Staying OK @ Work: Looking after your team

Looking after your team’s mental health during lockdown

Last week’s RUOK? Day was a great reminder for us about how important it is to reach out and check on family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and contacts.

Staying OK at work is challenging for us all in the current climate – whether you’re working from home, juggling home learning with kids, running a business or working in an essential service. There’s no doubt this is a very tough time for lots of us. If you have a team, you’ll be looking out for their welfare as well as dealing with your own situation.

How can you help your team?

Last year we partnered with the team at The Birchtree Centre for Excellence, to highlight 6 ways you can help your team to look after their mental health and wellbeing. Birchtree’s highly respected team of psychologists, social workers and psychotherapists provide sought-after expertise in trauma and counselling.

We thought it was timely to share their practical suggestions again. Read below or download and share our easy-to-read infographic, via the link at the bottom of this blogpost.

adjusting to working from home
  • Adjust your expectations – be realistic
  • Try and set up a spot within your home where you work that is separate to other areas for relaxation
  • Use video conferencing where possible. Text and email communication removes the voice and visual cues of connection that are necessary for our nervous system to feel safe and secure
  • Take regular breaks
  • Set limits on your work hours – it can be tempting to fill the extra time available with work. Increased stress levels mean an increased need for self-care.
  • Do a self-check each day – how are you feeling physically and emotionally?
  • If something is difficult or not working, speak up
stay connected with work
  • Stay in touch – check in regularly with your team and colleagues
  • Be open to other’s needs, concerns and ideas – remember that they are likely to feel stressed also. As stress increases people become more ‘task focused’ and less ‘relationship focused’. Working to decrease your stress levels will have benefits for your whole team. Just as stress is contagious, so too is a calming presence!
  • Support each other – we all need to feel connected. Physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection
look after your own health
  • Try to get enough sleep (7 – 9 hours per night)
  • Eat well and drink plenty of water
  • Find things you enjoy – a game, gardening, reading
  • Find some time for yourself
  • Try to do some exercise or physical activity each day
  • Follow hygiene and social distancing advice
  • Adjust your expectations – be realistic
messages and media coverage
  • Remember – this won’t be forever
  • Try to keep it in perspective
  • Balance staying informed with media-overload
  • Get your information from trusted sources
Are you becoming overwhelmed?

Anxiety is a normal physiological response to threat. The current pandemic means that society as a whole has a lower threshold for stress than usual. It’s normal to feel stressed but are you at a tipping point?

  • Not sleeping
  • Unable to switch off at the end of the day
  • Feeling relationships are breaking down

The most effective means of decreasing the build-up of stress in your body is to move – go for a walk or explore the myriad of YouTube yoga classes.

Exercise decreases the level of the body’s stress hormones as well as increasing the production of endorphins – chemicals in your brain that help lift your mood and act as painkillers. It only takes twenty minutes of movement to have these effects!!

If your stress levels are becoming too much to handle, reach out.

Could these help you?
  • Take ten deep ‘belly’ breaths – breathing helps anchor us and is the easiest way to decrease the stress in our nervous system
  • Take a break – move to a different room in your house
  • Think about what you are ‘feeding’ your brain with – at times of high stress look for calming books, TV shows, articles and podcasts. Try Brene Brown’s ‘Unlocked’ podcast – full of great ideas to navigate the current stressors!
  • Try a guided meditation
  • Start journaling – expressing all you are experiencing will help prevent it being locked inside you

Click below to download and share the A4 poster:
Looking after your team’s mental health: Staying OK @ work PDF download

Birchtree Centre – remains open for support and guidance.
Their details are: Phone: 02 9518 8719 or

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