Your health and wellbeing
On this page:
- Healthy mind
- Building and maintaining social connection
- Employee Assistance Program
- Healthy body
- Safety at work
- Influenza (flu) Vaccination Program 2021
During this unfamiliar time, our resilience may not be at its usual levels. It’s normal to feel worried or stressed. Below are some tools you can use to support your mental health and help you cope with any anxiety and stress.
- Remember that this is temporary. It will pass and life will return to normal.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community; whether you’re staying home to limit the spread of the virus, or working on the frontline to maintain essential services for the NSW community.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues by phone, text, video chat and social media. Don’t underestimate connecting with your community through community forums, social networks or the department’s employee assistance programs.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing such as meditation, yoga, running or walking your dog. Various organisations and gyms are offering online versions of classes.
- Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits. Keep regular sleep routines and healthy eating habits.
- If you’re working from home, try to maintain a healthy work-life balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated workspace.
- Limit your television or social media news intake if you find it distressing. Get the facts from reliable sources like Australian Government websites or the World Health Organisation website.
- Building personal resilience through COVID-19
- SafeWork NSW - COVID-19 and mental health at work.
- Mental health support websites (DCJ internal link)
- Mindfulness for staff (DCJ internal link) - mediations including the Mindfulness in May recordings. It helps us to be less caught up in stress, worry, low mood, by allowing us to develop a greater capacity to engage in our lives by being more fully present.
- Mindful Movement Teams Group (DCJ internal link) - On the first Tuesday of each month, The Yoga Foundation will host a 20-minute mindful movement session to strengthen your mental muscle with guided movement and breath. This will run at midday via MS Teams (kicking off on August 3). An additional session will occur during Mental Health Month in October.
- Peer Support Program (DCJ internal link) - Peer Support involves staff supporting colleagues who are experiencing challenges at work or in their personal life, particularly in times of stress. This is currently available to staff in Corrective Services NSW; Courts, Tribunals & Service Deliver; and Youth Justice.
Building and maintaining social connection
Maintaining social connection with others will help motivate you through these uncertain times. Whether you connect daily with colleagues, or with your family, it’s best to maintain a daily balance so you’re not doing too much for others before looking after your own needs.
Recommended resources to help you connect with others at work and at play:
- Social connection toolkit – a comprehensive guide developed by icare to help you understand and initiate positive social connections in your workplace.
- Social fitness and wellbeing videos - on-demand exercise and mediation videos from Live Life Get Active. These are great if you want to move your body during the day from the confines of your home. Share these with a friend, or get a family member to tag along!
Employee Assistance Program
Now more than ever we want you to know your supported.
If you feel stress and anxiety is impacting your ability to function at work or home, you may need a little extra support.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all DCJ employees and contractors. They will listen to you and provide confidential advice, support, and information. Your immediate family can also access support under the EAP.
Help for former Family and Community Services staff
Help for former Justice staff
If you didn’t work for FACS or Justice, pick the one that matches your email address.
Looking out for colleagues
If you’re concerned about a colleague’s wellbeing, let your/their manager know, and they can make a referral for a 15 minute phone wellbeing check-in by a highly trained EAP professional
Information for Managers
If you see or become aware of any uncharacteristic behaviour or changes with your staff, see it as a prompt for offering further support, and possibly, additional professional help.
Remember – if you are unsure what to do, access Manager Assist through EAP to talk over concerns you may have about your staff.
If you are concerned about an employee, nominate them for a well-being check in call by a trained EAP professional.
To make a referral:
- for former FACS staff (or email users) complete the Converge registration form. You can also nominate another manager you are concerned about, or self-refer, about via the Manager Check in form.
- for former Justice staff (or email users) complete the Benestar registration form. Note that the cost of the session will be charged as usual to your business unit.
You will be provided with a template email to send to your employee notifying them of the referral. The employee can choose to opt out if they want to.
MyCoach by Benestar provides guidance for former Justice people leaders who may be facing increasing challenges in managing remote teams in an environment of rapid change, volatility and uncertainty. For confidential coaching and support call 1300 360 354.
- Employee Assistance Provider: Converge International resources
- Employee Assistance Provider: Benestar resources
- Get Healthy at Work: 10 tips to work well from home
Regular exercise and good nutrition can help boost your mood, concentration and mental health.
YouTube and exercise apps can also be a good source for workouts to do at home. Make sure to follow these tips to workout at home safely to keep your body injury-free.
As we’re spending more time cooking and eating at home, it’s important to combine exercise with healthy eating habits. For a range of healthy eating and lifestyle tips, visit the Make Healthy Normal website and Facebook page. You can also start with small changes like making healthy food swaps to curb your sugar cravings.
For more resources and tips to help you make small, healthy changes to your lifestyle, check out the following factsheets from Get Healthy at Work:
- Being healthy while working from home
- Healthy eating while working from home
- Tips to reduce your alcohol consumption while working from home
- Quitting smoking while working from home
- Helpline and community services (DCJ internal link) - external support resources for alcohol, drugs, domestic violence and gambling
Safety at work
Tips to avoid touching your face
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals have cautioned us to avoid touching our face to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. However, when we’re told not to do something, fighting the urge can often feel more intense.
There are many reasons why we can’t stop touching our face. First, a lot of face-touching habits are subconscious. For example, scratching an itch on your nose or rubbing tired eyes. Touching our face can also be a non-verbal way to communicate our feelings — like brushing hair out of your face when you feel anxious, or rubbing your eye when you doubt what someone is saying. Stress and boredom can intensify the impulse to touch your face too.
Like any habit that is difficult to stop, be mindful about the intention to touch your face and replace it with an alternative behaviour. When you have the urge to touch your face, touch another part of your body instead, such as your arm, or hold an object, like a stress ball. This acts as a way of telling your brain to pay attention and turn an unconscious habit into a conscious one. After a few weeks, the repetitive behaviour can help break the habit of frequently touching your face.
Other measures you should take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 are:
- staying home if you’re not feeling well, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms
- washing your hands regularly (or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol)
- covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects like phones, doorknobs and handles
- maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from others as much as possible.
Influenza (flu) Vaccination Program 2021
- To support you to keep fit and well through the winter months, the department offers an annual vaccination this flu season for all staff members.
- Influenza is a highly contagious acute respiratory illness, commonly called “the flu”. It is a contagious disease caused by a virus which spreads easily from person to person.
- Details of the 2021 vaccination program are currently being determined, and will be communicated to staff when these arrangements have been finalised.
You can also read more about flu season and the vaccination on the intranet and NSW Health website.