As COVID cases climb and we head into the uncertainty of a new school year, the UW Health Chief Wellness Officer shared a message of encouragement and resources that the UW Ob-Gyn Wellness Committee would like to forward here. If you need support, take a look at this directory of mental health and wellbeing resources for UW SMPH and UW Health employees.
To: All UW Health Faculty and Staff
From: Dr. Mariah Quinn, Chief Wellness Officer
After a summer of relative reprieve from worry about COVID-19, cases have been on the rise and many of us may have an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We may be feeling fatigue, anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, or just déjà vu. With this increase in cases, we are all re-evaluating (again) our levels of risk, and what we will need to do to keep ourselves, our families, our patients, and our colleagues and staff safe. Concordant with increased cases, UW Health sent out communication regarding return to universal masking in all UW Health buildings for the time being.
We all bring our own experiences of the past year to our assessment of current events. The layering of experiences may make us feel more confident in navigating current events or may add to our stress. So, at this juncture, it’s worth remembering what we know can help us all manage stress, retain or regain resilience, cope, and even thrive as we experience what is unfolding.
- Stay connected with those who are important to you.
- Stay connected with what is meaningful both inside and outside of work.
- Have compassion for yourself—we are all human; emotions are par for the course.
- Note those you admire, and what they have done for coping.
- Don’t forget the basics. Attend to adequate sleep, don’t engage in (too much) stress-eating or drinking.
- Get outside, move your body.
- Avoid ‘doom-scrolling’ through articles and comments on articles—look to reliable sources of information (such as the COVID-19 Hub) and limit toxic media exposure
- Reflect upon what has helped you manage stress during other challenging times – we have tools at our disposal if we look for them. Sometimes we all need reminders from ourselves of what helps. A fantastic collection of resources was put together by the Department of Psychiatry.
- Pay attention to how you’re doing—are you feeling engaged, feeling motivated and connected with your colleagues and connecting with your patients, or feeling some level of difficulty with focus or irritability, muscle tension or insomnia? Perhaps even experiencing more persistent negative symptoms, not feeling like yourself? These symptoms can all occur on the spectrum of stress, from optimal stress to stress injury.
If you have symptoms that are affecting you inside or outside of work, seek support—many of us have benefited over the pandemic (or at other times in our lives) from connecting with support. We have outstanding resources for clinicians and staff, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Confidential collegial support with trained Peer Supporters through the UW Health Peer Support Program
- Team-based stress management/resilience groups
UW Health Staff and Clinician Resources:
- Real-time connection with one of our fantastic therapists through the UW Health Stress Management Line
- Professional counseling through LifeMatters (our Employee Assistance Program)