While the journey to rediscover and redefine well-being as a society during the COVID-19 pandemic is still underway, a seismic shift in the way we prioritize well-being in our lives, and particularly within the workplace, was happening well before the outbreak.
With 1-in-5 employees balancing caring for a loved one with a full-time job, many of our nation’s small businesses and large corporations had already been working hard these last few years to pioneer new benefit strategies and select programs for their teams to better assist caregivers and families. And now, as COVID-19 throws many of these companies plans and strategies into a tailspin, there has never been a more critical time to address well-being and double down on supporting caregivers.
As our team at Cariloop works to create the global standard for the way we support caregivers, families, and each other -- we are asking ourselves: How do we adapt to better serve our people, partners, and members create a space for well-being? And, as Caregivers, what tools do we need to maintain wellness and well-being in a COVID-19 World?
Set the Tone
Caregiving through any kind of crisis usually presents moments where you need to have tough conversations. And the anticipation of these conversations can sometimes be as stressful as the conversation itself. Many of us are wondering how we speak to elder family members about halted family visits, and how to protect themselves from COVID-19 since they are an at-risk community. To that – Julie Coats, LBSW, JD, CCM and Cariloop Care Coach says,
“Be honest. But, do not expect them to fully understand, or to take action”.
Particularly when you’re dealing with family members with Dementia, Julie recommends “adjusting your expectations”. Your loved one may not be able to comprehend life as it is today. And that’s ok.
- Consider making a comparison to a time in their lives they may recall, using long-term memory when explaining COVID-19. A comparison to the Polio Epidemic may hit home more than explaining the nuances of a new virus, particularly with those who struggle with short-term memory loss.
- Consider keeping elders off of the news channels. Or, at least limiting news consumption. Bring-up happy thoughts in conversation. Have them (or, their LTC providers) play old family movies. Or, turn on Turner Classic Movies as a home-base channel instead of the News.
- Stay connected through tools provided by their Long-term Care facilities, or by sending a device (properly disinfected or new and with cellular capabilities incase they do not have wifi) that will allow video interaction, for the human dynamic they may be missing throughout this time.
Utilize Employer-provided Tools to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Employee Benefit News reports, seventy-eight percent of companies offer an EAP with mental health resources, and “now more than ever, employers are relying on those programs to be a resource to employees who may be struggling.” Whether it’s Cariloop, Mental Health or Breathing apps, or visiting a mental healthcare professional via telehealth resources,
UTILIZE your employer-provided tools. They are virtual, potentially offered by your employer and can help you navigate new or evolved stress, anxiety or grief (yes, grief) surrounding COVID-19. Not sure what mental health coverage your employer provides? Cariloop members can set-up a case with a Care Coach who will thoroughly navigate your plan and EAP’s for you, so you can focus on your work and family.
FaceTime, Teams, Skype, Zoom, Go-to Meeting and more offer instant connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals, classrooms and boardrooms. Staying connected (virtually) is not just about getting the work done. It’s about regaining the connection that many long for with their friends, family and colleagues as they adhere to shelter in place guidelines – and is an imperative step for maintaining well-being in isolation. Cariloop recently launched Little Looper Story Time as a way to break down fears and anxiety surrounding working from home with our children present. The idea was born of our People’s People – Adin Bailey and Steve Theesfeld – to continue to grow a culture of care within our own team. “We thought we would take a step and see how it felt.” Judging from the faces in the screen shot we took during our first Story Time, we are on to something!
Support for Caregivers
Chances are, there is an organization in your city who can provide relief from the anxiety of leaving your home for essential errands, without putting at-risk individuals you take care of in danger. In Cariloop’s backyard (DFW), we are witnessing innovation, selflessness and an extraordinary sense of community with a focus on caregiving. COVID-19 North Texas Relief is leading the charge in North Texas.
The Same Rules Apply
A culture of well-being requires the same roadmap during a global pandemic as it does on any given Tuesday. Culture, Community, Communication, Exercise, Sleep and Nutrition still serve as foundational tools for maintaining wellness even in crisis. Grace and Gratitude also play a role as we work towards wellness in a COVID-19 world. Here are some pro tips and platforms for maintaining a foundation of wellness today:
- Favorite Virtual Workouts
- How Companies are Building Remote Workforces with Well-being in Mind
- Immune Boosting Foods
- Benefits of Gratitude
- How to Cope with Disrupted Family Routines
We also love this comprehensive resource for working remotely during COVID-19, by The Center for Workplace Mental Health.