Live well, work well
Apr 1, 2020
These health and wellness tips were shared by the Flagler College Office of Human Resources in partnership with Flagler’s health insurance provider and wellness consultants. The intent is that everyone can glean something from them, so the entire Flagler Family can “Live well, work well” during this unprecedented time.
MAINTAINING MENTAL WELL-BEING DURING A QUARANTINE
In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have recommended that individuals who may have been exposed to the disease self-quarantine at home for 14 days. In addition, public health officials are recommending that healthy individuals practice social distancing, staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Following the advice of public health officials can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but if you don’t take proper precautions, your mental well-being could suffer while you’re quarantining.
If you’re self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, keep the following tips in mind to maintain your mental well-being.
Maintain a Routine
One of the best things that you can do to preserve your mental well-being is to stick to a routine. For example, if you’re used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start your workday from home. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can help keep your mood as lifted as possible, and prevent boredom and distress from taking over.
If you have children that will be at home now, it’s also important to create a routine for them. Whether they are practicing virtual learning with their schools or if they will just be home, you should implement a structured schedule for them so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit as much screen time as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. While you’re at home, it can be easy to go to bed or sleep in later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your overall mental well-being, so you should try to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible.
Spend Time Outside
Unless health officials give you explicit instructions to stay in your home no matter what, try to get outside periodically throughout the day. This could involve going out in your backyard or taking a walk around the block, but shouldn’t include going to a park or other areas where large groups of people may be.
Being outside also helps to promote higher vitamin D levels, a vitamin the body makes when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.
Leverage the Power of Technology
When in quarantine or self-isolation, it can be easy to feel lonely. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easy to connect with others without having to physically be in contact with them. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends reaching out to loved ones with technology to reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and to supplement your social life while you’re quarantining or social distancing. If you’re feeling down, use video calling technology or social media to get in touch with friends and family.
Don’t Obsess Over the News
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by watching the news and reviewing the updates of the COVID-19 situation. While it’s important to be informed of the situation, you should not obsess over the news. For example, instead of monitoring the news all day from home, consider checking for updates once in the morning and once at night.
Practice Positivity and Gratitude
Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive. While you’re quarantining or social distancing, it’s important to build time into your routine to practice positivity or express gratitude to change your mindset on your situation and boost your mood.
Your mental well-being plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being, and it should be prioritized. These six suggestions may help you maintain your mental well-being during a quarantine, but shouldn’t be considered as medical advice.
If you have concerns about your mental well-being while you’re in quarantine, please contact your mental health professional or use SAMHSA’s National Helpline by calling 800-662-HELP (4357).
HOW TO HELP YOUR TEAM COPE WITH CORONAVIRUS
Even if you don’t live in an area that’s been directly affected by the coronavirus, the news is creating understandable stress and anxiety for many people. You can equip your teams, and support each other, with effective evidence-based strategies during this uncertain time.
Take reasonable precautions and follow CDC guidelines
- Practice social distancing to reduce close contact in public places
- Stay home if you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Clean and disinfect frequently-used surfaces with regular household cleaning spray/wipe
Stick to the facts
- Read news sources that present facts in a straightforward manner
- Centers for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
- Your county’s health department
- Keep perspective - current data suggests that most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and recover within a couple of weeks.
Take a media break
- While it’s important to stay informed, consider taking a break if:
- It doesn’t help you take better precautions
- It doesn’t give you a healthier perspective on the coronavirus
- You don’t typically feel better afterward
Check your thinking
- Two common patterns of thinking can increase stress and anxiety
- Catastrophizing - vividly imagining worst-case scenarios
- Probability overestimation - overestimating the likelihood that something bad will happen
- Reframe your thinking with a more useful thought
Prioritize self care
- Maintain a daily routine - including a regular sleep schedule, eating well, exercising, and taking breaks
- Remember that thoughts and feelings aren’t facts
- Connect with your loved ones
- Be kind to yourself when you fall short
- Coping with Existing Mental Health Concerns
- The coronavirus news may be triggering for individuals with anxiety disorders, and social distancing can be extra challenging for individuals with depression.
Notice signs of concern
- Taking more precautions than is recommended
- Feeling compelled to monitor media without breaks
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Impaired functioning at work, in relationships, or in self care
Take steps to protect your mental health
- Be mindful of shifts in your thoughts and behaviors
- Check in with loved ones regularly and let them know if you are struggling
- If you aren’t currently in care, consider re-engaging - services are often available via video or phone
SUPPORTING EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM HOME
The good news is that research suggests people can be as or even more productive when working from home.
As a manager
- Set clear performance and communication expectations
- Promote face-to-face virtual meetings
- Check in casually and regularly
Making it work from home
- Maintain the same office hours and follow daily routines, like getting dressed for work
- Work in a designated space with minimal distractions
- Take breaks and go outside when possible, just like you would at the office
- Practice flexibility and compassion
Talking to Children about Coronavirus
- Children are very perceptive and pick up on your feelings, worries, and changes in routine.
- Consider what is developmentally appropriate - for children under 6 a proactive approach may be more harmful than helpful
- Assess what they know about the virus, offer facts, and encourage good hand washing
- Let them know their feelings are valid and that you want to provide comfort
- Ask them what questions they have
What to Do When the Coping Strategies Aren’t Enough?
If you notice that you or someone you care about is experiencing worries or strong emotions that make it hard to function well, consider connecting with professional support, which could include - finding a therapist through your health plan, accessing counseling through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or taking to your HR team about wellness benefits may be available.Tagged As