As the situation with COVID-19 escalates around the country and overseas, there is naturally an increase in the level of worry and concern people are experiencing.
We have pulled together some information to help manage these feelings of worry or unease, and ideally provide you and your teams, or friends and family, with the skills to manage these before they develop into more severe anxiety and panic.
STICK TO THE FACTS
The influx of information, commentary, opinion and rumours is incessant and overwhelming. We encourage you to limit what you are reading, and stick only to trusted resources.
Whilst the internet plays a valuable role in keeping us connected, it can also be our worst enemy in times of anxiety. It can bombard us with misinformation, other people's emotions, situations we cannot control or are not relevant.
Be discerning with your sources of truth. We recommend relying on the Australian Government's regular health updates or World Health Organisation for factual information and avoid heresay or spreading unsubstantiated information.
KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
In times of such uncertainty, it is easy to let your mind run away with the worst case scenario.
Make sure you are taking a breath each day and and use some cognitive strategies: Am I getting ahead of myself? Does the worst case scenario really apply to me right now? Am I overestimating how bad the impacts will be, or awfulising unnecessarily? Am I under-estimating my ability to cope and adapt?
CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES
Follow the advice of the experts and do all you can to limit your exposure and risk.
Be sensible with your decisions - maintain your health and hygiene, follow the guidance around self isolating and social gatherings.
Again, making smart decisions means you keep yourself in a safer more predictable environment.
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Be as mindful about your head space as you are about your hand washing. For many, isolation can feel confronting.
Make sure you maintain your connections with family, friends & colleagues.
Give yourself a break from the screens and the overload of coronavirus information.
Sit in the sunshine, read a book, open your mind to new learnings, opportunities or ideas.
Importantly, don't be afraid to reach out for support if you feel you need it.
Plenty of organisations have EAP services on hand for telephone consultations.
Open up to friends or family if you feel overwhelmed or scared.
Now is not the time to judge, but to be there for colleagues or friends if they need some comfort or encouragement.
SOME SIMPLE ACTIONS WE CAN ALL START TODAY
Get your own ‘buddy’, someone who you can share ideas with and use as a sounding board and mutually support
Set your own routine and structure to your working week; structure in the beginning of the day is helpful.
Set boundaries; if you are working remotely, work hard on the boundary between your work commitments and your personal or family time.
Respected Psychologist Martin Seligman is a strong promoter of positive psychology, and he concluded there are five elements to 'well-being' (PERMA model). We encourage you to focus on incorporating these five elements into your daily lives:
Break the day & week up so that you can recharge and get some positive emotions in there as well.
Make sure are doing some things that are uplifting and engaging; something fun and a bit of an outlet; otherwise you are giving energy to everyone else and not replenishing yours.
Invest in your relationships; your most important personal relationships & relationships with colleagues have some of the highest contribution to your resilience and well-being.
Connect with your meaning and keep reminded of why you do what you do; this connection with meaning helps our resilience in the most challenging situations, and it also makes it easier for your team to join and support you.
Track and be mindful of your achievements; working remotely can have less feedback and markers of what you achieve, so sometimes you need to ‘be your own cheerleader’ and note the things you have achieved through your work.
FURTHER SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE
Incorporate Psychology (ICP) is continuing to work with individuals and organisations throughout this period. We are available for phone and Skype consultations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 07 3852 2441.
Reference: Australian Psychological Society (2020)