to leadership, positive morale, collaborate decision making, good communication and team collaboration. The evidence shows that acceptance and good working relationships, especially with managers, are a strong protective factor.

There is no one way to improve mental health in the workplace, but an action plan that develops and implements supportive measures to help improve wellbeing, both physical and mental, has been shown to help improve employee productivity, lower absenteeism and promote a positive workplace culture. Managers are in a unique place to promote positive mental health at work, and also in a position of care to their employees. For many people, going to the boss isn’t always the desirable option as they fear it’s inappropriate or they could even lose their job. Therefore, it’s a responsibility for managers to approach the person they may feel worried about and have a discussion on what can be done to help, including referring them to Newport & Wildman. Managers are not always aware or confident in talking about mental health with their employees and can be supported through our Manager Support Hotline.

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

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Mental Health - Share the Journey

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP, highlighting the importance of sharing your Mental Health journey and asking for help.

September was a very busy time for us with everyone getting involved in R U OK? Day. We were very excited to partner with many organisations to run training sessions, toolbox talks and webinars. R U OK? Day may be over for another year but the message and purpose of the foundation continues. With World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October and each state dedicating a week or a whole month to Mental Health Awareness, now is the perfect opportunity to keep the conversation going. We are passionate about breaking down the stigma around Mental Health, encouraging and supporting people to ask for help. Connecting with colleagues and checking in on them is an important part of Mental Health Awareness and links with this year’s theme for Mental Health Month, “Share the Journey”.

The research continually tells us that asking for help can be a powerful tool in keeping ourselves mentally healthy. It also means that the people in our lives will trust us more to ask for help when they need it. Asking and receiving help is a way to ensure that we all share the journey together. “Share the Journey” is an effective message around mental health but it can be hard to put strategies into place on a day to day level. It can be helpful to think about ways to deepen your own social connections to avoid isolation, increase your leisure time and find inexpensive and sustainable ways to reduce stress. Walking, particularly in open spaces and/or where you can appreciate nature is about the cheapest way I know but this is personal and you need to find what works for you.

We have had our own journey to make sure that our people are healthy and their wellbeing is in our focus. Last year we invited employees from different teams to volunteer as our own Wellbeing Champions. This allowed our employees to be involved, to contribute and engage in our wellbeing initiatives. One of our recent themes focused on Self Care. The Wellbeing Champions invited each employee to think about their self care strategies which were then shared with all employees. It was a great initiative with lots of engagement. An effective strategy highlighted from the initiative was the importance of being able to ask someone for help. We were challenged to “put as much energy into caring for ourselves as we do into caring for others.” For some, this was the difficult part. As an organisation, we learnt the most important part of the challenge was for us to individually do something and form a new habit, rather than just thinking or talking about it. Many organisations have their own ambassadors whose role is to check in and encourage teams to look after themselves as well as working passionately to reduce stigma and ask for help.

I encourage you to invite a friend, colleague, team to come along with you this month and participate in whatever activities you do. It can be simple such as walking together at lunchtime, sharing a healthy lunch, getting a meditation group together or a Friday afternoon gathering in the kitchen to celebrate the end of another great week. Whatever activity you choose, the research tells us that if it something that you enjoy, it will go a long way to improving your mental health.

Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

Tasmania Mental Health Week: 6-12 October

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3 Things to do on R U OK? Day - Talk, Talk, Talk

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. This month we have a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP, highlighting the importance of communication from managers and leaders when it comes to Mental Health.

When I started as CEO at AccessEAP about eight years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be talking about suicide prevention. Talking about my feelings, especially my feelings at work was something I was not entirely comfortable with. It made me feel vulnerable. Today I am passionate about the work that we do at AccessEAP. We talk about mental health and we encourage and support others to talk about mental health and suicide prevention. September 12th is an important day for us at AccessEAP. R U OK? Day is a theme we are passionate about and one of the busiest days in our Wellbeing Calendar. It is also closely aligned with our vision for all workplaces to have mentally healthy employees.

The "R U OK" Foundation aims to raise awareness and prevent suicide. Suicide in Australia is growing year on year, with a 9.1 per cent increase from 2017 to 2018 and has become the leading cause of death among people 15 – 44 years[1]. Mental health issues are one of several causes that contribute to this worrying trend, with depression present in 43 per cent of suicides between 2017 and 2018[1]. We are seeing an increase in organisations requesting support for their employees following the loss of an employee to suicide. The impact of suicide on families, friends, peers, colleagues is devastating and immeasurable, making it vital that we all become involved.

Throughout an adult's life, they will spend up to 4,821 days at work. This suggests that workplaces can and need to play a role in suicide prevention. Through our work at AccessEAP, and my own experience, I know that talking about mental health and suicide is challenging and confronting. People may feel helpless and unsure of what to say. People may experience anxiety about how people may respond if they ask, "R U OK?". What if they are not ok, what will I say or do? It is normal to feel anxious and to avoid asking or talking about mental health. Some of our organisations ask us to come to their workplaces but request that we don't talk about suicide, to soften our language because they are concerned about how their employees may react. I understand it can be confronting or challenging, I and the team at AccessEAP are committed to talking about mental health and suicide and to help others learn how to have those conversations. It is important to talk about mental health, to break down the stigma, to tackle the barriers which prevent people asking for help if we are to make a difference to the lives of people with who we work.

R U OK? Day creates an opportunity for managers and HR leaders to start a dialogue with their staff about mental health, to create an environment of acceptance and to normalise asking for help. Managers can play a vital role in the culture of their workplaces. The easiest way is through talking and encouraging others to talk, especially about uncomfortable topics such as mental health. Leaders can empower their employees and facilitate a culture where it is normal to talk about anxiety and depression. They can learn the steps or the skills on how to ask those who may be struggling and can provide helpful information and the support structures which employees may need. For tips on how to have a conversation on R U OK? Day, see our latest newsletter article, Time to Connect.  

I could talk about a business case for creating mentally healthy workplaces, instead, I will encourage you to have a conversation about asking R U OK?

Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018

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It's Here! Women's Health Week 2019

Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week is a week dedicated to all women across Australia to make good health a priority. The two biggest barriers for women not maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ‘lack of time’ and ‘health not being a priority’. Women’s Health Week is the time to do something for your health and start making positive changes that can last a lifetime! Click the below calendar for the more information about the daily activities.

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 Newport & Wildman to go through our Women's Wellbeing Training and Webinar options.

WHW Week

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Time to Connect

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.

10 Tips on How to Have a Conversation on R U OK? Day

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 Friday drinks after work and the life and soul of the party; however, I’ve noticed you have not been coming for the past few weeks." OR "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.

9. Ask what way you can assist

Allow the person the opportunity to explain what would be helpful for them. For some it will be joining them for a walk, for others it might be a ride to work.

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 the not for profit organisation visit www.ruokday.com

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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Mindfulness Matters

When thinking about today's fast-paced society, the words "busy", "frantic" and "rushed" come to mind. There seems to be no end to the 24 hours of emails, messages and alerts from all channels of social media. This level of constant stimulation takes a toll on our minds and our physical body, as our adrenaline and nervous system try to keep up. While this is the reality, it is important that we also take time out; to relax and calm our minds and bodies. To have a break, refresh and recover to avoid long term consequences that may arise in physical symptoms of fatigue, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

We are not necessarily designed to multi-task or spend hours sitting down in front of a screen or to be exposed to constant stimulation. Mindfulness is a quick and highly effective way of "taking a break" and calming down both our nervous system and our racing thoughts. There is a growing body of evidence that mindfulness has benefits for our health and wellbeing.

Most of us operate through impulse and habit with shortening attention spans. Being mindful allows us to bring our attention to the present and to be conscious and aware of what is going on around us as well as within our bodies. It helps us to focus on and improve our productivity and mood. The more we practice being mindful the more resilient we can become.

It can often be hard to find the time to practise mindfulness however it does not need to take a lot of time and as with anything practise helps us to make it a habit. Here are some tips based upon S.T.O.P. to help you get started:

S - Stop what you are doing

T - Take a deep breath slowly and exhale slowly

- Observe your breath, your body, your feelings and thoughts

P - Proceed with awareness

  • When you wake up don't jump out of bed, lie there and take some slow deep breathes and become aware of your surroundings, your body and any thoughts – the deep breaths will slow down your brain. Practise every day and it will become a habit.
  • During the day set a timer/reminder to use S.T.O.P.
  • Make a cup of tea/coffee or have a glass of water and focus on what you are doing. Stand and focus on drinking, or sit down, close your eyes and become aware of the cup/glass, how does it feel, take a sip slowly (don't gulp), how does it taste? ask yourself how does my body feel? Relaxed? Tense? Irritated? Become aware and breathe it out. Go back to what you were doing or onto the next task.
  • During lunch use S.T.O.P. to act as a circuit breaker. If you can, go for a walk or sit outside – leave your phone in the office so you can look around and notice the weather, the surroundings, the people around you. Nature is a great soother as it changes slowly. Feel the ground you are walking on.
  • On the way to work or home have a ritual, listen to music (calm music), really listen, pay attention and breathe slowly. Look around you and notice your surroundings – without judgement.
  • Finally, think about one thing you are grateful for every day. You can do this when you wake up or you can do it on your way home from work or as you get into bed.

Slowing down can be challenging but it is worth the effort.

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman

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Get moving this August

This August, Guide Dogs Australia is challenging you and your dog to walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days (that’s roughly 2km every day!), which is no small feat in winter weather! For more information visit the Guide Dogs Australia website.

If dog walking is not for you, there are so many ways to get active and boost your health this August with get healthy!!

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Ride a bike instead of taking the bus.
  • Sit less - walk & talk while you’re on the phone.
  • Think of ways you can slip incidental exercises into your day!

For even more tips on boosting your health, see our latest post, 7 tips- A Healthy Body Boosts a Healthy Mind.

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Tips for Dealing with Worry and Anxiety

Watch your thinking

Beware of “What ifs” and a tendency to assume the worst in your mind. This is called catastrophic thinking.

For example, a simple negative comment about one aspect of your work could trigger.. “What if my manager is not happy with me… I am performance managed…. I lose my job… I can’t pay the mortgage….” This leads to a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety.

Worry and Anxiety

Watch your body

Anxiety tends to impact everyone’s body differently. Do you get an upset stomach, a tense neck? Other signs of stress and anxiety?

  • Do a simple relaxation - close your eyes and scan through your body from your head to toes, relaxing the muscles in each area, letting them be loose and heavy. If you deliberately relax your body it will give your brain the message that it does not need to continue to send out ‘stress’ hormones and both your body and mind will calm down.

Plan your worries 

  • Set aside 15 minutes a day ‘worry time’. If you find yourself worrying about the same things over and over again and not making any problem solving progress try restricting your worries to a set time. When it is finished, leave them aside until the next day. If you start to worry during the day, jot down the topic and leave it for your ‘worry time’.
  • Write down your ideas for’ problem solving’ whatever issue is causing your worries. If after 5 minutes of thinking about them again you cannot add anything new to the list tell yourself: “I’m not achieving anything new now. I’ll revisit this when I can add something to my problem solving list”.

Some relevant websites: • Australian Centre for Post-Traumatic Mental Health • Anxiety Treatment Australia • Shyness and Social Anxiety Treatment Australia  • Beyondblue  • Black Dog Institute

 For more information or if you are still feeling overwhelmed, please contact us on 1800 650 204.
 
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Making Mindfulness Easier, a Mental Health App Review

To help Make Mindfulness Easier, our Clinical Team at Newport & Wildman has created a Mental Health App Review. 

For the full App Review, click here.

Calm Mind – Recommended (any audience)

This app focuses on four major categories of wellbeing:

  1. Wake/Sleep   2.Relax   3.Meditate   4.Breathing

The app and some of its basic features are free, however, the user has to pay for additional content.

Headspace – Highly Recommended (younger audience)

The Headspace app is geared more towards a younger age cohort and integrates social media into the app. The app provides hundreds of guided meditations; which focus on several different topics with a new topic every day. The app also features sleep sounds; tutorial animations; a meditation progress tracker; and exercises that are designed for children. This is a highly recommended app for children and teenagers struggling with anxiety and/or depression.

Unwinding Anxiety – Highly Recommended (older audience)

Unwinding Anxiety is a mental wellness app that aims to help the user control their anxiety. The app features daily exercises that the user can complete across 30 different modules. The app uses evidence-based tools to help the individual if they are immediately experiencing stress or anxiety, cravings, strong emotions etc.

The free trial provides access to 4 video modules, behaviour change tools including a stress test and stress meter, daily mindfulness and guided meditations. The app has been created by a clinical research scientist, neurologist and psychiatrist – Justin Brewer. He is also a practitioner with over 30 years of mindfulness experience.

Headgear – Recommended (created by The Black Dog Institute)

This is an Australian created app which, from the outset, acknowledges that although the app has been proven to help wellbeing for those in a "working populations" it does not replace getting the right help and support from professionals. It is a mental fitness app that focuses on mental health. It features a mood tracker; a toolbox with breathing and thinking activities; and a 30-day challenge where the user completes daily mindfulness and behavioural exercises.

Daily Yoga – Recommended

Yoga is one of the few combined physical, mental and emotional tools which has consistently been proven over time (other than cardiovascular training) to increase mental health and wellbeing when practiced on a regular basis. The app is easy to use and provides 7 free short videos on basic yoga poses and breathing exercises.

For the full App Review, click here.
For more information, please contact us on 1800 650 204 or visit our website www.newportwildman.com.au 
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Stress Less this July

Stress Down Day is Lifeline’s annual fundraising campaign held on Wednesday 24th July. People are encouraged to participate in (a) stress reducing, fun activities such as wearing slippers to work or school, or dressing up or down, and then making a donation to Lifeline. It’s easy to get involved and all funds raised support Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support service. For more information, check out the Lifeline Website.

Stress is almost inevitable in today’s world but here are some helpful hints and tips to manage your response to stress and achieve more balance in your life.

  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.

During Stress Down Day take a moment for yourself, relax and just have fun. Try to reflect, breathe and follow some of these useful hints to help get you through your stressful moments.

For more information or assistance, contact us on 1800 650 204.

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7 Tips - A Healthy Body Boosts a Healthy Mind

1. Exercise provides a mood boost and a more energised outlook on life thanks to the release of endorphins.  It also improves cognitive function and has been proven to increase decision-making and problem solving ability. 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.

2. 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!

3. 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.

4. 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. Don't forget to aim to drink about 2.0 litres each day, and increase water consumption on very hot days or when you have been exercising. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 on Alcohol, Drugs and Your Wellbeing, Click Here.

If you have any queries, please contact us on 1800 650 204 or visit our website https://newportwildman.com.au/

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Mythbusting Sleep

There is a plethora of information available on sleep, it's in the media, dispensed by family and friends and of course at the touch of a link via “Dr Google”! It can be overwhelming sifting through numerous and sometimes conflicting articles. What sleep routine should we follow? How many hours constitutes enough sleep and how much is too much? Here at Newport & Wildman, our clinical team have put on their myth-busting gear and provided simple, actionable information on getting some important shut-eye.

We all need sleep and it is often the thing that when we are busy we cut down on, however sleep is essential to our wellbeing and to our coping. It enables us to physically and cognitively recover and integrate things that have happened during the day. It helps us recover from daily stress and restore energy, without our recommended 7 to 9 hours sleep (for adults aged 18-64 [1]) over time this can lead to an increase of physical pain, anxiety and depression as well as compromising our immune system and general energy level [2].

Research by Sleep Health Foundation [3] found that 33-45% of Australian adults are sleep deprived most nights, causing irritability, fatigue and undermines our productivity and relationships. The study found women are more likely than men to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, while men are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnoea, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts, causing sleep disturbance. A sleepy fatigued person is accident prone, judgement impaired and more likely to make mistakes and poor decisions [4] whether that’s at home or in the workplace.

Serotonin is released during sleep (not stored in the body) and is a mood regulator for general wellbeing. Also, weight gain can be exacerbated by not getting enough sleep because insulin is produced in the middle of the night which assists in food digestion. If we are tired we tend to overeat to gain energy. Another health implication supporting the benefit of sleep is the release of the hormone melatonin that suppresses the development of tumours and assisting the nervous system against degenerative diseases [5].

Tips For A Good Night Sleep

  • Reset your internal clock by spending time in natural morning light without sunglasses. This activates the circadian rhythm to stay in balance making the body clock ready for sleep at night. Lack of natural sunlight can lead to depression, especially in the winter months.
  • Unwinding half hour before going to bed will give your mind and body time to settle (this includes shutting down electronic devices and TV).
  • A warm bath or shower before bed can trick the body into relaxation by loosening the muscles.
  • Spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, exercise just before bed, all have a detrimental effect on sleep.
  • Muscle spasms or cramps can keep people awake in this case. Magnesium may help to alleviate symptoms.
  • A helpful approach for a busy mind is to write notes/list before bedtime. These can be used the next day. Also listening to soft music can assist with calming. Do not allow yourself to ‘thrash around' for more than 15-20 minutes before getting up. There are many apps available to help.
  • If you regularly wake up during the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep, it may be helpful to get up, drink some water or a soothing camomile tea, sit and gaze at the stars or quietly breathe, rather than lying in bed tense and frustrated. Once you are feeling soothed and settled, return to bed.
  • Meditation and deep breathing can be helpful before sleeping.

In some situations no matter what self- relaxation techniques are used sleep is not possible. For medical conditions such as hormone fluctuations please consult with your GP. Alternatively, seeing a clinical professional to discuss the wider work/life impacts on sleep and how to manage them, may be of assistance.

Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman 

[1] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1

[3] https://www.sleephealthjournal.org/

[4] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sleep-deprivation

[5] http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/jun2007_nu_melatonin_01.html

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Financial stress - taking positive steps

Hello everyone,

Very exciting times with our new Newport & Wildman website officially launched. This new website will help our customers to enhance the value of their EAP. Please see more in the article below. Right now I would like to draw your attention to a recent HR study which found 80% of the top five health concerns for employees are mental health related, 41% admit to being distracted at work because of financial worries (presenteeism), 31% of employees say they have taken unexpected time off to deal with a financial issues (absenteeism).1 The 2018 Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) report showed 18.5 per cent of consumers were overwhelmed by their credit card debt load with outstanding balances now totalling $45 billion.2 We learn to live with underlying stress around our finances but these statistics show that the impact on both life and work can be significant. What can we do individually and as employers to take positive financial steps without becoming overwhelmed?

How individual employees handle financial stress varies greatly. 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 - Creating a budget gives you clarity and a tangible place to start in terms of understanding where your money is going and how you can reduce spending. If your financial situation is causing you stress, it’s vital to create a budget. See the article in this month’s newsletter for budgeting tools.

2. Pay off debt - Review and consolidate loans to help get them under control. Pay off your credit card debt, starting with the credit card with the highest interest rate. Be aware of “Pay Wave” as it is easy to spend and not think about it.

3. Review fees - It’s important to review your bank and bank products regularly or as your life circumstances change. Compare bank fees and ensure you have the best products for your situation.

4. Save for a rainy day - Saving is a proactive way to give you a sense of control and having an emergency or ‘rainy day’ fund can help alleviate financial stress knowing you have something in reserve. Start small, it all adds up. Set up an automatic debit so you don't have to think about it.

5. De-stress - Start with these steps, as this will give you a growing sense of control. Avoidance is a huge stressor. If you have taken the steps above, you are actively working to improve your situation and although it’s normal to feel worried or anxious when times are hard, know you are doing something. Take time to relax and de-stress. The link between stress and physical illness is well documented so it’s important to prioritise your health and seek help when needed.

Financial coaching can help you understand and manage money by teaching you financial skills that last a lifetime. Newport & Wildman’s financial coaches will assist you in creating a personalised action plan to manage your debt and provide practical information on your options and rights. Confidential guidance and support, is available, to expertly and respectfully guide you back to financial control.

  1. HR Metrics, Statistics and Trends White Paper, Subscribe HR White Paper 2018
  2. .https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-04/1-in-6-credit-card-users-struggle-under-mountain-of-debt/9936826
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NEW Newport & Wildman Website

We have launched our NEW website. This website delivers comprehensive information on how to get the best value from your EAP and workplace wellbeing programs. From the home page you can quickly access information on the wide array of services available to you as a Newport & Wildman customer. This information gives you some background and can be used to help explain the services to others. Your Relationship Manager will work with you to design and implement a workplace wellbeing program, which may include a number of these services.

Our Employer login area provide a wealth of resources to both help Manager and Leaders promote the EAP and manage emerging wellbeing goals and concerns. Employees can use their login area to start taking charge of elements of their self-care by accessing meditations recordings, recommended apps and downloadable resources.

If you don't yet have access, please contact Alison Keleher, Director, Newport & Wildman on 0428 500 671.

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NW Employers


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Financial Health Check and Tools

This helpful website, from ASIC and the Australian Government, provides calculators and tips to help you make better financial decisions. Free and impartial financial guidance and tools are available to download and use to make the path to better financial control easier. Click on the image below to watch a short "How To" video. If you would like to explore some other free and paid options, our Financial Coaching partner, IMFG suggest the following: Pocketbook, Moneysoft and  Sort Your Money Out.

Are you struggling to reduce your credit card debt? Are you sick of never being able to build up your savings enough to go on that trip you dream of or buy the home you really want?

Click here to get started. This section of the website aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals. The following topics are covered:

  • Banking
  • Budgeting
  • Donating and crowdfunding
  • Get your money on track
  • Income tax
  • Managing debts
  • Saving

  money smart

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Tips for Effective Teamwork

1. 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

Team members in successful teams are open to learning new things and adapting old ways of doing things if a better way is highlighted.

5. Feedback

Linked to point 4., 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.

6. 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.

7. Effectiveness review

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

8. Clear expectations

Expectations around standards, time frames and behaviour is explicit, not assumed.

9. Honest communication

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.

10. Transparency

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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Top Tips for Happiness

Here are a few tips to promote self-acceptance, resilience, and psychological flexibility:

  1. Stop the comparisons!

When we take the time to stop and appreciate the people around us, and all the things we have already achieved, we open ourselves up to experiencing something wonderful. All too often, this wonder can be rapidly eroded when we compare ourselves to others who appear to be richer, stronger, faster, and more beautiful (and the list goes on and on and on). So stop comparing! There will always be people who appear to have more “things” than we do. Constantly trying to catch up to them prevents us from living our own life to its fullest.

  1. Commit to seeing life in a positive way.

Focusing on developing an optimistic outlook not only helps to elevate mood by changing the way we feel – for the better - but when practiced often, cultivating an optimistic outlook protects against problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. Thinking optimistically is a skill that can be learned, and this type of thinking helps to improve our experience of happiness.

  1. Move that body.

The link between our mind and body is clear. When we exercise regularly the benefits become obvious, though please remember, training like an elite athlete is not required! To get the benefit that exercise brings we need to find what suits our lifestyle and daily routine. Walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress. 

  1. Laugh in the face of stress.

Stress is inevitable in today’s world and happiness does not mean we eliminate stress in our lives – in fact, some stress is actually beneficial. Firstly, we need to take an inventory and identify the things that make us stress out. Then, we need to make plans which allow us to neutralise the impact of this stress. Some ideas to manage stress include:

  • getting the challenging stuff done first instead of putting it off and dragging out the pressure;
  • stimulating our senses with music, pleasurable scents (like aromatherapies), or getting a massage, on a regular basis;
  • spending time with people who make us laugh
  • spending time in the outdoors;
  • reading great books;
  • enjoying time with pets.
  1. Improve your relationship with sleep.

Some of our best growth and learning is done while we sleep – and it is important to note that it’s all about quality, not quantity. Understanding our sleep-wake cycles and optimising our sleep environment can help us to get a better quality of sleep. When we feel well rested, we promote a state of openness that allows us to appreciate more fully, our work, our home, and our hobbies. So turn off screens before bed, minimise caffeine intake a few hours before sleep, and make your bedroom a warm and cosy place that entices rest.

  1. Get an app to help boost happiness.

There are many apps which are designed to keep us calm, train ourselves to be mindful and help us to appreciate the life we have. Finding the app, or apps, you feel most comfortable with may be found through reading reviews and trial and error. 

  1. Pay it forward.

One of the easiest ways to “live happiness” rather than chase it, is to pay it forward. Ever noticed how a smile from a stranger can change your day? Ever noticed how helping someone in need helps you feel on top of the world? Acts of kindness and generosity can do so much more for the giver than the receiver, so if someone reminds you how kind people can be – pay it forward and spread it to someone else.

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Free Character Strengths Test

Knowing your character strengths isn’t just interesting information. When skillfully applied, they can actually have a significant positive impact on your life. Take a free strengths test here.

The concepts of positive psychology can have many benefits in the workplace. This powerful tool is used to focus on employees’ personal strengths skills, and capabilities, as a foundation for developing their performance. Check out AccessEAP's Case Study where Eleni van Delft (Director of Relationship Development at AccessEAP) explains how using Positive Psychology during a period of rapid business growth, allowed her team to play to their strengths!

 

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Parent Resources

We understand that work and family challenges impact each other. Here are some resources to help navigate the ever changing landscapes of parenthood.

iParent- Where you can learn about the digital environment and how to help your child have safe and enjoyable online experiences.

Reachout- Helping parents support their teenagers through everyday issues and tough times.

Newport & Wildman offers a Supporting Working Parents Workshop specifically designed to assist participants to address the challenges and benefits of being a working parent, understand the impact of high stress levels on parenting and to identify practical strategies and skills to manage these competing roles. The workshop can be organised by contacting your Relationship Manager and is ideal for up to 15 participants.

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Women's Health Week

The two biggest barriers for women not maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ‘lack of time’ and ‘health not being a priority’. Women’s Health Week is the time to put ourselves first, for just one week, and start making positive changes that can last a lifetime. We know women are leading busier lives than ever before and we have a tendency to let ourselves slip low on our priority lists. However, the health of those we love starts with us. By investing more time in ourselves, we are better able to look after the ones we love and care about. Click on the image below to find out more.

womens

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