Clear Communication - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

In recent newsletters, I’ve highlighted a consistent theme – clear and kind communication. In 2020, being clear about what we require from those around us is what moved us forward in this year of uncertainty.

As 2020 gets ready to shuffle off into history, it’s time to cast a glance around at what has been important this year. Putting people first in terms of protecting their health, safety and ability to keep working has been front and centre for most organisations. Organisations who have staff working away from their offices tell us about prioritising team connections while being separated. Not just employee briefings but also birthday celebrations and family moments, and re-creating informal time where smaller groups log in with a cuppa and just talk. Like people used to do informally in the lunchroom.

Thank goodness Australia’s response – and particularly the bravery of Melbourne – has led to some sort of normality returning. Most of our offices have been welcoming staff back in – in staggered at-work and work-from-home rosters. It’s such a relief to hear laughter in the lunchroom again.

This feels like a time to reflect on how important kind, as well as clear communication, is. How you talk and write is as important as what you say or write. Emotion is transmitted as we communicate. Think how heated conversations about masks, protests, and overseas elections can become. So taking the time to pause and consider the emotional understory of our communications is paramount.

Caring communication is not just about what you say. It benefits people when you just listen. If someone is struggling, ask how they are, and just listen. A lot of us want to fix things – give people a solution to a problem that they still might not fully understand. Rather than give advice, just let them tell their story. Our clinical staff often say that their best work happens in the sessions where they talk the least. Letting someone talk though issues allows them to understand their situation. Understanding and relief follow.

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Support through the Festive Season 2020

AccessEAP wishes you all the best for the Festive Season. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and look forward to a brighter 2021. We would like to thank you for continuing your partnership with us. Through supporting your people through this challenging year, you have helped make the lives of more than just your people a little easier.

For more information about the H.O.P.E. Program, supporting vulnerable children & families, see here.

Please be assured our counselling and onsite services are available 24/7, 365 days a year however our other business functions observe the Australian public holidays and a short break from 25th December to 8th January 2021.

Managing Loneliness

Why is it that we can feel lonely in a crowd? How can we feel lonely when we have so many “friends” on social media or apps? The fact is, feeling connected to others depends on the quality of our relationships and how we think about them – loneliness is perceived social isolation. It is normal to feel lonely sometimes, just as it is normal to feel sad or anxious or tired or hungry. However, loneliness becomes a problem when it causes us distress or impacts our ability to get on with everyday life. Although simply “getting out there” and meeting people may be enough for some, for others this may not be enough. Many people live with chronic loneliness and may require a more considered approach in order to feel more socially connected.

1. Accept that sometimes feeling lonely is a normal part of life. Loneliness is a feeling. As with any feeling, loneliness serves a purpose. Rather than viewing loneliness as something bad, we can interpret it as a signal – it motivates us to maintain or repair our relationships. Once we acknowledge that loneliness is a signal and accept it as a normal part of life, we can then attempt to get on with everyday life despite feeling lonely.

2. Monitor your loneliness in different situations. Keep a diary, recording how lonely you feel at different points throughout the day (give it an “intensity rating” out of 10). After a week or two, you may notice patterns in terms of how lonely you feel across different situations.

3. Recognise the power of thoughts. Reflect on the thoughts that run through your head and how they may influence what you do or how you feel. 

4. Be aware of your own behaviour. If you feel anxious about social situations or believe you need to keep your distance to protect yourself, you may tend to avoid forming new social connections. Even though it may feel uncomfortable, try doing something different – talk to your neighbour, join a club, go to a party, eat your lunch in the common area at work.

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Navigating Change - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

The amount and pace of change in the world is accelerating. Every leadership book talks about how the pace of change will continue to increase, and organisations who do not embrace change will be left behind. This is also true for those of us who have transitioned to working from home at a rapid rate. Now almost all people that we talk to can log onto a Zoom session and speak to their doctor via the phone.

As leaders, we need to think about our own responses to change and our employee's responses, and plan for both. There are change management courses and consultants for a reason, and that is because change is hard. We are told communicate your vision, communicate the changes and to take employees on a journey – all great advice – but most people think "what does the change mean for me?" and that will dictate their response. How we as leaders respond to their response will impact on how successfully the change is negotiated.

In organisations, the landscape is constantly evolving so we use change management models to create, plan out and communicate our vision to adapt to developing markets or new regulations. Steven Covey, of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote that we need to "Begin with the end in mind" but I would add that we need to be ready to pivot in the face of developments and redesign the plan, reconsider what that 'end' goal looks like. Being fast and flexible is more than ever, a key component of change as organisations and employees are being asked to reconsider what normality is on a daily basis. At AccessEAP, we increased our Executive Leadership Huddles to daily briefs at the height of the pandemic to allow for this fast and flexible approach.

While we know that communication is always key to effective management, we have heard the stories where organisations faced restructures or changing markets but didn't see the staff as the first port of call. Effective change management requires you to be the information conduit, understand the vision and why it is required, and ensuring that everyone involved has a comprehensive picture of where you are all heading.

As leaders, we have responsibilities to our own managers, boards and shareholders, so they need to know where we are moving our organisation. They pay the piper, and so of course we need to show them how their investment is moving to the most secure and profitable future. But our biggest investment is the people on who we rely on to be on this journey with us.

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Self-Care and Managing Stress

See our 10 Tips on Self-care and Managing Stress below. 

It is important to remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry or irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times like these. It is important to monitor your own physical and mental health.

For assistance or more information on our Stress Awareness and Building Resilience Training offerings, speak with your Relationship Manager today. To download a copy of this Wellbeing Postcard and more visit the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Movember Conversations


This November it's time to talk about Men's Health. The Movember Foundation is taking a stand to Tackle Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Mental Health And Suicide Prevention. To challenge the stigma of Mental Health they encourage everyone to have a conversation, just remember to use ALEC.

  • ASK

Click here for more information about Movember and how to get involved.

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:

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Look after your Mental Health



1 in 5 of us experience a mental health issue every year. Mental Health Awareness Month in October is an opportunity for us to advocate for and raise awareness of mental health. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the lives of our communities, it’s time to give mental health the focus and attention it deserves.

Organisations that create and harbour a culture of understanding, empathy and trust allow people to be open about the issues impacting their lives. And it is especially important for people with mental health conditions to feel safe and comfortable in discussing their experience and obtaining appropriate support. Please contact your Relationship Manager to discuss what Mental Health Awareness options we have to support you and your people.

For more information and tips on How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace, click here.

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Exploring Positive Psychology - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Throughout this year, we have been bombarded with messages from the media and on social media relating to the pandemic. One common message that stood out was to "be grateful for what you have during these times". It can be incredibly difficult to do this when COVID-19 has taken so much in terms of removing us from a physical workplace, travel and family dinners. To explore this perspective, our clinicians here at AccessEAP have turned to the research of Positive Psychology. This has assisted us to discuss situations from a strengths-based lens. The approach, which has been around for decades but is starting to gain momentum, doesn't focus on the sickness or ill health of the individual but rather on their wellbeing. This allows for a shift in perspective.

Positive psychology shifts the focus from anger, depression, fear and jealousy to look at what makes us well: motivation, forgiveness, resilience and compassion. Here is a telling quote from George Valliant, one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, where he describes The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry.1 It has '500,000 lines of text [with] thousands of lines on anxiety and depression, and hundreds of lines on terror, shame, guilt, anger, and fear. But there are only five lines on hope, one line on joy, and not a single line on compassion, forgiveness, or love." In a pandemic where humanity is still prevailing, despite the whole world being encouraged to stay indoors, looking for and finding hope is even more important.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. This means that for one month mental health is in focus in the media and the recent budget increase in Medicare support for additional sessions and resources into community mental health, highlights the increase in demand for support which has increased due to the pandemic. Over the last ten years of leading the AccessEAP team, I can see a positive change in many community leaders, customer organisations and most recently the federal budget, recognising that mental health is important to the future of our country. It is, according to the World Health Organisation "a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."2 An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

The question for many individuals, organisations and the general community is how is mental health maintained? One of the most concise models of positive psychology was developed by Martin Seligman called PERMA3. The backbone of this theory is that individuals (and organisations, groups and even families) understand, develop and work/live within their signature strengths. PERMA stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments. PERMA allows for the individual to take their own steps and manage their own wellbeing and can be measured to show growth and success.

Feedback from managers, leaders and even friends and family have asked what role can I play in supporting people around me? On the back of R U OK? Day and now in Mental Health Awareness Month, the answer is about knowledge and empowering oneself to have conversations which are caring and supportive.

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Positive Psychology in the Workplace

Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings and behaviour with a focus on strengths, rather than weaknesses. Positive psychology aims to help people build on the good in their lives rather than repair the bad, and to help people thrive and flourish.

Professor Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, developed a model of psychological well-being and happiness covering 5 core dimensions. The evidenced based model he developed is known as PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & Achievement), and can be applied to the workplace. Recent research by Australian-based Michelle McQuaid has added a new dimension H for Health to make the PERMAH model.

Positive emotions – Positive emotions boost our job performance. Positive emotions in the workplace are also contagious. People thrive when they are happier and experience less stress and fatigue. They are better able to remain optimistic, problem solve and work together in teams. 

Engagement – Look for opportunities to utilise your strengths. Be proactive. Have a conversation to discuss how you can apply your strengths. Managers should look at creating opportunities for team members to draw on their strengths and interests.

Relationships – Fostering positive relationships in the workplace has a number of benefits. It makes people feel connected and supported. Promote opportunities that allow collaboration and interaction.

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Mental Health in October 2020

The theme for this year's Mental Health Month is Tune In.

Tuning In means being present, being aware of what’s happening within you, and in the world around you.  
Tune In to your senses – what can you sense right now? What can you feel? 
Tune In to your communities – what’s happening that you can be part of, or that you can help others be part of? 
Tune In to stigma – how do attitudes and understandings of mental health and wellbeing impact people’s ability to live the lives they want? 

See more information here.

This awareness month encourages all of us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not. This month also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of mental health in our everyday lives and encourages help-seeking behaviours when needed.
Depending on your location, Mental Health Awareness may be marked by a day, week or month. Mental Health Day, 10th October is also a worthwhile day to recognise within Mental Health Month. Some great resources can be found on their website.
For more information on Mental Health Month or to arrange a Mental Health Awareness Training, please speak to your Relationship Manager.

A conversation could change a life - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

A common theme for many people this year has been isolation. It's unfortunate that one of our best defences against COVID-19 is something that can negatively impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

Part of the solution to this is to remain connected any way we can. Even when we are not seeing each other face to face as much, we can take active steps towards contacting friends, family and colleagues. In addition to our Internal Wellbeing Initiatives, every few months, I make a conscious effort to arrange virtual 'Afternoon Tea's' in small groups to connect with everyone. It's a chance to check-in and also for myself and others to connect with different teams within the organisation. At AccessEAP we know the importance of connecting with each other and asking R U OK? and this year, that simple question is taking on a deeper relevance. Asking people are they ok? can make a difference between despair and knowing someone cares.

If you have an employee or colleague you are worried about, reach out, it may feel scary to make the first move. They might be disengaged with those around them, unable to focus on work, asking what the point of going on is, or saying that they are a burden. We often feel just a bit flat. But if you sense there is more going on – and this year there are a lot of stresses people are dealing with – trust your gut instinct. Remember during this time its expected that people may not be ok. People will be like a roller coaster some days they are ok and some they may be struggling and feeling down. This is why the conversation and checking in is so important every day and not only once a year.

Some people fear that talking about suicide might make it worse. Could it make a person who is suicidal think about it more and therefore act on it? No, it won't. The opposite is true as it creates a window for people and allows them to talk about what they are going through.

When you are talking, stay calm, it's ok to let them know you don't know what to say. Tell them you want to be here for them and will support them through this difficult time. R U OK? is a simple, caring question and it could be a conversation that changes a life – and being with someone in distress can be exactly the right type of help in that moment. The conversation is really important now and needs to be every day if we are to make a difference. 

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New App Coming Soon

Coming Soon!

Put yourself in control of your mental health and wellbeing.

With our new app you will be able to:

  • Make a booking to speak with one of our counsellors.
  • Read tips, strategies and new ways to support your mental health and wellbeing journey.
  • Choose your own wellbeing tools and resources based on your preferences, goals and interests. 

We’re here to help you be your best at life and work. Coming soon, watch this space!

Women's Health Week 2020

#WomensHealthWeek 7-11 September 2020

With the stress COVID-19 has placed on everyone's lives, it’s now more important than ever to look after your overall health and wellbeing. This September, Women’s Health Week will be a great reminder to take time out to check in on your health and to keep making positive changes that can last a lifetime.

For more information and free resources visit the Jean Hailes' Women's Health Week Website. It's time to put your health first.

With so many competing demands and expectations, the struggle to keep up with both work and home commitments can be extremely stressful. When stress persists to a point that a person feels they aren’t coping, it can affect the functioning of their day-to-day life as well as their overall wellbeing. The stressors of too much ‘juggling’ together with trying to do things well and be ‘good’ at everything is impacting on women and their ability to sleep, think clearly and make decisions.

For more information about Women's Health and Wellbeing contact your Relationship Manager who can go through our Women's Wellbeing Training and Webinar options.

Seeking Sleep?

We know we need sleep but how do we get a good night's sleep? 

It's important to have sufficient, regular, good quality sleep so we can function effectively in our busy lives and help to maintain strong, robust immune systems. Nine hours a day is the standard health professionals suggest while realising that for many people, because of multiple competing demands, this is often difficult to achieve. The importance of short “nana naps” cannot be underestimated, as well as short, still “zone out times” during the day to help us to refresh our brains and bodies. If we review our sleep pattern there are probably some small things we can do to make our routine healthier – and we’re likely to then be surprised by the difference they make.

Some Useful Tips

  • Aim to go to bed at a similar time as often as you can so you can have enough hours to help repair and heal the body from the stressors of the previous day.
  • Spend a quiet period immediately prior to turning in to help your body and mind settle.
  • A warm bath or shower before bed can trick the body into calming down, loosening.
  • Get to know your body and the effects of alcohol, spicy food and other stimulants too close to your bedtime.
  • It is preferable to keep your bedroom as distraction-free zones - no phones, TVs, iPads etc.
  • Darkening the room so your body automatically prepares itself for rest can be helpful.
  • If listening to music, keep the volume low enough and the type of music soothing enough, so you are likely to drift off.
  • If you regularly wake up during the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep, remember that it may help to get up, have some water or a soothing tea, sit and quietly breathe, rather than lying in bed tense and frustrated that you are awake. Once we notice you are feeling more soothed and settled return to bed.
  • Some people find it helps to read for a while or have a shower before trying again. It is to do with interrupting the pattern of tension and trying something different that may help to soothe your mind and body.


It is worth formulating your own list of practical, healthy, accessible, common sense ways to soothe your body and mind, so you can get optimised times of rest and rejuvenation.

Cultural Competency Journey

At AccessEAP we are committed to developing cultural competency across our business. For us, that means providing the best possible experience for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers. By increasing our cultural awareness and knowledge of historical events impacting the nature of trauma experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees today, we offer the opportunity to develop more culturally appropriate EAP holistic support services. In order for us to authenticate our commitment, AccessEAP is investing in the ongoing development of cultural sensitivity within our workforce by offering online Cultural Competency Training for all employees.

We recognise a need to offer the opportunity to speak with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Counsellor or a Culturally Sensitive Counsellor who has experience with individual, families and community and who understand the challenges.  By working together we aim to find the most appropriate support for you. Referral to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services can also be arranged.

At AccessEAP our Cultural Wellbeing Team includes both Culturally Sensitive Counsellors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counsellors. If appropriate our Cultural Co-Ordinator is able to assess and understand any individual circumstances and will work with you to identify the most culturally safe options for you or your organisation

Together we find ways to provide culturally appropriate support that works for you sharing knowledge in a respectful, confidential and safe space. Having a chat can help with the day to day challenges at home or in the workplace such as;

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Grief and Loss
  • Addiction Issues
  • Diet
  • Financial

Our new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line is now live. Whatever the nature of your concern please feel free to call the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line on:1800 861 085.

Boosting your overall health - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

Boosting your overall health during the pandemic

Last month I wrote about adapting to the new normal. As I write in August, the goalposts have moved again, highlighting the importance of maintaining some stability during change and uncertainty. There's no single factor that works better than another or that will be the answer to all we are experiencing. When we talk about mental health and wellbeing we need a combination of strategies which are interconnected. Together they can make a difference. Let's look at food, exercise and environment.

Even though we are modern beings, half of our brain is still our evolutionary brain, keeping us alive when resources are in short supply. Wonder why we eat when stressed? It's our way of keeping fuelled up in case a sudden threat makes us need energy to flee. Why sugary or fatty foods? When our ancestors lived nomadic lives, fruit was our only source of sugar – if you came across a tree laden with fruit, you would eat as much as you could before competitors did. That urge to binge is still here even if we don't fear a shortage of fruit. Or Tim Tams. Likewise, greasy food converts into energy for fight-or-flight. That urge to prep our bodies is instinctual when stressed. (Unfortunately, knowing why your evolutionary brain tells you to eat chocolate or chips doesn't mean your modern body should, at least not daily!)

We all know it's essential to prioritise exercise and relaxation in this incredibly stressful year but never has the saying "easier said than done" been more true. A lack of exercise may be compounded by working from home. Routines which provide incidental exercise such as walking to the bus and leaving the building at lunchtime can easily slip away. Sitting at a laptop all day means your eyes get strained, your posture contracts and indeed your whole world can feel like it's shrinking.  

Fight-or-flight is activated in stressful times, so in a pandemic, we are operating at low-level, permanent fight-or-flight status. Feeling housebound, ongoing distressing news, feeling like you are always 'on' because "Working From Home" can feel like Working 24 Hours. This keeps our cortisol hormones elevated.

Getting out and moving works! Being in sunlight, just walking in nature has calming effects on our brain. If/when you can't currently go outside to exercise I practice Yoga daily and it can be done anywhere. Similarly getting up and walking around while on the phone (not all communication has to be via  Zoom) and setting regular intervals to stretch and drink water. In addition, exercise lowers stress and therefore reduces our tendency to want the unhealthy but tasty food.

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Tackling Stress - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

We encourage our children to be kind. We’re kind to those we love and our colleagues. So why is it hard to turn that lens of kindness back onto ourselves? Doesn’t it mean that we are being selfish, wasting time with self-care? Who will do All of Those Tasks if we don’t? This month I’ve been thinking about how hard it can be, especially during a pandemic, to be nice to ourselves. If we drive ourselves on relentlessly, something will give.

At AccessEAP, we are talking to a lot of people about their ‘stress signature’. How do you know if you’re stressed? Stress shows up in our bodies (headaches, racing heart, insomnia), in our thoughts (excessive worry and catastrophising), behaviours (drinking to relax, not sleeping well) and relationships (being snappy with people, reactive to situations that normally slide right past us). 

So stress is pretty awful. But it has reasons for putting us on edge. That surge of adrenaline when we are in danger tells our heart to pump blood to our limbs. Non-essential systems like digestion shut down (hence that sinking feeling in our gut when we are scared). This allows us to fight our way out of danger, or flee. All well and good when confronted with a dangerous beast but not so useful in our day to day lives. If we are constantly on edge, our fight or flight status leaves us exhausted. The stress hormone, cortisol, is key to this defence system but long-term it plays havoc with our bodies – blood sugar and blood pressure skyrocket, memory is affected, higher levels at night create insomnia.

Working from home has been a mix of pleasure (no commute!) and challenge (cabin fever!), and just as we adapt to this, it’s time to get our heads around the idea of a “new normal”. Making sense of the new normal and ongoing uncertainty is enough to keep those stress hormones rumbling along.

By identifying our personal stress signatures, we can try and intervene to minimise the short and long term impacts on our lives. This can be as simple as taking a lunch break (not working while you eat), or making sure you have a real weekend with people you care with (not always checking emails). For me, taking the time out to join in on our Yoga Wellbeing Initiative really helped to keep me balanced.

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Stress Down this July

Friday 24th July 2020 is Stress Down Day, a fun and easy initiative designed to reduce stress and raise vital funds for Lifeline Australia. Stress Down Day promotes happiness, encourages help seeking and raises awareness of suicide prevention through raising funds for Lifeline's crisis support services. For more information, check out the Lifeline Website.

Self-care and managing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic

It is important to remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry or irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times like these. It is important to monitor your own physical and mental health, watch for signs which include: 
  • Heightened anxiety and/or fear
  • Increased irritability and outbursts of anger and arguments
  • Difficulty in sleeping and relaxing
  • Worrying excessively
  • Increase in use of alcohol or drugs
  • Having difficulty in communicating or listening
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains
  • Feeling depressed or guilty
  • Denying feelings or saying you don’t care
  • Confused, difficulty making decisions.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, focus on looking after yourself with these self-care strategies:

  1. Focus on personal hygiene habits
  2. Keep things in perspective
  3. Identify what you can control
  4. Focus on the people around you
  5. Take breaks to enjoy activities
  6. Eat healthily
  7. Make time to do things that help you relax
  8. Talk about your feelings
  9. Talk about other topics with friends
  10. Find ways to help others.

For more information or to arrange an appointment, please contact us on 1800 818 728.


Everyday Mindfulness at Work

Whether you're working from home or back in the office, here are some activities that you can do to develop your mindfulness practice.

1. Do one thing well. Multi-tasking might sound high-powered but studies show that it's ineffective. Switching gears repeatedly from one task to another trip up the brain and inhibits focus on any one of them. Focussing on one task at a time generally improves your productivity and accuracy.

2. Make time during the workday to be "present". Chances are, you already do this and don't even realise it. Remember all those times you have been concentrating hard on a work-related task and not heard your mobile ring? That was you being mindful and present in your moment - with purpose and without judgment.

3. Choose to start your day purposefully rather than letting the day start you. Once you have sat down at your desk, spend a few minutes noticing your breath and concentrating on its flow - with your eyes closed.

4. Be present when interacting with a colleague in a meeting. This may mean allowing yourself to focus fully on the message of your colleague and not getting distracted by other sounds in the room or at home.

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Tips for checking in on those around you

During this unprecedented time, it is important to check-in on those around you. But what does that actually mean and what does it look like when we do “check-in?” Here are some strategies to help you to have these all-important conversations:

A quick message - A simple approach to this is if someone has crossed your mind and there has not been any interaction in some way recently, send them a text (or ring) and say I am thinking about you and I hope you are going well. Also, take an hour out of your week (on a designated evening every week) and check that you have contacted friends and go through all personal communication platforms ensure that you haven’t forgotten to get back to people who have taken the time to reach out to you. Phone calls tend to take more time but some people who dislike texts are better on the phone.

Listening - when ringing someone or meeting for coffee, sometimes they need to vent or just talk through what is going on. Sometimes we really just need to name and verbalize how we are feeling or what we are experiencing. They might not be asking for anything but for you to listen. They may not want advice. If you feel time-pressured, just be honest that you have a little time and you can listen if that is helpful. It’s also ok to say upfront “I have to get back to work soon/pick up the kids/errands to do but I have ten minutes free if you just need me to listen and want to get it off your chest.” Sometimes acknowledging something positive or saying thank you for something they have done, can have an impact on their wellbeing. 

Giving advice - it’s best to ask directly them if they want advice, and then to be clear about why you feel qualified or not qualified to give it and what your limits are. Almost no one wants unsolicited advice, and almost no one wants someone else to act like they can “fix” or “solve” us easily. Don’t give advice without ) knowing if they want it, ii) knowing the limits of your ability to advise, and iii) being prepared and accepting for them to say they’ve already tried that, it isn’t appropriate/relevant to their need, or there are reasons they just aren’t going to do what you are suggesting. Don’t argue. Trust them that they know what is useful for them.

Practical support - if you know they have limited access to things they need or they are unable to do tasks (and you are both willing and able to do those things) offer it. Something like “Hey, I’m going to go and walk/ride/run and just sit by the lake later and wondered if you’d like to come? It’s ok if you do or don’t want to talk, bring a book if you prefer” might take more effort, so only offer them anything that you reasonably can.

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away


AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.