Strategies for transitioning back into the workplace after coronavirus chevron_right
As COVID-19 restrictions ease and we prepare to return to campus, some employees may be welcoming the opportunity to return to the workplace. For others, leaving home to return to the office can cause you to feel confused, worried and apprehensive. Below are some tips that can help you to manage your mental health during your transition back into the workplace.
- Recognise and accept your feelings
Take the time to recognise how you feel about returning to the workplace and identify why it is you feel that way. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.
Not everyone will be eager to return, and that’s okay. Transitioning back to work is a process and we are all at different stages in the journey. By recognising where you are in the process and focusing on how to move towards the next step, will help you keep a progressive and positive mindset. Be kind to yourself and take it one day at time.
- Prepare yourself for returning to the physical workplace
The way we work is going to keep changing and we will need to keep adjusting to developments. It is important that you understand and accept that things will not quickly return to normal and that we may not be able to go back to our ‘old’ ways of working for some time. It can be helpful to prepare yourself for your first day back, think about:
- How will you get to work?
- Will anything be different as you enter the building?
- Who will be there?
- What will you need physically to do your job?
Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. Some people will adapt better than others. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others, as we all find our way during this transition.
Speak with your manager if you have concerns about your physical working environment and work together to find a solution.
- Have regular check-in’s
Take this time as an opportunity to identify where things can be done differently, and better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take each day at a time. Have regular check-ins with yourself:
- How am I coping?
- Could I do more to help stay mentally healthy?
and check-ins with your colleagues:
- How are we working?
- Is there anything we could do differently to work better together?
- How can we support each other?
This way you can identify and address issues as they arise and make a plan that works for you and your team.
Planning ahead will help you feel more prepared and ease anxiousness.
- Celebrate the opportunity to reconnect
During isolation, we have lost things that we used to take for granted such as morning coffee runs with colleagues. When returning to the office, enjoy the little things that have been absent over this period and take the time to reconnect with colleagues, such as having face-to-face meetings and chat’s with colleagues; ensuring you are practising safe social distancing measures. This can help you to establish some normality into your routine.
- Maintain positive habits
This sustained period of isolation has helped people put the important things into perspective, so try not to lose that as you ease back into ‘normal’ life. If you found or rediscovered hobbies such as painting, reading, cooking, meditating, or jigsaw puzzles, it’s important to continue with these hobbies, as they can put you in a good headspace.
Refer to our Self-care page for tips to help you get started with practising self-care.
Settling the mind Webinar Series chevron_right
The Black Dog Institute has launched a new Settling the mind Webinar Series. The series provides practical evidence-based resources, tips, and tools for coping in the face of uncertainty.
In the first episode in the series, Working from home: Tips for your mental health during Coronavirus, Dr Jan Orman and Professor Jill Newby share practical tips on how to protect your mental health and reduce common impacts of working from home.
Common impacts of working from home Practical tips for working from home
- Feeling isolated, lonely or disconnected;
- Being unable to 'switch-off' from work;
- Having difficulty staying motivated;
- Insomnia and sleep problems;
- Having difficulty prioritising your workload;
- Feeling uncertain about your progress;
- Juggling competing responsibilities; and
- Physical inactivity.
Creating and following a routine:
- Create boundaries between 'work time' and 'home time';
- Turn off email notifications when 'outside' work hours.
- change into your work clothes, and home clothes;
- create a specific work space in your home;
- pack up your work space at the end of the working week.
Stay connected with your co-workers and manager:
- set regular catch-up's/team meetings;
- virtual morning tea's;
- virtual work-out's/exercises.
Adjust your expectations:
- incorporate flexible working hours if you are juggling family and/or
childcare/schooling responsibilities at home.
- be adaptable and lower expectations of any team members that are
juggling family and/or childcare/schooling responsibilities at home.
Exercise, eat well, and get plenty of sleep:
- get outside at least once a day.
Working from home self-care chevron_right
The global COVID-19 pandemic has seen people suddenly working remotely, trying to juggle their workload with their home life. But while working from home might be new to you, some have been doing it for years. Below are some tips on making remote work easier.
Go easy on yourself
While transitioning from office life can be difficult under regular circumstances, it’s important to remember this is not a normal situation. For the first week or so… listen to what you need for yourself.
Managers should be understanding during this time as staff adjust to the situation.
Don’t try to replicate your office schedule at home
It’s not sustainable to try to keep your 9-to-5 office schedule at home. For one, you might be dealing with children who are also stuck at home. Take the opportunity to figure out a schedule that works for you.
Set the mood
You may have a home office, or a room that can be transformed into one, or you might find yourself setting up your laptop at the kitchen table, or struggling to find space in a small apartment that feels like a work environment.
Do a few small things to make the space feel motivating, such as putting your degrees on the wall, go for a morning walk, light a candle, put on some music. If there’s anything that’s motivational, that inspires you, create that space, if you can.
It’s also important to keep things tidy, especially at the end of the day, so that you’re not waking up to a messy office.
Make a daily routine
Create a sense of regularity to help orient yourself to her your working situation.
It involves simple things such as getting up at the same time every day, working out regularly, showering, brushing your hair — all things that can contribute to feeling like you have a routine to transition you from “home” to “work.”
One key part of the routine we recommend is getting dressed. Dress comfortably, you don’t have to put on a blazer or walk around your house in your work shoes, but just changing out of your pyjamas sends a signal to yourself that it’s time to be productive.
This is key for most people when first starting to work from home.
It’s important to check in on your colleagues, whether it’s a text message or a Skype message, and try to have meetings over phone or video when possible.
It’s also important to make time for your (virtual) social life. Whether it’s a weekly happy hour over Skype or long phone calls with your closest friends, social connection has never been more important.
Make and keep boundaries.
It can be tempting to be connected to work all the time when your office is your home, setting boundaries is extra important so you don’t burn yourself out.
Take care of yourself
Take time to exercise regularly or just to get fresh air. Take a break from the news also, especially when it’s full of information that can cause anxiety.
Ensure your routine includes some element of self-care.
Create your own self-care plan
Determine at least one strategy or activity from each of the self-care categories, that you can undertake. Ensure that the activity you choose is enjoyable and individual to you.
Keep your self-care plan visible to help you commit to your activities. Sharing self-care plans in your work teams is a great way to support each other remotely and keep in contact.
LIFT Session - LifeWorks Virtual Fitness Sessions chevron_right
Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider LifeWorks, has released Virtual LIFT Fitness Sessions to the Well being Platform, free for all staff and their immediate families.
Research shows that physical activity can improve your overall well being and reduce stress that you may be experiencing during this time of uncertainty. LIFT Session features fitness sessions that are customised to your individual fitness level, helping you to achieve your fitness goals anytime, anywhere.
How does it work?
LIFT Session is a virtual fitness program that is available on your mobile device. Each session lasts 30 minutes, with typically three sessions per week for a total duration of six weeks. No equipment is required, and it’s free as part of your LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program.
How do I sign up to LIFT Session?
It takes about 5 minutes to get you up and running.
- Go to https://www.lifeworks.com/au/ and login to your Well being platform.
If you have not created an account with LifeWorks please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation and your unique sign up code.
- Go to ‘Support and Resources’ on the top menu bar of the platform.
If you are accessing the platform from your mobile app, go to the ‘Life’ menu option located in the menu bar on the bottom of your screen.
- Scroll down and select 'LIFT session fitness' under the ‘Quick Links’ heading
- Follow the ‘How to access your custom developed fitness journey’ steps. Click on the ‘Sign Up’ link and create your account.
- Download the LIFT Session app from your Apple App Store or Google Play Store. A download link will be sent to you in your “Welcome to LIFT session by LifeWorks” email.
- Sign into the LIFT Session app with your email address and Password that you used in the sign up in Step 4.
You will be prompted to answer a few questions (that will be used to personalise your fitness sessions), before being taken on your fitness journey.
For any enquiries or support, please contact email@example.com
- Go to https://www.lifeworks.com/au/ and login to your Well being platform.
LinkedIn Learning chevron_right
LinkedIn Learning is an online subscription library that teaches the latest business, creative and software skills through high-quality instructional videos. The Charles Sturt LinkedIn Learning portal offers a customised learning environment that is mapped to the University's Capability Framework and contains a large number of resources available for staff to access for free.
We have developed three new collections that can benefit you during this time.
Collection Contents Resilience Managing Stress for Positive Change (Course)
Avoiding Burnout (Course)
Avoiding Burnout (Video)
Performing under Pressure (Course)
Mindfulness Practices (Course)
De-stress: Meditation and Movement for Stress Management (Course)
Managing Stress (Course)
Thriving @ Work: Leveraging the Connection between Well-Being and Productivity (Course)
Happiness Tips (Course)
Building Resilience (Course)
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Option B: Building Resilience (Course)
Enhancing Resilience (Course)
Continuous Improvement - Growth Mindset Creativity Bootcamp (Course)
Cultivating a Growth Mindset (Course)
The power of a growth mindset (Video)
Adopting a growth mindset (Video) Creating a Culture of Learning (Course)
Lifelong learning is the new norm (Video)
The New Rules of Work (Course)
#1: Become a lifelong learner (Video)
Why there are new rules of work, learning and life (Video)
Manage Stress and Build Mindfulness into your "New Normal" Mindfulness Practices (Course)
The Mindful Workday (Course)
Mindful Meditations for Work and Life (Course)
Managing Stress for Positive Change (Course)
How to Manage Feeling Overwhelmed (Course)
Balancing Work and Life (Course)
To sign up to LinkedIn learning, refer to the LinkedIn Learning Webpage.
For all enquiries, please contact PDPrograms@csu.edu.au.
Men's Health Week - Working together for men's health chevron_right
The aim of Men’s Health Week is to raise awareness and knowledge of preventable health problems affecting males and encourage men and boys to seek early treatment of disease and injury.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018), heart disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, and self-harm are among the leading causes of death in men in Australia. In acknowledging and celebrating Men’s Health Week, we will be sharing communications about these particular Men’s Health problems and highlighting the health services that are available to men and boys. The purpose of these communications is to provoke thought and open discussions about improving the overall health and wellbeing of men and boys.
The impact of men’s health is family wide; it’s not just a man’s issue. Take some time this week to reach out and check-in with the males in your life. By empowering and encouraging men and boys, we can all work together and be champions for men’s health.
For more information, visit Men’s Health Week 2020.
For more information on wellbeing services at Charles Sturt University, please refer to the My Wellbeing website and access further resources available on the LifeWorks Portal and the RED Wellbeing Centre
Men's Health Week - Heart Health chevron_right
Heart disease can have many causes and occurs earlier and more frequently in men than women. Heart disease is often related to your lifestyle choices; what you eat, how much you exercise, and whether or not you smoke. You can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by improving your lifestyle choices.
How to help reduce your risk:
1. Eat well.
Having a poor diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Balance your diet - Mix it up with vegetables, fruit and grain, lean meats, poultry and fish, reduced fat milk and yoghurt. Reduce saturated fats like butter or fried foods.
- Drop the salt - Cut out salt and check the sodium content on packaged foods.
- Substitute your sugar - Swap sweet snacks for nuts or fresh fruit. Steer clear of sugary drinks – drink water.
- Go fresh - Buy from markets or shop around the outside aisles of the supermarket
Refer to the Heart Foundation’s Healthy eating to protect your heart, for information on how to help protect your heart.
2. Exercise regularly.
Being inactive, overweight or carrying too much body fat can contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of stroke.
- Walk - Substitute a car journey for a walk or go for a bushwalk. Pick up your pace to a faster rate than usual.
- Sign up for a weekly class - Such as dancing, aerobics or crossfit.
- Get moving outdoors - Whether it’s a bike ride, a swim or working up a sweat in the garden, enjoy the great outdoors.
Increasing your physical activity from as little as 10 minutes a day to the recommended 30 to 45 minutes a day, five or more days of the week can help reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. It can also prevent and manage many conditions and diseases, including some cancers, type 2 diabetes and depression (Physical activity and your heart health).
3. Stop smoking.
Smoking increases stroke risk by increasing blood pressure and reducing the oxygen to the brain.
- Halve your stroke risk - Smokers have twice the risk of having a stroke than non-smokers.
- Immediate impacts - There are immediate health benefits from quitting, even if you already suffer health problems. Within 24 hours of quitting your body starts to repair.
- The benefits continue - Within a month of quitting, blood pressure can return to its normal range. The risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately, and can drop by up to half after a year.
If you are ready to quit, thinking about quitting, or want to help someone else to quit, talk to your doctor or health practitioner about giving up smoking, or call the Quitline on 13 7848 or visit the Quit website.
4. See your doctor regularly.
A regular check-up with your doctor, particularly once you turn 45, can help detect and manage some of the biggest stroke risks.
- Get a blood pressure check - High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the top risk factor for stroke. High blood pressure can weaken blood vessels leading to a bleed in the brain or cause clots or plaque to block a brain artery causing a stroke.
- Check your cholesterol levels - The main cause of high cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fats (fats from animal foods).
- Stay on top of type 2 diabetes - Talk to your doctor about managing type 2 diabetes by maintaining blood glucose levels through diet, regular exercise and monitoring.
- Get to the heart of it - Ask your doctor for an Atrial fibrillation (AF or an irregular heartbeat) check, especially if you feel your heart beating irregularly.
If you're over 45, or over 30 if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book a Heart Health Check.
Support Services available for more information:
Heart Foundation, Heart Health: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/
Heart Foundation, What is Heart Disease: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/Conditions/what-is-heart-disease
Stroke Foundation, Understand and prevent stroke: https://strokefoundation.org.au/-/media/58D7E8ABC6844AA5B93311D742917EC3.ashx?la=en
Stroke Foundation, prevent stroke: https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Prevent-Stroke
Men's Health Week - Prostate Cancer chevron_right
In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer (Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia).
One (1) in seven (7) men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85 (Cancer Council) however, the prognosis is often very good if the cancer is detected in its early stages.
The symptoms of prostate cancer don't usually appear until the cancer has grown large enough. Symptoms include:
- feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate
- finding it difficult to urinate
- discomfort when urinating
- blood in urine or semen
- pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips
These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer however, they should be investigated by your doctor.
There is no known causes of prostate cancer however, there are risk factors that have been linked including:
- age, the chance of developing it increases with age increasing rapidly after 50 years of age
- family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer
- a diet high in fats and low in fresh fruit and vegetables
- there is an association with high testosterone levels.
Having 1 or more risk factors does not mean that you will develop cancer. Many people have at least 1 risk factor but will never develop cancer, while others with cancer may have had no known risk factors.
Other factors that are linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer include:
- Genetics: Changes to genes can increase the risk of prostate cancer being passed from parent to child. Although prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit genes that can increase the risk.
- Diet: There is evidence to suggest that eating a lot of processed meat or food that is high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Lifestyle: There is evidence to show that environment and lifestyle can affect the risk of developing prostate cancer.
There is no proven measures for the prevention of prostate cancer and there is no evidence that the following protective factors can stop prostate cancer from developing however, they can improve your overall health and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer:
Maintain a healthy diet
Eat meals that are nutritious. To lower your risk of cancer, aim for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit every day, eat foods high in fibre, including unprocessed cereals (grains) and pulses (legumes), and limit your intake of red meat, processed meat and salt.
Undertake regular physical activity and exercise
Physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day and limit sedentary habits.
Maintain a healthy weight
If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss.
Talk to your doctor
The prognosis is often very good if the cancer is detected in its early stages.
Men over age 50, or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about testing for prostate cancer using the PSA test and DRE as part of their annual health check-up.
Services available to gain more support and information about Prostate Cancer:
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia: https://www.prostate.org.au/
Cancer Australia: https://prostate-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/
Men's Health Week - Diabetes chevron_right
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot maintain healthy levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Glucose builds up in the blood causing health problems. The two main types of diabetes in men are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin dependent diabetes, is an auto-immune disease where the body cannot produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin replacement to survive. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with hereditary factors and lifestyle risk factors. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and mostly occurs in people aged over 40 years old however, it is becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age groups.
Diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression, anxiety, and blindness. Diabetes:
Symptoms for Type 1 diabetes are often sudden and can be life-threatening, and the condition is usually diagnosed quickly.
In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed. It is estimated that 2 million Australians are already showing early signs of the condition (Diabetes Australia).
Common symptoms include:
- Being more thirsty than usual
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Having cuts that heal slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
- Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
While there is no single cause of Type 2 diabetes, there are well-established risk factors including poor diet, insufficient physical activity, and being overweight or obese. People with Chinese, South Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are at higher risk of developing the condition.
Diabetes Australia has developed a What’s my risk? calculator which is a simple and easy way to assess your risk or developing Type 2 diabetes.
Currently Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented however, evidence shows that diabetes prevention programs can help prevent Type 2 diabetes in up to 58% of cases. You can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by:
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Maintain a diet that contains fiber and whole grains.
Fiber may help reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lower your risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss. Foods high in fiber include:
- whole grains, and
It's not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains.
Undertake regular physical activity/exercise.
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, and boost your sensitivity to insulin.
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
Maintain a healthy weight.
If you're overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Losing extra weight can improve your health and reduced your risk of developing diabetes.
See your doctor.
If you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or if you are experiencing any symptoms related to diabetes, you should talk to your doctor about testing for diabetes.
Services available to gain more support and information about diabetes
Diabetes Australia: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/
Men's Health Week - Mental Health Support chevron_right
Social norms around masculinity can be really harmful, especially when it comes to men’s mental health. Many men think they need to go at it alone because the idea of being silent and strong is ‘being a man’. Trying to go it alone when you’re feeling down increases the risk of depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated. On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives.
Men are more than three times more likely to take their own life than women. The number of male suicides has risen by around 30% from 2011-18. Male suicide in Australia is nearly double the national road toll and 70% of all male suicides are men of working age (25-64).
Men are much more likely to recognise the physical symptoms, rather than the emotional signs, of depression. Signs in changes of your mood could be different for men also as men are more likely to report feeling angry or irritable, for example, rather than feeling low. Another telltale sign of depression in men is a loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy.
Behaviour Feelings Thoughts Physical
- not going out anymore
- not getting things done at work/school
- withdrawing from close family and friends
- relying on alcohol and sedatives
- not doing usual enjoyable activities
- unable to concentrate
- lacking in confidence
- 'I’m a failure.'
- 'It’s my fault.'
- 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'
- 'I’m worthless.'
- 'Life’s not worth living.'
- 'People would be better off without me.'
- tired all the time
- sick and run down
- headaches and muscle pains
- churning gut
- sleep problems
- loss or change of appetite
- significant weight loss or gain
Depression is a high risk factor for suicide. Frequently there is no cause for depression and anxiety and it is different for everyone. Depression and anxiety can sometimes be caused by a difficult time in your life or by a combination of things that have built up over time. Sometimes there is no obvious cause at all.
Some risk factors for men developing depression or anxiety include:
- physical health problems
- relationship problems
- employment problems
- social isolation
- significant change in living arrangements (e.g. separation or divorce)
- pregnancy and birth of a baby
- drug and alcohol use.
One thing we can all do to help prevent male suicide is to learn how to have meaningful conversations with the men in our lives. The RU-OK campaign has produced a series of short #manspeak videos aimed at making it easier for men to start mental health conversations with their mates. Beyondblue have also developed some tips for starting a conversation with someone you are worried about.
Taking care of your physical health is important. While it isn’t easy when you’re feeling so overwhelmed, eating well, maintaining a daily routine and keeping active can all help you feel more able, and help you to keep on top of things.
Here are some tips for helping someone through difficult times:
Get them talking
The biggest hurdle can be getting onto the subject in the first place. Let your mate know you want to help, but do it in a non-confrontational way
Don't wade in
Don't start off by asking him directly what the problem is, whether it's work, money or a relationship. You'll make him defensive
Try a 'stealth approach' instead
Ask him whether he's OK. Tell him you've been a bit worried about him recently. Or ask him if he wants to go for a coffee to talk about it
Go somewhere discreet
Don't try to talk in a place where his other mates might see or hear him. Find somewhere quiet to chat
Ask questions rather than offering answers
Psychiatrists ask open questions and let the patient do the talking. Ask about how whatever is bothering him started, how the problem has made him feel and whether he's spoken to anyone else about it
The hardest part is remembering not to offer advice
Don't tell your mate what to do; just ask more questions. It's the talking that's the therapy, not anything you suggest. If you start lecturing or judging him, he'll be defensive. And your advice could be wrong anyway
Keep it serious
It's tempting to make the situation into a joke because that could help you avoid an awkward conversation. But this isn’t a good time to joke. It might seem like you're not taking his problems seriously
Make sure you're OK yourself
Sharing someone else's troubles can be stressful. Be sure you're fit enough for the job before you get involved
Beyond Blue have developed a number of Taking Action resources to support men and boys with anxiety and depression.
Services available to gain more support and information about diabetes
Gotcha 4 Life: https://www.gotcha4life.org/
Australian Men’s Health Forum: https://www.amhf.org.au/mentalhealth
Employee Assistance Program (EAP): https://www.csu.edu.au/division/people-culture/current-staff/my-wellbeing/eap