Dealing with Panic and Uncertainty
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has people on edge would be an understatement. For many fear and anxiety have become a prominent and consistent feeling. With employees working from home and some being isolated from friends, families and coworkers, anxiety and feelings of uncertainty can be prevalent. So, what do you do when you feel this sense of panic in the face of all this uncertainty?
We spoke with our Chief Mental Health Officer, Dave Phillips to get his words of wisdom on the topic. Not only is he our mental health expert here at TeksMed, but he has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 30 years, and he has spent most of his career dealing with people’s feelings.
According to Phillips, a common message that people want to send their employees, their team, or even themselves is “don’t panic.” As well-intentioned as this message usually is, however, it is more often than not counterproductive.
Why telling your employees not to panic doesn’t work?
Responding to feelings of uncertainty with “don’t panic” dismisses the issue rather than providing helpful resources to ensure mental wellness.
The problem with this is that those feelings are coming from the part of the brain that is responsible for survival, so when we ask employees to push against those feelings, the brain pushes back. The result is often an even greater sense of panic.
A better approach.
If resisting or denying feelings of panic doesn’t work, what can we do instead? Phillips advises that we;
Acknowledge and welcome all feelings.
- whether they are good or bad.
He also suggests using;
Deep breathing techniques.
- (especially) to calm yourself during strong bouts of anxiety.
Grounding yourself in reality.
- by focusing on your physical feelings.
Practicing positive affirmation.
- even if it is difficult or seems counterintuitive.
Ensuring your employees have the appropriate resources available to navigate these emotions is vital during times of uncertainty. Instead of employees fighting these feelings, it is vital to ensure they take the time to understand and work through them to maintain a mentally healthy and productive workplace.
TeksMed Services Inc. has launched an app-based mental wellbeing program, called QuikCare Thrive, that is available to employers for free for the expected duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
The current environment we are facing – including economic uncertainty, social isolation, and the fear of infection – is undeniably increasing the mental burden of Canadians across the country. QuikCare Thrive is currently being offered to employers for free, in support of employees negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
If you would like more information on providing assistance to your employees in dealing with either physical or mental health issues during these unusual times, please feel free to contact us.