Protecting your wellness
Welcome to the NZDA WELLNESS page. NZDA has set up a Wellness taskforce to provide information, suggestions, and resources that may be helpful in managing your wellbeing during this unsettling time. This section of the website will be reviewed regularly adding links, courses and any good tips we receive.
As we head into unfamiliar territory there are two things that are becoming clear. Living in New Zealand has never held greater advantages and that there is a tremendous amount of good work and goodwill going on which we can be thankful for.
Recommendations for self-isolation from those who have studied the psychological effects are that it be 'Short and Effective' and that we are 'Kept Informed', 'supplied and communicated with' in an inclusive way, "doing our bit".
The Lancet also notes that "Being separated from a team we are used to working in close contact with might add to feelings of isolation for healthcare workers. Therefore it is essential that we feel supported by our immediate colleagues." NZDA is working to keep us supported and supplied with what we need to know. Keeping your team together and in good spirits might involve holding regular phone, email or video meetings with your practice members.
The Wellness Task Force will be doing our bit to provide information and suggestions which could be useful.
Boosting wellbeing during uncertain times
2020 is throwing out many challenges, not least the current COVID-19 situation with all the uncertainty this is creating and the potential impact on our physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
While there is no magic formula – do x and y and everyone will be fine – there are some tricks to coping well during uncertain times. Scientific studies of resilience have shown that it is possible to emerge stronger, happier and even “thriving” following difficult experiences.
Here are some strategies:
Stay connected. Talk with and spend quality time with the people who are most important to you. Ask for their help and let them help you in whichever ways feel more useful. When it’s not possible to connect in person, use different technologies to feel close remotely – if you are unsure how, ask a young person or your IT department at work to help set you up. Where possible, try to maintain a social routine, such as hosting virtual coffee breaks with your colleagues over videoconference or watching TV with a friend over Skype.
Prioritise your health. Eat nutrient-dense food, keep active and exercising (this may need to be outdoors to follow social distancing guidelines), reduce alcohol and caffeine (your body doesn’t need more to do), and get good quality, restorative sleep.
Plan pleasurable experiences to look forward to. This is an important one as positive emotions recharge us physically, mentally and emotionally. In a time when many social events and travel plans are being cancelled, it’s okay to feel upset about missed opportunities. Instead, try to increase the number of small pleasurable events that will give you moments of joy, contentment and satisfaction, as well as scheduling activities ahead that you can really look forward to. Ask friends or family to help you plan if it feels too hard at the moment.
Explore different ways of making life feel more meaningful. This may seem odd advice in all the uncertainty, but it works. What would help give you a sense of purpose and meaning in life right now? Doing something creative or tackling a project, trying out something new that is challenging for you? How long has your ukulele been gathering dust? Perhaps considering how you can help other people, or support some form of community activity (which will need to be online at the moment)? If you are in a place to help others, consider reaching out to any vulnerable or self-isolating neighbours by offering to buy their groceries, pick up their prescriptions, or complete other tasks that they can’t do themselves. We are stronger when we band together as a community.
Hold the big picture or focus down. Looking ahead to a time in the future, or reminding yourself you will eventually look back on this hard time, can be helpful. Conversely, focusing on a day at a time, or a few hours at a time, is a good strategy if the big picture feels overwhelming.
Seek help. Sometimes our usual support network isn’t enough. Professional help via the Dental Protection counselling service your work EAP is often available or talk with your GP about other resources.
Choose what you read and listen to. We also strongly recommend being careful about information overload at the moment. Definitely be choosy about which online sites you look at, and limit how often you look and the amount of time you spend scrolling.
Some good ones to consider:
CALM Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind
From the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences with Dr Tony Fernando. This site has some great mindfulness/anxiety resources that would be good at this time.
Ministry of Health
The full range of services and support including Mental health services with helplines.
Unite Against COVID-19 "Be Kind"
Specific to our time of need "Wellbeing in Self-Isolation"
The Mental Health Foundation
A host of wellbeing tips, resources, and inspiring stories
Ten useful apps
Notice from Dental Protection
As colleagues and fellow health professionals, we want to send you a message of support in these unprecedented times, thank you for the work you are doing and let you know what steps we are taking to help you.
Dental Protection is here to support you. Our job is to protect you in both good times and bad. We know you have a great deal on your mind and you need to be able to focus solely on looking after your patients, yourself and your livelihood. To help you do that, we have made a commitment to respond quickly to the challenges that will arise, so that we can meet your needs and the needs of all dental members across the world.
Protecting your wellbeing
We understand the pressure you will be put under during this crisis, and we have therefore extended our counselling service to all members who are experiencing any work-related stress, or stress that they feel could impact upon their practice. Our counselling service is provided through a third-party partner and completely confidential.
In the coming days, weeks and months, Dental Protection will be actively sharing updates and information with you on their website and through a variety of other channels such as social media and email. Our aim is to anticipate your needs and proactively provide you with the necessary answers where we can.
We share your concerns and apprehension about what is to come both professionally and personally in the months ahead. We are all facing a challenge on a scale unimaginable only a few months ago. All of us came into our professions to care for and support patients; that call perhaps rings truer today than ever.
This is not going to be an easy time for any of us, but we are going to get through it.
Support each other and stay safe.
Our counselling service is provided by our trusted partners ICAS, who offer a personalised and professional service tailored specifically to your requirements and delivered by experienced qualified counsellors.
ICAS's telephone counselling provides immediate access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and face-to-face counselling sessions can be arranged near to you and at your convenience, all funded by Medical Protection.
The service is entirely independent and confidential.
Call ICAS on 0800 464 387 or +64 9 973 4420 from overseas, and quote your Dental Protection membership number to book a free session.
*up to 6 sessions are available as part of the free counselling service
Should you have any problems with accessing this counselling service please contact Pepe Davenport
Help protect your wellness by accessing some of the links below.