For many of us 2020 and 2021 has been a time where we have had to respond to change at speed, come to terms with restrictions on our lives and the lives of our friends and whānau, slow down in a way we hadn’t anticipated then "pivot" to adapt to an environment that can feel uncertain.
Our wellbeing – your wellbeing/ tūhauora has been challenged in ways you may never have expected.
Below is a range of resources/ people/ information and learning that can support your emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
This suite of resources will be changed and added to frequently.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022
MHAW 26 September - 2 October 2022 Facilitated by The Mental Health Foundation
Watch this space to find out this year's theme and how you can get involved.
Last year we connected through kōrero.
This was chosen because the little, everyday conversations we have are surprisingly important – and they make a big difference to our mental health – so we want you to take notice of the kōrero that makes you feel good and do it more often. Over time, these small chats create meaningful connections, help us understand each other better and ensure we have people we can count on when times are tough.
You will see below a list of our people at OP that are always keen for a kōrero.
If you would like some resources to start your own kōrero contact People and Culture
Diaphragmatic Breathing with Anne
Watch this video to learn a breathing technique that helps you calm and prepare yourself for the day.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
What Services are available?
Otago Polytechnic’s Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) is Benestar.
- MyCoach is a coaching/counselling service which is available face-to-face or over the phone. Coaches are trained to assist you with everything from mental health concerns to relationships to exercise and sleep – all in complete confidence.
- BeneHub is a health and wellbeing portal that contains a vast library of health and wellbeing resources
- Access Learning Modules on a range of topics - including these:
Who can access these services?
All Otago Polytechnic staff can access the BeneHub portal.
To be eligible for free MyCoach sessions, staff must be employed at 0.4FTE or greater, and be a permanent staff member or employed on a fixed term contract that has at least six months remaining at the time they wish to access the service. OP will cover cost of the first three sessions for eligible staff.
How do I access the Service?
It's easy to get started, and once you've registered you'll have secure access to the BeneHub portal and app.
You can phone 0800 360364 for assistance from Benestar This is the fastest to find out counsellor availability.
- Visit benestar.com and go to the BeneHub Login
- Enter your company details under the ‘Not Registered?’ heading:
- ID: OTPONZ
- Provide a few simple details and create your own password.
What can a leader do to put the focus on well-being?
Suzi McAlpine (The Art of Leadership blog and author of Beyond Burnout) is clear:
"I’ve seen a proliferation of mindfulness exercises and resilience courses, yoga classes and tips for employees on what they need to do to avoid burnout. None of these are bad initiatives.
But when it comes to wellbeing at work, they should be the icing on the cake. Not the cake itself. On their own, they simply won’t cut it. I see far too many organisations ‘fluffing around the edges’ with wellbeing. They’re putting in initiatives that tick the boxes, but leaders are avoiding tackling the biggest levers when it comes to wellbeing at work. "
Suzi says leaders need to get better at organising and prioritising work and offers 7 strategies to help bring this to life.
Running on Empty?
When we work with people every day, we give of ourselves over and over and may not recognise when we have emptied our well-being tank.
Making regular connections with a trusted colleague or friend can help us see the signs that we need to make a pit-stop.
We hear so often that we need to care for ourselves to be better able to help others, but how many of us truly keep an eye on our fuel guage?
I'm running with the whole motor sport analogy - just humour me!
This worksheet is another way you can put your wellbeing into scrutineering. Okay - I'm pulling the handbrake on the puns - I promise!
Supporting distressed students
If you have a student you are concerned about read through this flowchart for information on how to help.
They are different skills for all of us. Some skills are more effective than others, some are things we have always done that may not necessarily be the best choice for the situation.
Here is a link to a list of skills and tasks that have been proven to support us in times of mental and emotional distress.
Take a photo of the ones that stand out to you so you can refer to it, right when you need it.
Te Pou have produced a resource for people wanting to understand stress/tāmitanga.
This helpful factsheet describes stress as an emotional and physical response to life’s pressures and demands. This may include significant life events such as illness (own or someone else), living conditions, work/mahi, home, whānau, study, finances, or
lack of some necessity. Stress can also be caused by internal events, such as thoughts or memories.
Policies and procedures
Otago Polytechnic takes it responsibilities as a good employer seriously and actively manages all forms of stress in the workplace.
Our commitment to this is outlined in the policies below.
Find out more about Harassment and Bullying Prevention through our online module here.
Professional Development opportunities
Otago Polytechnic is building a suite of tools to support staff wellbeing and mental health.
Whether you are a lecturer, professional staff member or a leader there is a range of opportunities for learning:
Feeling anxious right now?
Moving Through Anxiety in the Moment
There are things you can do when you're feeling anxious. It doesn't mean it's never going to come up again, but there are easier ways through those frightening moments.
If you're feeling panicky, these are especially helpful.
1. Reassure yourself that you're not in danger
Anxiety makes you think you actually are in danger. But you're not. Tell yourself that it's okay to be experiencing anxiety, and that it is just an experience (it's not going to last forever). Your mind and body believe it needs to warn you - but you are safe.
2. Come back to the present
- HOW we breathe is important. Place your hand on your belly. Make sure your belly goes out as you breathe in. If you breathe quickly from your chest it's a panicky feeling (fight or flight). If you breathe slowly from the diaphragm, it calms your PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) - the one that's responsible for allowing you to 'rest and digest'.
- Do box breathing. If you feel panicky, this can be especially good. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly.
Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times until you feel calm.
- Stop where you are and sit down if you can. Put your hands on the arms of the chair or your lap. Take a deep breath and let it out. Look around you. Name 3 things you can see. Name 3 things you can hear. Name 3 things you can smell. This brings you back to the present moment.
Sonia Voldseth - Living with Anxiety
If you need to access help for yourself or your whānau there are many helpline options here.
This is a list of services around New Zealand that provide support. help and information for a range of situations.
Taha hinengaro | Mental and emotional
Resources for Leaders
There is a huge range of resources to help you support your team's wellbeing.
If you would like help to access these or to discuss how they could be used with your team contact your Health and Wellbeing Partner
Video courtesy of Open Minds - resources are produced by the Mental Health Foundation in collaboration with Attitude Group.
A WRAP is not just an excellent option for lunch or a stylish frock- oh no a Wellness Recovery Action Plan is a great tool to help you or a colleague or whānau plan for when things get a little wobbly or to create a plan that reminds you of the ways to stay well.
Plans can be accessed via an app or on good old fashioned paper.
Visit the WRAP website for easy instructions, down loads and a range of wellness resources.