Stress Management for Defence Team members: Tips for taking care of yourself and your family during the holidays
December 8, 2020 – Defence Stories
Brought to you by the HR-Civ Total Health Management team.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed with stress during the holiday season? If so, you are not alone!
The holidays are a time often filled with excitement and anticipation of celebrations with family and friends but stress and fatigue can put a major damper on the festivities. COVID-19 has further changed how Defence Team members will observe the holidays in 2020, as public health measures recommend continuing to stay socially distant from one another.
Stress is a normal response to situational pressures or demands, especially if they are thought to be dangerous or threatening. When stress becomes overwhelming and prolonged, the risks for mental health increase. Some examples of symptoms that may occur include but aren’t limited to: anxiety; depression; substance use; sleep problems. Other medical issues may include: muscle tension; headaches; gastrointestinal problems; weakened immune system; difficulty conceiving; high blood pressure; and cardiovascular disease and stroke)
Stress management is important to maintaining good mental health and wellness. Keep using the healthy strategies and tools which you may accessed to support you and your loved ones during the holidays. Check-in and connect with the people you care about and be mindful of how you are feeling. It is normal to experience a sense of loss which may involve losing a friend, a loved one, a job, a routine, a hobby, or anything else that has left our lives during these uncertain times. But remember, you are not alone!
There are many resources available to help you manage your stress as we approach the holidays, some of which include:
- Coping with stress and anxiety. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health provides information on coping strategies and personal assessment tools that can be used to better manage stress and anxiety during COVID-19.
- Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide. The World Health Organization has a stress management guide to help people learn about practical skills to cope with stress.
- Plan for Resilience. The Workplace Strategies for Mental Health initiative has a resource to help people bounce back after health, personal, or work crisis.
- The Canadian Red Cross has resources and information on mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 including: general care and mental health, tips for parents and educators, and tips for caregivers and those at high risk. Some helpful articles are included below:
- How to manage holiday stress during COVID-19
- The impact of stress on your mental health
- Don't feel bad about feeling bad - self-care during COVID-19
- Mental health and exercise: working together for your wellbeing
- Working from home: Solutions to challenges of an abrupt workplace change
- #HealthyAtHome The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided advice to stay healthy at home during the pandemic.
- WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub The United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the WHO have developed an information hub that provides simple, actionable guidance, as well as general tips and resources for users around the world to connect with accurate health information.
This month, join us for virtual webinars on Dealing with Stress, Finding Resilience, and the Health Canada Employee Assistance Services!
Total Health Management at the Department of National Defence
The Department of National Defence (DND)’s Total Health Management Team, includes subject matter experts from Mental Health and Well-being (Accessible only on the National Defence network.), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (Accessible only on the National Defence network.) and the Office of Disability Management (Accessible only on the National Defence network.). They provide mental health and well-being support to Defence Team members by providing access to tools, resources, and services. The team’s goal is to sustain a safe, supportive and respectful work environment where employees can thrive.
Get in touch with us!
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All Defence Team members have access to:
- Health Canada - Employee Assistance Services (EAS) – provides short-term professional counselling services. This service is available 24/7, 365 days a year, by calling 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (TTY).
- Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP) – Members of the CAF, veterans, and their families can access free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-268-7708 or TDD 1-800-567-5803 (TTY).
- LifeSpeak – Web-based service that offers free confidential access to hundreds of short videos by experts on everyday issues.
CAF members and their families have access to:
- The Family Information Line (FIL) – FIL counsellors are available to handle calls in confidence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To speak with a FIL counsellor, call 1-800-866-4546 (toll-free in North America) or 1-613-995-5234 (collect calls accepted).
- Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) – CAF members and their families have access to dedicated, frontline service providers, responsible for connecting military families to a wide range of programs and services.
- Military Medical Centres – Locate a centre anywhere in Canada.
- Crisis Texting Service for Kids of CAF Families – Children, youth and young adults from military families can access free mental health and wellbeing support by texting the keyword CAFKIDS at 686868 for service in English. For service in French, text the keyword JEUNESFAC at 686868.
- Mental Health - Coping with Stress
- Canada School of Public Service courses
- Stress Take Charge course for CAF Members:
- Contact your local Health Promotion Office (Accessible only on the National Defence network.) for further details
- Defence Team COVID-19 Health and Wellness Page Resources
- Mental health in the CAF
- CAF Connection (Accessible only on the National Defence network.)
- Strengthening the Forces Health Promotion Program
DND Civilian employees have access to:
- EAP Peer Advisors (PAs) – DND civilian employees provide confidential active-listening skills and resources to employees in need. Call HR Connect at 1-833-747-6363 to be connected with a readily available colleague from 0800-1600 hours Mon to Friday. You will be contacted within 24 hours.
- The Office of Disability Management (Accessible only on the National Defence network.) was created to be an impartial, collaborative and inclusive group that supports employees and supervisors/managers dealing with disability-related matter due to illness, impairment and injury.
- The Mental Health and Well-being Corporate Office (Accessible only on the National Defence network.) supports the health and well-being of employees and provides access to tools, resources and services to assist organizations in building a safe, supportive and respectful work environment.
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