The anticipated needs of staff will vary across each of the phases, consider the following support mechanisms:

Most importantly this is unprecedented: It is okay to not be okay

  • Seek information updates at specific times during the day once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts.
  • Feeling stressed is an experience that you and many of your colleagues are likely going through. It is normal to be feeling this way in the current situation. Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak.
  • Managing your stress/psychosocial wellbeing during this time is as important as managing your physical health.
  • Take care of your basic needs and ensure rest and respite during work or between shifts, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends.
  • This is an unprecedented scenario, don’t try to learn new strategies, use the ones that you have used in the past to manage times of stress.
  • This is likely to be a marathon – pace yourself
  • Be aware of your “bandwidth”- it might take longer to think things through and make sense of things if you are feeling overwhelmed
  • Beware dramatic language that might panic your colleagues.
  • Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Some workers may unfortunately experience avoidance by their family or community due to stigma or fear. If possible, staying connected with your loved ones including through digital methods is one way to maintain contact. Turn to your colleagues or team leader for social support – your colleagues may be having similar experiences to you.

STOP, BREATHE, then THINK- slowing your breathing slows the stress cycle and re-engages your frontal lobes – then you can think.