Nearly five million Australians battle with some level of stress every day. As the world continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, those stress levels have only increased. In fact, The United Nations and World Health Organization have released information to educate people around the globe on how this virus will undoubtedly impact mental health.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has taken a toll on how we live and work, with 88% of Australian organisations having transitioned into remote working environments as a result. Although the feeling of stress is not uncommon, the pandemic has brought a wave of new emotions and it is now more vital than ever to stay aware and take precautions to ensure that the stress doesn’t become overwhelming or unmanageable.
For those faced with the task of continuing to run a business while juggling all other aspects of life during this uncertain time, it becomes increasingly more important to not only become a source of support for your staff, but to pay close attention to your own health and wellbeing.
Supporting your team
Now more than ever, being a business leader has been met with a new layer of challenges, as we aim to navigate our teams through this new normal. As Australians are faced with uncertainties around job security, worries around health and overall increased levels of stress, employees may be looking to their leaders for support through this time.
While remote working, be sure to strengthen communications and schedule regular check-ins with team members to ensure transparency and support while we remain isolated from others. Never underestimate the effects that regular communication can have on your employees.
As we continue to spend more time than usual stuck at home, and our calendars still remain quite bare, try maintaining any usual work-events. Does your team usually have weekly wine Fridays or workout Wednesdays? Consider moving those usual events online. Having a sense of normality and a few events still scheduled in the calendar can help keep up team morale, despite the scary time.
Look after yourself so you can look after your team
As a business leader, it is crucial to practice self-care and look after yourself, not just physically but mentally. After all, supporting your employees through such an uncertain time will feel much more daunting if you’ve not taken the necessary steps to ensure your own wellbeing.
One way to help manage stress is with meditation. This is becoming more widely practised and recognised to have incredible benefits such as reducing stress and improving general wellbeing. Before opening emails or sorting your tasks for the day ahead, I encourage you to practise just five minutes of guided meditation.
Those few minutes of stillness can give you the much-needed clarity to accomplish the day ahead. If meditation isn’t quite for you, working in a few minutes each day to yourself can be just as beneficial. This can be used to journal, go for a walk, or just resting your mind while you step away from your phone and computer.
Exercise is another great way to help deal with stress as it releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. These are very effective in dealing with stress, anxiety and depression as well as regulating sleep patterns. While gyms are expected to remain shut for now, many health organisations have pivoted to offer their typical services online.
At Blys, we have changed the direction of our company from at-home massages, and are now providing wellbeing and fitness services online so that people can still feel connected, less lonely and continue to practise a form of exercise that relaxes them, such as yoga or pilates. From a quick 15 minute yoga session at home, to opting for a long run outside, there are many exercises that we can still benefit from while gyms remain shut.
Another way to help deal with stress is by talking about it. This can be done by making a telehealth appointment with a counsellor to discuss what may be causing you stress, or simply turning to a loved one for support. Either way, talking to someone can help put your worries into perspective and can help you improve the way that you deal with stressful situations.
Counselling, psychology and coaching are available via Blys Telehealth services with an array of experts specialising in different areas, such as relationship counselling or stress management in addition to yoga, mediation and personal training. Combat loneliness and feel connected to another person by speaking over video and enjoy confidential counselling to suit your preferences.
If you are feeling the effects of stress, it’s important to remember that many other people are also struggling in this difficult time and that there is no stigma in seeking help from a trained professional. Not only will you feel like a weight has been lifted, but it will also likely improve your life. If you’re curious to learn more about mental health and coping strategies, visit here. If you need urgent assistance and are having suicidal thoughts then contact 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support.
Ilter Dumduz is the founder of Blys