This August, Guide Dogs Australia is challenging you and your dog to walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days (that’s roughly 2km every day!), which is no small feat in winter weather! For more information visit the Guide Dogs Australia website.
If dog walking is not for you, there are so many ways to get active and boost your health this August with get healthy!!
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Ride a bike instead of taking the bus.
- Sit less - walk & talk while you’re on the phone.
- Think of ways you can slip incidental exercises into your day!
For even more tips on boosting your health, see our latest post, 7 tips- A Healthy Body Boosts a Healthy Mind.
Watch your thinking
Beware of “What ifs” and a tendency to assume the worst in your mind. This is called catastrophic thinking.
For example, a simple negative comment about one aspect of your work could trigger.. “What if my manager is not happy with me… I am performance managed…. I lose my job… I can’t pay the mortgage….” This leads to a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety.
Watch your body
Anxiety tends to impact everyone’s body differently. Do you get an upset stomach, a tense neck? Other signs of stress and anxiety?
For me wellness means doings things that promote health and contentment and help me to manage stress, such as spending quality time on the golf course or taking a yoga class. As well as these activities, I’m aware that there is an overwhelming amount of wellness options that may be beneficial to me, however, it is becoming harder to distinguish which practices will increase my wellbeing and which are just passing fads.
Right now, one of the hot topics in wellness practice is de-cluttering, popularised by Oprah Winfrey's introduction of Australian, Peter Walsh to the world and more recently Marie Kondo. We are witness to people describing how tidying their homes, has changed their lives. This does make me question, is decluttering actually good for our health?
There is some evidence that clutter in the home is detrimental for our physical and mental health. In particular, clutter has been linked to stress which in turn can have many other health impacts. It certainly can be stressful if you can’t locate your laptop, due to clutter, and your meeting starts in an hour. Clutter has also been found to drain our cognitive resources due to visual distraction, to impact our food choices, and to be associated with sleep disturbance.
Decluttering is most useful if it is a problem for you and leads you to feel uncomfortable and chaotic. If it does make you feel this way, it may be a symptom of other things going on in your life. It’s important to uncover and address these. Depression can lead to a lack of motivation to “tidy up” and a sense of not caring about yourself or your environment, grief can result in holding on to things for sentimental value or for fear of what “moving on” may entail.
If decluttering resonates with you, where should you start? With the overwhelming nature of the task, it helps to set small achievable goals. Setting out to tidy your entire home all at once may be unrealistic and feel overwhelming. Successfully tidying a small section of a room will help increase your self-efficacy and promote future success.
To help Make Mindfulness Easier, our Clinical Team at AccessEAP has created a Mental Health App Review. For the full App Review, click here.
Calm Mind – Recommended (any audience)
This app focuses on four major categories of wellbeing:
- Wake/Sleep 2. Relax 3. Meditate 4. Breathing
The app and some of its basic features are free, however, the user has to pay for additional content.
Headspace – Highly Recommended (younger audience)
We are making some changes to our website and we'd love to improve your experience with us.
Is there something we can add to the website to help you find the information you are after? Something we can make clearer? Something you wanted to learn about that you did not easily find on our website?
Let us know by sending us a quick email here. We value and appreciate your feedback!
There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that the food we eat affects our mental health and plays a significant role in our overall wellbeing. For example, dietary changes have been successfully trialed in the treatment of clinical depression. The Food and Mood webinar aims to provide a taster session on how food choices impact on brain function and mood, and provides practical tips to develop healthy eating habits at home and at work, for optimal health.
Join us for the Food and Mood Webinar on Thursday, 25 July 2019 at 11AM AEST. Enquire with your Relationship Manager today!
September may seem like it is so far away but R U OK? Day will be here before you know it. To ensure that you have the most impactful R U OK? Day, speak to your Relationship Manager this July to discuss how we can assist you on the day.
R U OK? Day is a very popular day for onsite training so make sure you book in early!
See our CEO Article from last September, R U OK? Day, the real impact.
Stress Down Day is Lifeline’s annual fundraising campaign held on Wednesday 24th July. People are encouraged to participate in (a) stress reducing, fun activities such as wearing slippers to work or school, or dressing up or down, and then making a donation to Lifeline. It’s easy to get involved and all funds raised support Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support service. For more information, check out the Lifeline Website.
Stress is almost inevitable in today’s world but here are some helpful hints and tips to manage your response to stress and achieve more balance in your life.
- Get moving!
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but exercise is one of the best things to do to improve your mood and reduce stress. The trick is to find what suits your lifestyle and daily routine. Gentle repetitive exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress.
Hobbies that focus attention onto other things are also good stress relievers. Take up a new activity unrelated to current work or personal commitments - activities that give a sense of achievement and satisfaction are best. Set aside time each day to fit in a stress relieving activity, this should become a priority in your life not just an optional extra.
- Identify your stressors
Identify the causes of stress. More than one in five Australians reported mental health issues as a source of stress. These stressors related to both external and internal factors including workplace pressures, family issues and problems related to personal finance. Once you have identified the triggers, you will find they are much easier to manage.
1. Exercise provides a mood boost and a more energised outlook on life thanks to the release of endorphins. It also improves cognitive function and has been proven to increase decision-making and problem solving ability. We all know the feeling of going out for a walk and coming back with a ‘clear’ mind. Some may even choose to use their lunch break as an hour to hit the gym, go for a jog, walk or train in a group.
2. Exercising with a buddy, or as part of a team, provides a sense of belonging through the sharing of common interest. It also helps motivate and keep you on track toward your health goal. Participating in a sport or reaching a personal physical goal promotes a sense of mastery, accomplishment and increases self–esteem. Set yourself a physical goal no matter what your current fitness level is. Remember tackling small ‘chunks’ of a larger goal will see you mastering your chosen activity in no time!
3. A good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience. Chronic sleep disruptions set the stage for negative thinking, depression, anxiety and emotional vulnerability. Being physically active throughout the day can help you get a restful sleep. See our latest CEO feature for more information on Sleep.
4. Every meal should include protein to ensure a continuous supply of the amino acid tryptophan to the brain Tryptophan is proven to boost mood. Add some fish, turkey, chicken, meat, eggs, legumes, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts or seeds to your meal. Don't forget to aim to drink about 2.0 litres each day, and increase water consumption on very hot days or when you have been exercising. If you do not drink enough fluids to replace this loss you will get the symptoms of dehydration, including irritability, loss of concentration and reduced mental functioning.
5. Studies suggest omega-3 oil can reduce symptoms of depression. You can include oily fish such as salmon in your diet or even take a daily supplement. Vegetarians get similar benefits from flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds.
It's Men's Health Week from the 10th-16th of June. The focus is on Keeping Boys and Men Healthy, find out more on the official website.
At AccessEAP, we often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and "get on with it". Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.
Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Addiction to gambling or betting
- Ending relationships prematurely
- Resigning suddenly from their job
- Stopping activities of interest e.g. sports
- Neglecting friends and family
- Working longer hours
- Communication only via emails or text messages
- Aggression or violence
- Excessive time watching fantasy films, or gaming
What can AccessEAP do to help?
We can provide a comfortable and private space to talk where there isn’t pressure to bottle things up. A person who is experienced in understanding human emotion and behaviour can listen without judgment and without consequence. We can even offer tips or strategies, if that’s what is wanted or needed.
Friday, June 21st is this year's Bring Your Dog to Work Day. If you are lucky enough to have a well-behaved pup that can come in, and approval from your employer, please let us know how it goes and the effect it has on your workplace. We would love to share your story! Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
What should I consider before taking my dog to the office?
It’s important to ensure this does not adversely impact on the health, welfare or working environment of employees, volunteers or visitors to office, or on the health and welfare of the animal or other animals in the office.
For tips to make the experience run smoothly check out the RSPCA's Website.
Here at AccessEAP we want our teams to live our values. Collaborating to accomplish set goals with respect, integrity and curiosity, but do we want our teams to be high performing teams or do we want “dream teams”?
The creation of effective or “dream teams” has never been more important than it is in today’s digitally evolving workplace. In fact, a recent McKinsey article, mentions that “the topic’s importance is not about to diminish as digital technology reshapes the notion of the workplace and how work gets done. On the contrary, the leadership role becomes increasingly demanding as more work is conducted remotely, traditional company boundaries become more porous, freelancers more commonplace and partnerships more necessary”. [i]
In the workplace context "dream teams" are high performing with a focus on the value and satisfaction that each member receives from the team to avoid burnout and promote a sustainable team. Creating and leading these teams can be complex, regardless of the size of the team or the organisation. Today’s workplace blends not only people from many varying backgrounds, beliefs and value systems; but leaders must contend with the inevitable variations in people’s personalities and preferred ways of working with others. As any leader or manager will tell you, this is no easy feat!
One useful approach is to understand that there are various role “types” which people can play in a team. The role “type” that people play will depend on their own unique background, skill set and personality. It is important that a team have a complementary mix of “types” because they each bring something unique to the team and have both strengths and weaknesses.
Beyond understanding individual roles and dynamics, it helps to understand some of the overarching dynamics of what happens when ANY group of people come together to form a team and this is where Bruce Tuckman’s stages of team development comes into play. Although it is another management model that has been around a long time, it is still highly relevant for team to learn about the different stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and transforming. Transforming has been added to the model over time showing that some teams come together for a purpose or a time and then disband and reform but also point to the fact that every time a new member joins a team, the dynamics in the team can change and the process can potentially begin all over again.
Knowing your character strengths isn’t just interesting information. When skillfully applied, they can actually have a significant positive impact on your life. Take a free strengths test here.
The concepts of positive psychology can have many benefits in the workplace. This powerful tool is used to focus on employees’ personal strengths skills, and capabilities, as a foundation for developing their performance. Check out our Case Study where Eleni van Delft (Director of Relationship Development at AccessEAP) explains how using Positive Psychology during a period of rapid business growth, allowed her team to play to their strengths!
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Find out how you can get involved from the National Reconciliation Week Website.
Here are a few tips to promote self-acceptance, resilience, and psychological flexibility:
- Stop the comparisons!
When we take the time to stop and appreciate the people around us, and all the things we have already achieved, we open ourselves up to experiencing something wonderful. All too often, this wonder can be rapidly eroded when we compare ourselves to others who appear to be richer, stronger, faster, and more beautiful (and the list goes on and on and on). So stop comparing! There will always be people who appear to have more “things” than we do. Constantly trying to catch up to them prevents us from living our own life to its fullest.
- Commit to seeing life in a positive way.
Focusing on developing an optimistic outlook not only helps to elevate mood by changing the way we feel – for the better - but when practiced often, cultivating an optimistic outlook protects against problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. Thinking optimistically is a skill that can be learned, and this type of thinking helps to improve our experience of happiness.
- Move that body.
The link between our mind and body is clear. When we exercise regularly the benefits become obvious, though please remember, training like an elite athlete is not required! To get the benefit that exercise brings we need to find what suits our lifestyle and daily routine. Walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress.
- Laugh in the face of stress.
Stress is inevitable in today’s world and happiness does not mean we eliminate stress in our lives – in fact, some stress is actually beneficial. Firstly, we need to take an inventory and identify the things that make us stress out. Then, we need to make plans which allow us to neutralise the impact of this stress. Some ideas to manage stress include:
1. Objectives and Goals
Successful teams have clear objectives that all team members are aware of and working toward. There is a clear vision and shared values. Team members are committed to the goal and live the values.
Active participation is evident and encouraged by all team members. Team members focus on their areas of strength for the greater good of achieving the team outcomes. Effective teams want the team to succeed and place team success above individual recognition and reward. Everyone carries their weight.
On May 17, 1990, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD 10), which no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) Launched in 2004 to celebrate LGBTIQ people globally.
Today, May 17th is used to champion inclusion, and build a better world for the LGBTIQ community.
Find out how you can get involved on the IDAHOBIT Website.
With the Easter Long Weekend (Friday 19th until Monday 22nd) coming up, followed by Anzac Day on Thursday the 25th, there are a lot of April Public Holidays.
Please be assured our counselling and onsite services are available 24/7, 365 days a year however our other business functions observe the Australian National public holidays.