Navigating Uncertainty feat.
Dr Jodie Lowinger of the Sydney Anxiety Clinic.
Join Ben as he chats to Dr. Jodie Lowinger about navigating uncertainty and how we can best manage our mental health during this time.
Dr Lowinger is a national thought leader on anxiety, mindset and resilience. As a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Anxiety Expert and Change Management Consultant with a background in finance and business, Jodie combines a wealth of knowledge and skills that are rare to come by. She has worked and trained at Harvard University, is a University Medalist (UNSW) and has completed post graduate research in anxiety (USyd).
She is the creator of the MindStrength Method – Four Steps to Conquer Anxiety, Build Resilience and Optimise Performance.
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Meet the Masters
Ben Thompson is the CEO and founder of Employment Hero. He is an employment laywer, a businesses owner and has well over 20 years experience in the Australian employment landscape. A self confessed geek, Ben has boundless curiosity, enthusiasm and ambition. He thrives on creating innovative solutions, industry firsts and disruptive offerings that redefine markets.
Dr. Jodie Lowinger
Dr. Lowinger is a national thought leader on anxiety, mindset and resilience. As a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Anxiety Expert and Change Management Consultant with a background in finance and business, Jodie combines a wealth of knowledge and skills that are rare to come by. Jodie is a High Performance Coach and advisor to CEOs, C-level executives, business owners, senior leaders and boards.
Thanks for joining us again. We’re very privileged to have Dr. Jodie Lowinger with us today from Sydney Anxiety Clinic. Just before I introduce Dr. Jodie Lowinger, I wanted to just mention that as we’ve now sort of got in a rhythm of running these events these webinars it feels as though I’ve said it before we’re all moving through the same largely the same things at the same time and I think Jodies presentation today is perfectly timed for the reality of the situation which is you know we’re unlikely to see a huge number of people infected with coronavirus over the coming month. We’ve managed to flatten the curve and really control the spread – fingers crossed that we stay in that situation but as business owners and managers we’re now faced with a different situation which is we have our teams working remotely you know in a different environment locked down but we have to keep our companies running and we have to keep our people engaged and positive and we have to find opportunity amongst the adversity and so having that having this opportunity to talk about how we change the our mindset to stay positive and help our people to be positive when we’re going to be maintaining these social distancing measures for the next 90 days. According to the New South Wales State premiere this morning reinforcing that position.
I think it’s incredibly important that we know how to encourage people to stay positive and keep acting in a positive way so that’s really what Jodie is all about and I’m sure she will teach us a lot over the next hour or so, just to formally introduce Dr. Jodie Lowinger wears many hats. A doctor of clinical psychology, a high performance coach, keynote speaker, media commentator and Australia’s national thought leader on how to manage anxiety and build a resilient mindset. She’s on a mission – a heart driven mission to help people to move from anxiety to action to enable people with hopefulness and practical strategies that transform. Jodie is the creator of the mind strength method – four steps to manage anxiety, build high performance and a resilient mindset. Jodies mind strength products help leaders, parents and educators around the world to build courage, confidence, satisfaction and success as a high performance mindset and leadership coach. Jodie works with CEOs, executives, boards, business owners and entrepreneurs. She has 20 years experience international experience managing change and building high performance cultures across the globe private and government organizations. Jodie is regularly sought by the media and organizations as a keynote speaker and media commentator sharing her thought leadership on anxiety resilience and mindset and well-being she’s also an expert panelist such as reach out and are you okay to promote mental health and well-being across organizations, schools and the community. Jodie thank you so much for being with us here today we all look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for inviting me. Oh it’s it’s fantastic to be here and to work with you and what I love that you know your mission is to really help the businesses that are here today to feel empowered with practical strategies that make a difference and that’s the key message for today is we’ve all gone through so many challenges that it’s easy to get stuck in that headspace and to get hooked into that fear of something bad happening.
So the key thing for today is really to look at a strategy of how to help each and every one of you to get out of that fear driven mindset and into a more practical and effective mindset fantastic all right so I’ll pop up the presentation and we will roll just as you doing that we will back to Q&A at the end of the presentation we should have around 10 to 15 minutes of Q&A at the end so if you can hold your questions and you’ll be placed on a mute between now. So a pleasure to be working with you guys today and to be helping you in whatever way meets your needs we’re going to cover a really broad amount of content today. We’re going to look at mindset, we’re gonna look at anxiety we’re going to look at how to engage in more practical and effective action and also how to boost your mood given we’re in a context that we weren’t designed to be in we were designed to be able to roam free and to connect with whoever we want to connect with and the basic needs that we have is physical touch.
It’s physical connection so what we want to do is build some acceptance around the situation’s that we’re dealing with at the moment and pivot and adaptto make the most out of the context that we’re dealing with at the moment and how can you look after yourselves, how can you look after your organization how can you look after your family and your friends in this really unusual temporary normal that we’re experiencing. So as Ben mentioned I wear many hats – I’m a high performance coach to CEOs and executives and business owners and entrepreneurs and I work globally at the moment. I’m connected with leaders around the world and sure certain countries are doing it tougher than others but in essence what we’ve had to deal with is quite similar. Hello we’ve had this sudden onslaught of change and as you know human beings don’t sit well with change we struggle with change and we fight it and I’ll talk through some reasons why that is problematic for us as human beings and so we’ve been hit with this change we’ve been hit with mandatory ways that we need to move forward over the next few weeks months or however long it is and to adapt to a new normal and so that’s what leaders are doing that’s what organizations are doing to some degree.
We’ve had to bear to get a scale back to our bare minimums in certain situations and now we’ve gone through that crisis management stage how can we move beyond that now and to move from a threat headspace into a practical and effective and a high performance headspace so that’s one hat that I wear helping business leaders around the globe and recognizing in essence we’re all in this together at the moment. The other hat that I wear is CEO and founder of Sydney Anxiety Clinic and that’s a clinical psychology practice where we work with adults, kids and teens. Now I mentioned Sydney Anxiety Clinic because this level of uncertainty and this level of change in a context in a society where we were already sitting with what people might call an anxiety epidemic where 25% of adults children and teens are experiencing anxiety to clinical levels that’s anxiety to the point it’s causing prolonged fear suffering and avoidance in people’s lives so that was what we were experiencing with before COVID-19.
Now what I’m seeing at the front end is that the context that we’re living in at the moment has led to an escalation of anxiety and stress so what I do whether it’s in a clinical context or in a day-to-day context but all of us you know we all experience anxiety to some degree it’s just part of our common human experience but one of the key messages for today is if you are experiencing distress please do not feel that you need to suffer in silence because there are so many practical and effective strategies that you can engage in now that now we’ve got a world of things at hand via digital but also now Sydney Anxiety Clinic as an example – we offer digital therapy so there is the capacity to connect and to seek out the help that you need no matter where, no matter who so, that’s the beauty of digital technology now and so again let’s move from that stress anxiety despair distress mindset that we might be getting hijacked by and embraced practical and effective actions that make a difference in your life professionally and personally.
So moving on the objectives for today how to manage worry stress and anxiety in a crisis so that’s what predominantly I’m going to equip you with is if you’re feeling this level of stress what to do when you’re headspace is going into this crisis mode how to feel more empowered and in control and then what we’re going to turn to is practical and powerful mood boosters anxiety distress stress low mood worry they all kind of bundle together and they feed off each other so in helping with anxiety and stress, it’s really important to protect your mood and these are practical and effective mind-body strategies that you can do even in the context of social distancing. How you can adapt your home environment to ensure that you get the mind-body strategies that you need to boost your mood and so we’re going to be going through some practical things there to really help each and every one of you and what I love to equip you with as well today is a toolkit for you to not only help yourself but to help your kids and teams for those of you who have got children and adolescents we’ve been thrown into this place we call home altogether how can you be there for your children be there for your teams how can you seek out the silver lining in your home environment. This is going to open up some actually really incredible pearls – amazing beautiful opportunities to connect so I encourage you sometimes if in your business you’re experiencing distress and despair that your bottom line has been impacted by something heavy in uncertain situations.
Sometimes we have to look under a rock to find those silver linings but we have to dig deep and try and seek out the opportunities, seek out the positivity seek out the way we can move from anxiety into practical and effective action. So just a disclaimer for today this is general information general advice however if you are as I mentioned earlier experiencing distress please do seek out the help that you need I’ll be able to give some powerful and all-encompassing compass in mindset strategies for you to feel better in the situation that you’re dealing with but for some of us, quite a number of us at the moment there are people experiencing some significant hardship and some significant distress please do not feel that you need to numb those difficult emotions and shut them down connect with one another and seek out the help that you need alright and please do feel free to connect with me directly if you want any further information in the work that im covering today. It’s always an absolute pleasure.
So what we’re dealing with is and I’ll use the word I’m sorry unprecedented – I know we’ve been hearing that word a lot but unprecedented and unprecedented situation in that we’ve never dealt with something like this before to the level that we are experiencing in our lifetime and yes on the news on the media we’re hearing stories of horrendous hardship that people are going through escalations of death and reported cases worldwide so what this tips us into is sitting with this fear of something potentially bad happening uncertainty. I call uncertainty out as a threat it doesn’t sit comfortably with us as human beings right those of you who are involved in change management a lot of you out there involved in supporting your people within your organization’s leaders but all of us really we crave certainty and why because certainty equals safety. When we can predict our environment, we feel safe, we feel comfortable we feel at ease so coronavirus has tipped our headspace into this next-level uncertainty it is our uber threat so if you’re experiencing anxiety stress distress please recognize that this is very very normal – very understandable so what is the uncertainty that it’s thrown us into as each and every one of you are experiencing some degree business pandemonium. When I’m working with leaders at the moment around the world so I’m working with leaders in Europe, I’m working with leaders in the States and in Australasia. Business pandemonium is the the the state of play the consistency that we’re dealing with to various degrees and so what’s happened is we’ve gone from overnight having to adapt having to change the way we were typically on a day-to-day basis and for a good couple of weeks now we have been potentially to some degree having to adapt having to pivot having to adjust and leaders executives organizations in crisis management mode.
Okay – we’ve got to absorb that as courageous leaders we’ve got to contain that breathing that stress breathe out that calm and say hey guys and girls we’ve got this we have got this we can do this we can adjust and we can find the best what in what we are dealing with at the moment and there’s two ways we’ve got to adapt adjust we’ve got to adjust with our business context and the people who we care for who we lead who we engage with our stakeholders our clients our internal and external relationships we have to adjust and in order to do that in order to be courageous leaders and courageous individuals who comes first yes we come first right when we come first now that’s a bit hard when we are giving giving giving in every direction. That’s hard but as you well know we can’t pour from an empty glass so check in on that personal stress that personal anxiety agitation and in some businesses out there despair that you’re going through my heart is connected to each and every one of you in the challenge that that has been so that’s what we’ve had to do we’ve had to adjust we’ve had to accept this new normal and now it is time to say what can we bring into our control how can we build certainty into this uncertainty and that what today is all about so positive messages.
Today first and foremost we have to build awareness around what is going on here right this part of our brain, our prefrontal cortex. It’s the radar that picks up on uncertainty in our environment and what takes hold worry worry takes hold. Will I go into lockdown, will my business be threatened, what does that mean to my business, will my livelihood be threatened, will my family be threatened, will my life be threatened and fortunately we are now moving into a stage where hopefully we’ve got this we have pivoted as a community as a society we’ve embraced social distancing. We’ve engaged in the practical strategies we need to. It’s really straightforward in essence social distancing hand hygiene respecting one another and keeping each other safe and well and hey I am super proud at the moment I am a proud Australian because we’ve done well we continue to do well. So let’s now sit in hopefulness, notice what’s going on here and recognize that that can tip us into anxiety so we struggle with uncertainty. It ignites our primitive survival instinct of fight-or-flight. We want to know what’s lurking around the corner. It could be something threatening – right if we think about the cave people that are in us life was really simple when we were cave people something was either going to sustain us be a friend or kill us be a folk okay our brain is still wired that way. We seek out friends and we avoid our enemies. We avoid our threats, we avoid the tigers and this is why we don’t like uncertainty because it means that something dangerous might be lurking around the corner.
We fight it, we try to get rid of it, we struggle with it and so our mindset has been sitting with this uncertainty coronavirus so many questions we didn’t really know the answers we’re now moving into a next stage, we have lots of answers we know how to manage this and we will together we will succeed and the beautiful thing about that is we’re dealing with social disconnection social isolation but in essence what we have here is connection at the deepest possible level how amazing is this we’re all in it together and so although the connection that we typically would have has had to adjust, we can actually now embrace a new form of connection. The connection that says that we are all working towards a common goal and in that common goal we’re dependent on each other – lean into that and recognize there’s no disconnection here. There’s no isolation here we are actually deeply connected feel empowered in that we all have a role to play together we will win this challenge that we’re facing so let’s not a fight uncertainty let’s tip let’s pivot and let’s adapt okay because we recognize worry just leads to more worry worry is a really unhelpful mental process so let’s move out of this worry headspace.
Let’s recognize what it does in our brain and let’s move towards effective action so what worry does is it triggers this amygdala hijack. We get hijacked by this primitive part of our brain that sends us into fight-or-flight. Now we’re all familiar with the bat that has been taking place over we all know about it toilet paper okay, who’d have thought there’d be so much news reports attending to toilet paper. Now it’s not like we can laugh about it and how good is that that we’ve been able to find the humor in the challenging life experiences that we have been experiencing however let’s think about what’s going on here. Supermarket brawls – we’re not angry we are just in this fight-or-flight headspace this is the many faces of anxiety so let’s recognize what’s going on here the supermarket rules ultimately this is stress, this is our grappling with uncertainty. This is our primitive survival instinct at play so we have a duty of care now to support each other to understand each other through that and to lean in to help to lean in to care for one another and to help each other move out of that fight-or-flight headspace so our brain responds to perceived threat as if it’s real threat and it triggers this primitive survival instinct but recognize in essence what I love to say is anxiety is in fact our superpower.
When I’m working with people whether it’s at the Sydney Anxiety Clinic working and helping adults kids and teens with more extreme levels of anxiety, or whether I’m working with high performance leaders or athletes, a lot of people here actually have this incredible analytical mind and this deep passionate heart it is next-level superpowers right there right there now this can predispose us or tip individuals into a fight or flight into anxiety and why? Because individuals who might be a little bit more predisposed care they care to make a difference. They care to do the right thing and for those of you struggling at the moment please be proud of who you are this means that you care. This means that you care about your own well-being, about your organisation’s well-being, about your employees well-being, about your family’s well-being, your partner and your children. So understand where it’s coming from if you didn’t care you wouldn’t care. So recognizing a lot of anxiety is our superpower.
How can we understand it and then move towards a more helpful headspace now the Mayan strength methodology is not really what I’m talking about today. Today is about how to help you move out of a crisis mindset into a practical and effective mindset the mind strength methodology is a methodology that I’ve developed to help business leaders embrace a high-performance mindset and the mindset and skills to succeed professionally and personally and it’s a methodology to help people to work through anxiety. Today what we’re dealing with is how to deal with a crisis so no need to suffer in silence today or any day when there are really powerful and effective strategies to make a difference and now as I mentioned earlier video conferencing technology.
What we’re doing today is incredible coaching mental health connection connection around the world it’s bringing us together and yes we’ve had to embrace these strategies but now we can offer a hybrid service in many respects so whatever businesses that you’re in now I hope you’re moving out of the stress and anxiety headspace into effective action to think and think creatively. How can I sneak out the opportunities in this situation, what can I do to adapt? Remember adapting is key to our survival as human beings and key to success now and always so I encourage you think creatively think out-of-the-box sometimes again lift up those rocks see what you can find under there to try and help yourselves to feel more empowered and the challenge with high achievers is a need for control a deep desire for certainty and control when we’re in control hey we’re on fire right we do things well we’re just but as you know in life we’re not always going to be in control. So this is about acceptance of uncertainty and letting go of control and finding where you can build certainty amidst the uncertainty so the first step is notice when worries take hold, what is the worry story that’s playing out in your mind.
Can you get some distance from those worried thoughts that are taking place at the moment and sometimes when we’ve got this hijacking amygdala we want to breathe long slow out-breath right each and every one of you. I encourage you right at this point in time can you notice where that muscle tension is can you leverage this incredible thing that we have called our breath it goes with us wherever we go. Long slow out breath and breathe and notice and validate rather than struggle acknowledge your thoughts and your feelings this is critical. What we do in society – well what do we do typically when we experience distress when we experience stress anxiety low mood what is our core messages that are almost built into us as part of society things that resonate in our minds now I’m gonna use references to men because typically these are the phrases that we were some of us more than others brought up to hear man up boys don’t cry. We know these messages – I’m part of an incredible not-for-profit called gotcha for life this is key to the messages we want to deliver to say everybody recognized it’s normal and okay to build these emotions and let’s validate and acknowledge and support one another in those emotions and say you know what as we know are you okay says it’s okay to not be okay let’s recognize that it’s not about pushing those thoughts under the carpet and those feelings. It’s not about trying to numb them. What happens when we numb those big feelings we turn to ways to quickly fix how to numb those big feelings, things like alcohol, things like self-harm, things like drugs. These things but other ways procrastination avoidance they’re always to numb difficult emotions and what is the ultimate expression of numbing big emotions suicide. We have got a horrendous number of people who take their lives because of distress because feeling they’re not good enough in feeling this distress so I encourage each and every one of you please if you’re feeling distress at the moment that doesn’t mean that you’re no good. That doesn’t mean that you’re not coping, that doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. This means that you are just human and you are experiencing very very normal understandable emotions. If you have people in your current home environment that are struggling with some of this because there’s a lot of stress at the moment and we are contained in home environments that some people find it hard to deal with this stress. We can get this all or nothing of emotions, so validate acknowledgment, connect with one another, really be there for each other and that’s how we can dissolve these big emotions. Very very helpful and important so accept uncertainty and it takes us out of that fight-or-flight and then we want to bring our mind back to the present moment it gives us a greater sense of control can we build the certainty amidst the uncertainty so finally can we move from worry into problem-solving and action planning how can you find the things that you can do don’t struggle with the things that are out of your control but bring it back to what is in your control and problems of of an action plan around what’s in your control and powerful mood boosters as we know the mind-body connection is key to success here.
For those of you who are personal trainers I applaud you because exercise is key to success when it comes to mood therapy exercise. Please embrace the help that you need there’s so much out there so please do not suffer in silence this is evidence-based exercise in the movement stimulates dopamine and endorphins you know this stuff please see how you can adapt your home environment so what have I done I’ve moved my furniture I’ve created space I’ve created a mini gym in my lounge room – hey I’m doing exercise with my kids this is really really good stuff right. These are the pearls that are coming out of this experience um you know I saw one of my leaders one of my clients the other day deep connection I might not say exactly what was going it was okay a bit of disclosure somebody was just engaging in some beautiful really beautiful creative actions only leave it at that with with one of their children and it was very very lovely to see that these sorts of opportunities are coming up in our home environment so meditation,mindfulness, relaxation.
So much evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of these strategies now please recognize I work with you know I specialize in working with high performers CEOs that say senior executives and how to you know build successful machines in these individuals and a lot of the people who I deal with can have a predisposition to tip towards perfectionism and so we want to stand up to perfectionism particularly in this environment have a think about it what is the problem with perfectionism it can lead to all or nothing thinking and in this environment we might not be able to have all we might not be able to do the gym classes that we would normally do or the you know that 20-minute meditations that that best practice says to lots of 20 minutes or whatever it might be that the science supports. Really what I’m about is saying two minutes is better than no minutes and yes this is out of line potentially with what best practices to rewire your brain but if you can do best practice if you can embrace this magnificent that’s fantastic but I would like to see you doing something rather than not this is what is going to help you to boost your mood and what we’re talking about is sustainability now feeling empowered feeling hopeful engaging in practical strategies that make a difference. Can you focus on something that gives you a sense of achievement and challenge, mastery.
You know I saw in an awesome initiative that that tank is putting out saying free programs alone now I don’t know the specific details about that I just heard it on the news but wow how can you leverage this time to make the most of it and embrace those opportunities that are coming through on digital it’s really really fabulous please put fun things into your days and kindness and gratitude kindness is key to our mental health and well-being what kind of things can you do for yourself and what kind of things can you do for the people around you and embrace connection so moving on how can you help your kids find opportunities to connect. There’s incredible opportunities you know 20-minute exercise classes I was doing Pilates with my daughter I mean this is just fantastic. Typically I would be at work right I would long hours so now we have got this beautiful opportunity ask your kids open up questions ask them what would they like to know how can you help validate their feelings acknowledge that there’s no silly question. It’s all really good if they come to you with a question and power them what do you think we need to do how can we adapt our environment to make it the best that it can be.
Ask them questions and give age-appropriate information. Don’t feel like you need to give everything – create boundaries around that information because there are some challenging stories that are out there there’s some challenging things that they can be exposed to on digital so please do recognize that keep it age-appropriate and ultimately the most brilliant thing you can do now is be a role model all of resilience. That means saying it’s okay if you’re feeling difficult feelings that is okay we’re not robots as parents we’re not robots as leaders we’re not robots as employees working in organizations but how can you respond to
that in helpful ways to seek out the strategies that you need to make a difference for yourselves and together we will win seek out the silver linings online will tip us to the negatives – we will take us to the threats be purposeful in trying to find the things that can help you the connections I might omits the disk connections and by all means I work really closely with my leaders we have got amazing relationships of empowerment both for themselves but also working with the broader organization.
So typically what happens is I work with the leader and then I work with the leadership team and then I work with whole organizations and it would be such a pleasure to help each and every one of you out there if you’re experiencing challenge or if you just want to embrace strategies to build a high performance mindset professionally and personally look forward to connecting with you in the future if that meets your needs.
Thank you thanks so much Jodie that was fantastic now I would just like to open people to sorry ask people to use the Q&A function at the bottom of the screen there to ask any questions. There’s there’s one open question usually we’ve we have hundreds at this point so please don’t hold back in asking questions while we have Jodie with us and here they come which is fantastic.
I guess personally the point that captures me so much is looking for that silver lining and for us as a luckily as a technology company I think we say that coronavirus has has actually accelerated the adoption of technology and flexibility in the workplace. It may have accelerated the adoption of working from home and online meetings like this by five or ten years so that’s that’s one of the silver linings that we see and and and spending time together as a family it can be frustrating when we’re all locked up together but usually when we have to go on holidays to have that level of time and connection with our immediate family so there are plenty of good things in this but now that we had some questions I might throw them over to you.
Do you have any suggestions for boosting the mood of my team together? I’ve seen people do group workouts but I know lots of people in my workplace don’t work out.
Yeah it’s a fantastic question so I would encourage you to think about all of those various aspects to boost mood and typically exercises to one of them and there’s many variants to exercise so it’s how can we embrace the imperfection in this and I love what you’re saying it’s about respecting people’s diversity and respecting that different people have different needs but as a team as a collective – it is about being authentic, it’s about sharing stories, it is about thinking as exactly has been just said about what is going on in the home environment but ultimately to facilitate boosting mood. It’s exercise, it’s making sure that everybody is eating well is staying hydrated, is getting sufficient sleep but also getting out in the fresh air and gaining in nature. You know we are social distancing and we’ve had to sort of stay at home to a large degree but if within the context of the regulations that the government is subscribing there is still capacity to get fresh air and get sunshine in and to do the things that our body typically needs to do so it’s leading by example within your organization and encouraging each and every one of you to do these things that that we know are evidence-based supporting connection and boosting our mood.
Another question… Right now I feel that looking these silver linings are easy if you’re generally an optimistic person but how do you encourage your team to look for silver linings when they are just moved – I can’t find that now when I guess when they are maybe not the the optimistic one in the group they’re more of the the realist potentially.
Yeah a really a brilliant question and what we want to do is recognize that different people are in different contexts there’s a lot of people who are suffering at the moment and suffering in in you know some people are much more so isolated than others so we have to recognize that everybody is facing different situations and sustainability is key here because this environment is not one that we’re decided to be experiencing and that it might be we were still sort of what is it week two at the moment we’ve got to be sustainable so this is why this is such an important question and again bringing it back to the slide around mood boosters this is critical when we’re feeling down and we might have a step susceptibility and as we know this is just the way I had a brain years we have this negativity bias that can kick in typically when we’re feeling down we’re more inclined to do less rather than do more and that can have a negative spiral that can tip a person from experiencing low mood into something that is much having a much greater impact.
So the big ticket here are the things that were on that slide about can you encourage each member of your team to build accountability around exercise and movement that’s big-ticket item number one and movement it doesn’t have to be anything too extreme their achievement and mastery and challenge some things small everyday and build accountability to that this is a incredible moon booster. This is all evidence-based treatment actually for depression every day one small thing the next is something pleasant something fun one small thing small is better than not at all and connection kindness gratitude all of these things are going to make this current environment a lot more sustainable and those people are a little bit more susceptible to some of these challenges all the more reason this is things that we all need to be engaging in at the moment but particularly people who are feeling a little bit more powerful.
Fantastic answer. Here’s one that is yeah it’s from somebody anonymous but I think it’s very important for I’m sure a lot of people are feeling similarly to this so hi Jodie, I’ve tried to be strong for my staff and top them up but my reserves are waning my CEO and board members have not once asked me how I’m doing how do I tell them without seeming weak to them that I’m not doing ok.
It’s a really really great question everybody’s different and every organization is different and certainly speak with whoever you feel you can speak with about this to get guidance we can only ultimately control ourselves we can’t necessarily control how other people respond to it so I do encourage you to look after yourself and to engage in some of the strategies that we’ll be talking about today and just feel empowered and see how you go with the discussions with people who you feel comfortable with to talk it through and to problem-solve an action plan whether there’s somebody in the context of your environment in HR that you might be able to speak with or any other people within your realm of connections to seek that guidance.
Another one here which I can personally relate to is um from Anna – How can I override my natural tendency to work harder and longer hours at home it’s just so hard to disconnect when there is you know there’s always somebody at the end of the phone or slack or whatever it is that that allows you to continue working so any suggestions on bringing that that gap in to you though yeah. I I feel you. I think we’re all grappling with this sort of experience at the moment absolutely it is a slippery slope and I’m experiencing that myself and so yes we’ve got to pivot and adapt so brilliant brilliant question you’re going to help a lot by recognizing that this is a challenge so we have to be quite disciplined around this and create boundaries you know what we want to try and conceptualize is business as usual and adapt our home environment to facilitate that as best as we can so there is a bit of discipline in this. Build boundaries to ask yourself but I’d be still running my computer right about now you know sometimes yes it just happens to be where under the fluorescent lights in the office but now yes it’s harder when we’re at home and it’s all amongst us so see if you can carve out a space that is your working space and creating and fire that is somewhat like your work environment.
So I’m doing sessions you know almost back-to-back at the moment with my clients so video conferencing again has been has been mentioned these are the opportunities that we are embracing that it’s next level digital opportunities but the challenge with that I’ve got for example I’ve got a client now in the the Netherlands who is wanting me to do a webinar at at 5 a.m. and so I’m kind of recognizing that slippery slope so well. I’m very disciplined around is creating a workspace for myself so when I’m at work I you know environment is be at the office I I get dressed for work I get my morning routine as if I was still at work and so that’s how I’m dealing with that and so that way my work is my work and then my home is my home. It can be easier to carve that out if you try and maintain your work strategies and routines as if we were still at work that’s great there’s that I’m just reading through the questions here and those are some what appears to be a bit of a common theme which I think I can put into one question which is how do you what’s the right way to approach a colleague who you feel is is suffering from anxiety and but they answered with the one-word response you know we always open how are you doing good.
So there’s multiple people here who have said that they’ve got colleagues where they’re worried about but they’re not quite sure how to approach that question. Can you recommend a set of words or approach?
This is this is very challenging for people because clearly you want to help and you want you solve right that’s what we do as kind human beings we want to help other people and we want to fix their problem you know this applies in the work context this applies in relation to supplies as parents as well and so what we do is we actually think that we need to jump to problem-solving and in essence it’s actually easier than we think. It’s easier rather than harder – there’s a step that we miss typically as human beings because we can do people we jump to problem-solving too quickly and it’s actually not our job to solve somebody else’s problem. It’s our job to help them to feel more empowered to solve the problem for themselves the step that we miss is validation and this is our superpower there’s a lot of super powers to tell but awareness is key as well as validation now that what validation means is checking in on the emotions or reflecting on the emotions that another person is experiencing at a particular point in time and that is so helpful for another human being it’s simply saying you know Ben I’m sensing that you’re feeling a little stressed out at the moment I’m just a little bit concerned how are you going right I’m wondering if there’s anything that I can do to help? So it’s a two-step process – it’s a reflection on the emotions that the person is experiencing and then it’s asking an open-ended question rather than what we feel we might need to do and that’s give the answers and give the solution and tell them what to do sometimes.
When we try to tell a person what to do what typically happens the brick wall comes up and they say I don’t want to deal with that right now no I’m good I’m fine so just experiment with that emotional validation and sometimes those brick walls can really dissolve in that moment and it can be a really wonderful opportunity to connect with another human being
That’s excellent advice. What about coming from a number of questions here about the people who are dealing with this more in isolation than others are you: that they’re living alone or they’re living in a shared apartment but not necessarily with close friends.
I guess both of those things bring slightly different problems- one is the stress of living with people you’re not familiar with and the other one of not having anyone around. On any particular approaches to those issues yeah it’s this is really really hard to a lot of individuals in society at the moment isolation the practicalities of what we’re dealing with so what I’m seeing is very wonderful human acts of kindness. You know we saw it prior to now with the bush fires we saw the essence of who we are as a society is amazing things come out in times of adversity so if each and every one of us can take on that duty of care to extend an act of kindness and connection and emotional validation to people within our circle of connections this can be amazing. You know you are literally changing lives in that very moment by embracing acts of kindness in whatever is in your control and if we all do that and extends that beautiful network that we have to leverage that we’re going to be helping each other through this to make this situation a little bit more sustainable.
There’s another two here and we’ll wrap up. There’s one about people who and it’s quite common at the moment that people have been asked to reduce their hours so working four-day workweek or or similar however the workload hasn’t really reduced if anything. I find personally that we’re more busy than ever and I’m sure that there that there are people who are feeling incredibly overwhelmed by having fewer hours to get more work done. Is there any particular approach to dealing with that feeling to dealing with the feeling?
It is probably engaging in a lot of the strategies that we’ve talked about today to help to make it sustainable and to look after yourselves alongside these stressful circumstances that you’re dealing with you know just build that self awareness to ask yourself am i into burnout, am I feeling frazzled, how can I embrace small rather than not at all. Just to fill up your cup so if you feel like not I need a depletion bone. Do you engage to me to help with the emotional experiences that dealing with we a lot of us are doing very very tough with some of the this context you know I share what then was saying about I feel honestly I feel busier than I’ve ever felt before and certainly the level of stress around the world that I’m containing in my clients has kind of magnified you know it’s a hundred extra sure but for each and every one of us it has magnified so all the more reason to engage in some of these strategies that we’re talking about today and to say what this might be out of my control right now but what can I find that in my control to help to bolster your mood boost your mood and make this current context a little bit more sustainable for you for those of you who are having to experience some of these challenging experiences.
That’s fantastic. We’re on 12 midday. Are there any resources like so if people are asking those questions to their team and and and checking in more frequently with their team are there any and they find that there are team members that do need help. What resources can you recommend to people that are available out there that they should refer their team members to and we’ll follow up on this question and the answer to this question and put
together a list of resources and institutions that can help with these types of things but if you can just sort of maybe talk to two managers and leaders if they do ask the question and they get the answer – I’m not okay I need extra I need some help where do they go at that point?
Yeah so we have got a digital infrastructure at the Sydney Anxiety Clinic that is offering help for everybody really now so please do feel free to connect with us directly or otherwise you can connect an firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be able to be equipped with evidence-based strategies oftentimes anxiety and low mood these sorts of challenges with the right evidence-based treatment you can turn problems around very well very readily so make sure you do get people or clinical psychologists who are trained or other therapists who are trained in the right evidence-based strategies.
But the beauty of digital therapy is we can achieve the same goals as based on the face and so I’m not finding that that is a hindrance to providing people with the care that they need to connect with me on social media channels. I’m putting out content all the time and really happy as I said feel free to connect. There’s so much to do to help so so much we can do together to help and it will be such a pleasure in whatever way meets your needs.
That’s fantastic. Thank You Jodie there are so many more questions that we didn’t get a chance to address and some of them just reading them now you know quite emotional and I really feel for all of all the people on this call caring for your team so much and I do hope that we can turn the corner here and actually start to to drive through this and find that positivity and silver lining that that we know is that is right there so we will do everything we can to help you with that and we will follow up to this webinar with with resources to help you.
Employment Hero is also launching surveys and all this week including the product in Employment Hero a online survey to check in with people with your team around COVID-19 just to find out whether they are doing okay so keep an eye open for the surveys in Employment Hero to help you connect with your team in these ways but otherwise we’re all in this together we’re all here to help.
Thank You Jodie for helping us put this on for all of our all the people in the call.
Thank you for having me. It’s such a joy and I really do want people to sit with them hopefully as you said because you know the mind strength methodology things can be remedied really effectively so please if your people are suffering from silence do reach out rather than feel any sense of stigma and shame. If we’ve got the society where there are many resources available leverage those resources so you can feel more empowered
Great thanks so much Jodie I’m looking forward to staying in touch with you – it’s great to work with all of you take care