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Wellbeing On The Frontline

Wellbeing tips for both managers and staff working through the pandemic (who we're immensely grateful to!)

While Aotearoa is in lockdown, we are thankful for the frontline healthcare workers who continue to work tirelessly to keep our healthcare system ticking over, ensuring no one has to face this crisis alone. On behalf of all New Zealanders, your mahi is appreciated. Ngā mihi, thank you and your whānau for your manaakitanga, kindness, aroha and bravery during this difficult time.

Right now, physical health is top of mind as we all take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s equally important to protect and nurture your hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing, especially when serving others as a frontline healthcare worker.

We’re working on a series of resources to help you and your team navigate this stressful, difficult time. Here are some simple wellbeing tips for both managers and staff working through the pandemic.

Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora, kia Mauri Tau

Be prepared, be well, be calm

Tips for managers leading teams through the pandemic

Here are some wellbeing tips for managers leading teams through the COVID-19 pandemic:

Acknowledge it’s hard

Let your staff know they’re doing a great job in difficult, uncertain circumstances. Remind your team of the strengths they already have. Let them know their wellbeing is important and they will be supported through this. Providing reassurance and affirmation to staff as often as possible will help to alleviate stress and combat fatigue.

Hold regular team check-ins

It’s important to check in with the people you manage regularly and have open, honest communication. Have a hui/meeting at the start of the day/shift and let everyone know the action plan. Allow space and time for questions. Debrief at the end to discuss any concerns.

Set up a buddy system

Identify people within your team who can take on a pastoral care role. Create a buddy system and encourage people to kōrero/talk to each other about any worries they may have in a safe, informal environment. Ensure people know they can contact helplines like 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor at anytime.

Make staff wellbeing a priority

Role model wellbeing as much as you can by taking regular breaks and doing things to relax and re-centre during your work day. What wellbeing initiatives can you introduce? Start a gratitude wall or introduce a steps challenge. Providing opportunities for people to actively boost their wellbeing will have huge benefits to staff morale.

Tips to help you and your hoamahi/colleagues to get through

Here are some wellbeing tips to help you and your hoamahi/colleagues get through:

Acknowledge worries you and your whānau may have

Working on the frontline during a pandemic is stressful. You may have worries about how you and your whānau will protect yourselves. If you do, talk together about the plans and systems your workplace has to keep you safe. Make your own plans within your whānau too. Take time to notice what’s worrying you and set time aside to think about what you can and can’t control. Be kind to yourself, it’s normal to feel concerned at a time like this.

Take notice of the things that uplift you

Whether it’s listening to a podcast on your way to work, having a coffee break in the autumn sunshine, watching your favourite comedian on YouTube, or video-calling your mokopuna/grandchildren after your shift – find the things in your daily routine that bring a smile to your face, and try and do them more often.

Move and nourish your tinana/body

To help you through this stressful time it’s important to find simple ways to stay active. It could be taking a brisk walk around your neighbourhood (count how many teddy bears you see in windows!), or doing an online yoga class to unwind after a busy day. Use kai/food to fuel you – eat often and focus on having fresh, nutritious meals. Stay hydrated throughout the day.

Stay connected to your friends and whānau

Check in with the people you care about via text, Facebook messenger or calls. Having regular contact with people outside your workplace can help to take your mind off your day-to-day stresses. You might like to try playing an online game, or watching Netflix together – think of the things you enjoy doing when you are together and figure out creative ways to keep doing them while you’re apart.

Connect to the whenua/land

When you have some downtime, take time to be in nature – It’s guaranteed to give your wellbeing a boost! Head into your backyard and see how many native plants you can notice. Can you spot any harakeke/flax, pūriri, tōtara, rengarenga/native lily? Think about how you can bring nature into your workplace too – an indoor plant, or even a screensaver of your local maunga/mountain.

Take time to breathe

If things feel overwhelming at work, stop what you are doing and take some mindful breaths in and out, calming your body and mind, then rest where you are noticing everything that is going on around you. This practice incorporates four key aspects of mindfulness training: Stopping – Calming – Resting – Noticing. Together, these four steps are very healing.

Ask for tautoko/support

You’re giving so much. Remember you can ask for support too. Reach out and ask the loved ones in your bubble to help you in any way they can. Whether it’s doing the grocery shopping, making dinner or keeping the house tidy while you’re out working – anything that makes life a little easier for you will go a long way toward boosting your wellbeing.

Unplug and unwind

Hearing about COVID-19 continuously can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re working through it. Take a break from the news when you need to and create your own wind-down routine. Run a bath, recite a karakia before you leave work, or enter your whare/home to help ground yourself, or try a mindfulness meditation before bed.

Our gratitude to the Mental Health Foundation for this content. Click here for further reading on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond.

Aroha for our COVID Heroes

We asked people on Facebook and Instagram to tell us what message they'd like to share with all the gorgeous people who are keeping our supermarkets, medical services, pharmacies, community services, councils, vets, service stations, power companies etc open.

We've provided a small selection of what you told us below - the full list (which may bring a tear to your eye!) can be found on our Facebook page.


Not all right?

We all need a bit of support from time to time. If you or someone you know is struggling, there are free help and support services available.