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June 23, 2020

Q&A: Maintaining Wellbeing in a Time of Crisis

Employee Benefits Maintaining Wellbeing in a Time of Crisis Podcast Header.

It won't come as a shock to anyone that wellbeing has been a hot topic over the past few months, so we sat down with LaTonia McGinnis, Engagement & Wellbeing Consultant at CBIZ, to discuss responding to the COVID-19 pandemic from a wellness perspective.

Here are the highlights of our Q&A session.

  1. What do you think is the biggest thing that employees have forgotten to take care of?

Themselves. There’s enough going on with having to manage this new way of living. So many people feel that they need to learn a new skill or try a new hobby. Really, just trying to stay afloat is enough. We all need to stop being hard on ourselves and not forget about self-care.

  1. In your article for about providing wellbeing support for health care workers, you mention compassion fatigue? What is compassion fatigue?

This is a condition where people end up being exhausted mentally and emotionally from caring for others. It also has the term secondary trauma. It can result in anger, lack of empathy and becoming numb to situations around us. It’s similar to burnout, but compassion fatigue comes on much quicker. It’s common among health care workers, buy in trying times like these when we’re all forced to take on new responsibilities, such as homeschooling, it can happen to anyone. It’s important for folks to rely on their EAP and telehealth benefits, as well as their personal support system.

  1. What are some tips you have for people who will remain working from home?

Create a dedicated workspace. Don’t work in bed! Also, keep your regular work hours. Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you need to be accessible 24/7. Set boundaries. When you’re done working, shut down your computer as you would when you leave the office. And be sure to take breaks. Most of us don’t have an ergonomic setup at home, so taking movement breaks and stretching is important. You may also want to get a back support pillow.

  1. We know depression and anxiety continue to be a concern in our society. Have you seen any data about the rise in mental health concerns during this time?

These conditions are higher than normal – up from 37 to 49% – more so in minorities, women and people under 34. Much of this increase stems from the fear of contracting COVID-19 or loved ones contracting it. All of the mixed messages of what we should and shouldn’t do also contributes to anxiety. And then there’s the juggling of responsibilities – caring for family, homeschooling, working from home; it’s a lot to manage.

  1. What, if any, is a positive takeaway from COVID-19?

My hope is that people take this time to reflect on what they value and what’s most meaningful to them. And I hope that businesses step up to the plate to provide the increased employee support we’re seeing now beyond the pandemic.

For more detail on these wellbeing topics and more, you can listen to the full podcast here: "Well, well, well: Wellbeing in a Time of Crisis."

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