Guest: Sam Eddy
Tags: Managing stress
SoundCloud: Episode 15 with Sam Eddy
Nurses and midwives are always at the frontline when times get tough. While we are educated to manage challenging situations, we are not immune from an unhealthy stress response that may drain our reserves and put us at risk of burnout or compassion fatigue.
Many have felt the impact of the devastating bushfires and are still experiencing the aftermath. We have continued to care for and support patients/clients/residents and communities while we deal with the needs of our loved ones.
So, to find ourselves in the midst of another major crisis dealing with the enormous challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus can feel insurmountable.
I recorded this podcast wishing to provide YOU with SUPPORT, facts, tips and strategies that may assist you to make sense of your emotional, physical and spiritual response to these events.
Being a nurse and or a midwife does not 'bullet proof' us from human emotions and responses in times of crisis. At these times we may put our mental and physical health and needs on the back burner while we devote ourselves to the job that needs to be done. However, this is the exact time when we need to place a focus on our health, wellbeing and self-care.
Sam Eddy is my podcast guest and I couldn’t think of a better person to discuss stress, crisis response, self-care and support with. Sam is a Mental Health First Aider, experienced workplace trainer, coach and educator and has a Master of Science (Psychology). He helps clients manage anxiety and related disorders. Sam was the first podcast host for the Nurse & Midwife Support podcast and has supported my podcast journey.
I discuss A Life Less Stressed by Dr Ron Ehrlich a book I recently read that provides useful guidance.
Kindness is at the heart of this podcast as now more than ever is the time we need to be kind to ourselves while we support others.
Look after yourself and each other
Your health matters
Mark Aitken RN
Stakeholder Engagement Manager
Nurse & Midwife Support
I am an experienced workplace trainer, coach and educator and have a Master of Science (Psychology) from the University of East London, trained with No Panic (NHS funded UK not for profit) helping clients manage anxiety and related disorders. I am also a qualified Mental Health First Aider.
For 15 years I worked as a senior marketing executive in banking and financial services in Australia and Europe in both large institutions and start-up Fintech companies focusing on digital innovation, brand and thought leadership.
Client work: KPMG | Asahi Schweppes | Deloitte | NAB | Westpac | Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) | Mitchell Shire Council | Helena Laboratories | Nurse & Midwife Support | Future Fund | Benetas | Energy & Water Ombudsman
Educator | Speaker | Executive Coach Stress Management, Wellbeing & Career Confidence
"In RED, our body is screaming at us to take our fear fuelled thoughts seriously". This is how, in relation to Covid-19, people get into panic buying mode and other fear fuelled behaviours. And we might all experience it at different times on different levels.
Glide Through Meditation with Sam Eddy
Mark Aitken: Welcome to the Nurse and Midwife Support podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about stress and crisis related to two big events that are going on in our world at the moment: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the devastation in many parts of Australia related to the bush fires. My guest is Sam Eddy. Sam is a Workplace Wellbeing expert; in fact, Sam was the first host of this podcast way back in July 2017 when we launched the Nurse & Midwife Support podcast! Actually, he taught me pretty much everything I know about podcasting. So, hello, and welcome Sam!
Samuel Eddy: Thank you Mark, it’s awesome to be back talking about this pretty full-on but really important issue.
MA: Yes, I agree Sam. I think that many nurses and midwives will really connect with the conversation today. So, we’re going to talk about several things in relation to COVID-19 and the bushfire devastation. Mostly about stress responses and crisis; nurses and midwives being at the frontline dealing with these two big issues and your own response to that by way of caring for yourself through these events, caring for your families and loved ones. Also, caring for those you actually care for. Whether they be patients, your residents or your clients. Whatever you call the people who you care for. Sam, remind our listeners about your background, if you don’t mind. Then we’ll launch into the conversation.
SE: Sure. So, in my background I have experience in the corporate world. Originally in marketing leadership roles; a lot of workplace training, a lot of career development with my teams there. That was where I got my real world understanding of workplaces. I actually do a lot of work with nurses and midwives, bringing corporate understanding into the health profession from a different perspective. I’ve done a lot of work with yourselves at Nurse & Midwife Support, the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program in Victoria. I’ve done some work with Fertility Nurses Australasia. This has all been around dealing with stress, anxiety, improving mental health and wellbeing at work but also in personal life. I had my own experience with burn out, working in the corporate world, which was really tough. But, the strategies that I used there (through the help that I got) were really useful to me, so I share a lot of those strategies to deal with things like our present-day anxieties, which we’re potentially going to talk a lot about. I re-trained and did a psychology masters, trained in counselling and helping people with anxiety, panic and stress. I now combine both my loves of workplaces, but also the wellbeing side. People use me for either side of that, depending on what’s relevant for them.
MA: Thanks Sam, a really eclectic career. I know that you’re very supportive in this space, towards healthcare professionals. Particularly nurses and midwives, you’ve been a big support to nurses and midwives at Nurse & Midwife Support and we’re really grateful for that. So, thank you. Sam, in relation to the bushfire devastation in many parts of Australia, and now COVID-19 and some of the human reactions that we’re seeing in response to that, what are some of the issues that you think nurses and midwives need to be mindful of?
SE: The key thing is probably just the overwhelming sense of stress that comes with it. Seeing constant news, 24-hour news cycles talking about bushfires (initially) pre-and post-Christmas. What that does is it activates a stress response, because the news is pretty much doom and gloom no matter what’s going on, but particularly when we feel like there’s overwhelming crises that are out of our control. Bushfires came with a sense of it being out of our control, the same with COVID-19 insofar as there’s this sense that we can’t do much about it. Particularly for people in healthcare services, when their stress response is activating anyway because they’re looking after people who are unwell (which can be stressful, they’re dealing with emergency situations) that just compounds what they’re feeling by being exposed to these global crises. It’s this overwhelming stress, and the question is, how do we deal with it? How do you manage your anxieties around it? How do you move forward? How do you know what action to take? But then, also, how do you know when to let go? Slow down? How do you not let it take a toll on you, in terms of your individual wellbeing? These are the first thoughts that come to mind.
MA: Thanks Sam. A big part of what we’re going to talk about today is acknowledgement. Acknowledgement of people’s feelings, responses and reactions to what’s going on and the situations people find themselves in. We’re going to talk about understanding and managing anxiety and stress responses, which you’ve talked about. We’re going to provide some strategies for people to be able to deal with these issues and provide some resources that you can access after the podcast that will support you. We hope that this information and knowledge will empower you to make decisions that are good for you, your families, your loved ones and those around you. So, thank you Sam. First up: acknowledgement, you’ve spoken about this a bit already, what are the things that people might be experiencing at the moment? Or on the back of the bushfire devastation? That would be good for them to acknowledge as opposed to being put on the backburner?
SE: Sure, it’s good to kind of connect with your body, first of all. Just to understand how you’re feeling physically, from a stress perspective. Or, an anxiety perspective. Often, we talk about anxiety and/or stress manifesting in terms of mental health, which of course, it does. But as you are sitting here, perhaps listening, how are you feeling? Is the heart racing a bit more than usual? Is the adrenaline spiking a bit? Are you getting symptoms of stress that are then fuelling your thoughts and worries? If you’re getting a bit of a surge of adrenaline (heart racing, shallow breathing, headaches, tension, feeling tension in the stomach, for example) that can be the first thing that comes up in regards to anything like this. We may have felt this in the past. It may be something to acknowledge that’s similar to things that we’ve experienced in the past, say for example, the terror attacks back in 9/11. That was a big, global event. Climate change has been a global event that’s been on the back of our minds for a while, drought as well, bushfires and now COVID-19. The response is always the same. It’s good to really just acknowledge it, and connect that yes at the moment you may feel a heightened sense of stress. There’s nothing wrong with that. Starting to connect with the physical symptoms of stress so you can then start to see how it is affecting your thinking. What is it triggering? In terms of the worries, are there specific triggers? Is it logging onto the news, for example? Is it seeing people constantly, from a COVID-19 perspective, washing their hands all of the time? What are the triggers? And, how are you feeling? Physically? Where is the mind taking you? Just really establishing your foundation of where you’re at in terms of stress. It may be mild; it may be on your mind but not manifesting as anything significant. It could be pretty high, you could be feeling tension and a drip of adrenaline all of the time. You could even be experiencing panic, which unfortunately is the case for a lot of people. So, it’s good just to clock, without judgement, where you’re at as a starting point. If that makes sense.
MA: I think that’s really good advice Sam. Thank you very much. I think establishing your stress foundation is really important. I remember you have a bit of a model for this? In relation to how you talk about and look at the stress response. We’ve talked about checking your stress temperature, and I really like that analogy. Could you please talk a bit more about that?
SE: Sure, yes. So, the stress temperature is just a metaphor or analogy that I use to kind of assess the level of stress (or nervous tension) that is in your body. You can do it by really connecting with the physical symptoms of stress that I’ve spoken about. If you think about a trigger for stress, sometimes its receiving bad news, what symptoms do you normally get? Are they appearing on a more subtle level in your day to day life? In terms of what you’re experiencing? If the stress level is activated, we could be at higher forms of stress temperature. That means that your stress temperature is “hotter,” you’re feeling more tense and “heat” within your body because of the nervous tension. If we’re lower down on the stress temperature scale, we’re in what I would call the green zone. We’re away from the red zones of hot stress, and we’re into the cooler zones of green. That’s where we’re really mindful; we’re really just in the moment. We’re not worrying so much about the “what if’s,” and there are plenty of what ifs surrounding the unknowns of bush fire recovery but also with COVID-19 and other things. But we’re able to really focus on what we’re doing, moving through the day to day. It doesn’t mean that we don’t take action, but it has a really lovely calming effect on both the nervous system, which calms your stress response, but also on the mind in terms of slowing your thoughts. One aim (using that model) could be; how can you move from the higher states of the red zone (which is hot) down to the cooler states of yellow and green? Where our thoughts are slower, we’re calmer (mentally) but we’re also calming the stress response. There’s not so much worry to fuel the nervous tension, negative thinking and worry.
MA: Thanks Sam, I think that’s really useful. We’ll put some information up onto the Nurse & Midwife Support website in relation to this. Sam’s working with Nurse & Midwife Support at the moment to review our stress management content. As part of that we will be putting this model into that content. Stay tuned folks, and that will be up on the website shortly at nmsupport.org.au. I think a lot of what we’re talking about here, Sam, is really keeping perspective in relation to what is going on. Connecting with what you can control, rather than what you cannot control. To me, these are very key points and I think there is a lot of fear out there at the moment (in the community) that nurses and midwives are a part of distilling, diffusing and bringing some perspective to this fear and concern that people have. Also, the heightened activity in workplaces. There’s had to be such a huge response in relation to setting up extra services and clinics and ways of working around supporting, caring for and managing people concerned about COVID-19. Or, indeed, people who have tested positive for the virus. I’ve long thought, Sam that nurses and midwives are really at risk of heightened and elevated stress because we’re actually trained to react. So, because we’re trained to react and constantly assess our environment, our clients/patients or any of those people we care for, we’re often in a heightened state of awareness. This really connects to me, as I see this as a big risk factor for heightened levels of stress. What would you say to nurses and midwives who are feeling a bit heightened at the moment? And, in terms of strategies, for how to be able to bring those feelings to a place that is more palatable for them to be able to live a comfortable and meaningful life?
SE: Absolutely, I think that’s a great point. As we were talking in preparation for this podcast, we spoke about the high burnout rates in nursing and midwifery, and healthcare workers in general. Doctors as well, of course. There is a perception that, as you say, nurses and midwives are primed to be on high alert. Delivering babies, caring for the sick and their families, you’re constantly vigilant so the stress response is kind of primed to look out for danger. This can be useful, when you’re at work. But, when it’s overlaid with all of these global things that are out of your control (to a certain extent, we can’t necessarily control the bushfires and we can’t necessarily control what’s going to happen with COIV-19). Although we can all take individual action, it does mean that we’re primed to be in worry mode. To be panicked, to be stressed. I think that burnout rates indicate that nurses are primed to do that. It’s even more important to start thinking about, well even though I know that that’s the reality, what can I do for myself to ensure that I’m disconnecting regularly from the news? I’m not saying you bury your head in the sand, of course we need to get information, but we also need to have enough down time. This way, when our stress response is activated, you’re balancing it out with enough down time (when your stress response is not being activated and you’re not being triggered by news or events). If you’re surrounded at work by constant vigilance around this, which you probably are in a healthcare profession, what are you doing outside of work? Are you taking your breaks during work to ensure that you’re getting real balance around this? When the stress response is activated, we’re on high alert. So, the mind is only going to look for negative information because it’s the equivalent of being in survivor mode. Your body doesn’t know if you’re being chased by a dog in the street, or if you’re just thinking worrying thoughts. We need to ensure that we’re getting plenty of time out of worrying mode, when the stress response is calmer, so we’re not constantly activating the stress response.
MA: Thanks Sam, that’s really helpful information. What strategies on top of those would you recommend people put in place to help them, firstly, acknowledge some of these emotions and issues that they’re feeling? Then, secondly, support other people who they may see as struggling with these issues? I’m particularly thinking about students in hospitals, who are, potentially, completely out of their comfort zone in terms of what’s going on? They might not have been exposed to anything like this, and they’re almost like a deer in the headlights in relation to what’s going on. But they need to do their clinical placement and it’s required. What would you say to the people listening to this, apart from the great strategies you’ve already provided, to support themselves while they’re supporting other people?
SE: Sure. The thing I was going to talk about was how the stress response actually works, because if we’re already aware of that (for ourselves) then we’re already ahead of the game in terms of supporting others. I’m not sure if you’re already heard of the A B C D E model? It was founded by Albert Ellis; it’s a cognitive behavioural model to really deal with negative thinking and worry. People can research it; it’s often used in psychology, as I said. There’s basically two parts to it: A B C is your unconscious reaction to a stressful event.
So, the example might be a newsflash about a COVID-19 update. That’s A; it’s called an Adverse event. You’re instantly triggered by it.
B is for Belief. You’ve already got all of these beliefs about it, beliefs might be, “Oh my gosh, what does this mean for my job? What if I catch it?” We all have unconscious beliefs buried and they’re triggered by an event. So, we’ve got to be aware about our beliefs.
C is for Consequence. When we are triggered by this adverse event, we have all of these beliefs, what are the consequences? The consequence might be that we feel angry, we might feel frustrated, we might feel scared, we might feel disappointed. That’s ok, that’s a normal reaction to have. We’re all going to be triggered by this, to varying degrees. But, at what point do we start to become aware of it?
When we start to become aware of it, we can then start to go, “Ok, while I might be triggered by A, B and C, I’ve got all of these physical symptoms of stress, adrenaline is surging. If I’m really connected with my body, and I’m thinking about having plenty of down time, I can then start to put strategies in place to calm the nervous system down.” You’re not always going to remember to do it. But, I always say to take action once the adrenalin has subsided. You’ll always get relief from the surges of adrenaline. Students of course, if it’s new to them, that’s when you can start to take action. You can then look at the news to get the information that you want. But, if we’re looking at news, we’re taking action when stress is high. If we’ve just been triggered, we’re only going to look for negative information. We’re not going to have any clarity of thought. So, what we’re trying to do is intervene with A, B and C.
D and E then allows us to dispute unhelpful information, have calm confidence.
E is for the Effect that we calm down, and make calm and considered choices. Effectively, what we’re doing is we’re moving out of high states of stress and into green. Ways that we can do that, there are a number of ways: exercise mindfulness and we’ll talk more about this later. But, having awareness of that stress cycle: the peak of adrenaline that will fuel negative thinking and worry, and knowing that that stress will always pass. So, if you’re listening (particularly for any students out there) you may notice that sometimes when you’re triggered you react higher to the same information than you would on other days. That just means that your system is on high alert. So, what we have to do is make sure that we’re waiting for the high alert status to dip before we go ahead and take action. Often, you see the panic buying in the shops and supermarkets because people are acting when they’re in higher states of red. They’re in the unconscious zone. It’s ok if going into those spaces; we know that we may be triggered. Once we have awareness of it, we can start to wait until it subsides before we then take action.
MA: Yes, and I think that panic buying is a really good point Sam, because we have seen a lot of it with COVID-19, particularly in relation to toilet paper. There has been a bit of humour around it, but for some people, it’s really driven by fear of the unknown and what may or may not happen. It’s a small thing that people can do in relation to protecting themselves and their families. It’s really symbolic of a bigger issue, isn’t it?
MA: The issue is that they’re fearful; they’re not getting information that is helping them to diffuse their emotional stress response.
SE: Absolutely. What I want to say on the subject of fear as well, you’ve just reminded me, fear is fear. Fear does not care if it’s bushfire anxiety, climate change, terrorism, COVID-19, fear is designed to get your attention and make you feel scared. You’ll never be activated with fear, and then automatically deescalate. It will try and trick you into believing that every fearful thought that you have is true. Of course, when we’re surrounded by images of COVID-19, I’m not saying that there isn’t a problem here that we need to deal with, but it’s going to make you feel like its worse and insurmountable. That’s what fear does. If we can acknowledge that and wait until it calms down, then we can take sensible actions. We’ve probably been triggered in this way before, but the problem now is that we’re sort of surrounded by it all of the time. That’s the difference. So, there’s nothing wrong with disconnecting from the news.
There’s nothing wrong with having time with friends, doing things that you love, making sure that you’re enjoying life, maybe watching a comedy show. Having fun with your kids doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the crisis that may be around the corner. It just means that you’re putting yourself on your best foundation to be able to deal with it. What you’re actually doing, when you take these steps to look after yourself, you’re actually reducing your stress response which means that your immune system is kicking in nicely. Digestion is working as it should, and you’re actually giving your immunity a nice boost every time you reduce the stress response. It has physical benefits, as well as mental, that will help you move into the green zone. So, that’s really important from a physical and mental health perspective. To do those things.
MA: At Nurse & Midwife Support, in the past and also in our website content, we talk a lot about self-care and the importance for self-care for nurses, midwives and students. We talk about people developing their own self-care plan and setting goals for their self-care. I think that this is a really good reminder, Sam that it might be an opportunity for people if they haven’t done it, then, do it. If they have, then review their goals. Actually write them down, and what I recommend is that people print them out and put it on their fridge or somewhere prominent in their house or even on their phone. Have it as a reminder to check in with those things that are really important in relation to their self-care. We’re going to talk a bit now about some tips in relation to that. I recently read a book I really connected with which is called A Life Less Stressed: The Five Pillars of Health and Wellness by Dr Ron Ehrlich. He’s a holistic Dentist, and he talks about emotional stress, nutritional stress, environmental stress, and dental stress of course because he’s a dentist. If our teeth and gums aren’t healthy, then often we’re not healthy. And postural stress, which I really connected with recently Sam because I’ve returned to the gym after a back injury that I’ve had for many years prevented me from doing this work. So, I did yoga and Pilates and a lot of core work to get back to the gym. I think my posture has changed as a result of it. I feel stronger, I feel taller, I feel like that is benefiting me both psychologically and physically. So, Ron talks about some simple steps that help to negate the stressors that people are experiencing. Those are:
Sam, I’m really interested in your perspective on these things and indeed if you have any other things that you would like to add?
SE: Look, I think that they’re all absolutely great. The way that I talk about it is mind, body and spirit. Since it’s only three, it’s easy for me to remember. From a strategy perspective: what are you doing to ensure that you’re having downtime from a mental perspective? I’m sure you’ve already spoken about meditation and mindfulness on this podcast and that you have information on your website about this. If you’re listening to a guided mindfulness or meditation exercise, this may be about focusing on your breathing. It may be about taking you to visual scenery, taking you somewhere nice. What it does is it calms the thinking down, slows your thoughts, slows your nervous system and becomes an anchor that you can come back to everyday. It allows you to reset. This is an opportunity for us as individuals, but also as a society to really slow down. This hyper vigilance that we have, as a society, where we’re racing from meeting to meeting, patient to patient, racing out the door with the kids in the moment. Whatever it may be, that doesn’t help us deal with this crisis. Or these crises, or these events when they come up. So, slowing down and using something to slow your thinking down is critical. It might be reading a book; it could something simple like that. It doesn’t have to be meditation, but we know that there’s a huge amount of research on the benefits of mindfulness, for example.
You’ve spoken about physical health. So, going to the gym or doing anything exercise-orientated is important. It releases endorphins, so it makes you feel better. If you feel better, you’re more likely to have clarity of thinking when the fear comes along (when you’re exposed to some of the triggers that we’ve spoken about earlier). It also burns off excess adrenaline in the system. So, there’s less worry to fuel the tension and negative thinking. Spirit is doing enough of the stuff that you love. We spoke about this before, so, making sure you’re having enough downtime. Having fun with the kids, catching up with a friend who makes you laugh and not feeling guilty about doing this. Watch a comedy show whilst there are real challenges that we have to deal with. Those three things and I think they work from a nutritional perspective as well. So, by eating good quality food we’ve got plenty of energy to deal with crises. We’re boosting our immune system through nutrition, fresh food, veggies, less processed foods, less stimulants, less sugar and caffeine which can put pressure on the system. The environmental stressors that can be around us. Is there lots of noise going on? Is that spiking our stress response? Are we surrounding ourselves with negative news and people? Or people that drain us? We need a break from them, particularly in these times. I agree with what you’re saying around posture as well. If you’re walking around, shoulders back, head high, you’re less likely to trigger negative thinking because your body is saying that everything is ok. That you will be fine. So, it’s helping with that calm confidence and moving you into that green that we spoke about earlier.
MA: Thanks Sam, really useful strategies. For those people who are listening who also subscribe to our newsletter, or indeed, read our newsletter on the Nurse & Midwife Support website you will know that we have newsletters on nutrition, sleep, mindfulness and self-care. Those are all still up on the Nurse & Midwife Support website. There are many of them now. One of them that springs to mind, Sam that we did last year was on kindness.
MA: I think it’s really important right now to reconnect with kindness. We’ve seen a lot of fear and panic in the community, and also a lot of blame towards certain people and groups. I think it’s really important that we all connect to kindness. Not only kindness towards other people, but kindness towards ourselves. We’ve talked a bit about that, so check out some of our other resources at nmsupport.org.au. Now, you may be feeling very troubled by some of these issues, or confused, or concerned. You can phone Nurse & Midwife Support anytime, 24/7, 1800 667 877 and talk to a nurse or a midwife trained to support you in relation to these issues and your feelings. Or indeed, any other issue that you would like to speak about. So, please don’t hesitate to phone the service, or contact us via the website at nmsupport.org.au. The service is anonymous, confidential and free. Sam, have you got any other points that you would like to share? Pearls of wisdom that you would like to share with our listeners.
SE: A lot of it is just practical information, isn’t it? Just a real reminder. I was listening to I think the Chief Medical Officer of Australia and trying to weed through all of the headlines and sensationalism. When you’re looking at the news, remember that news organisations have to sell papers. The Guardian, for example, has this 24/7 flashing Corona virus alert which can make everything feel so overwhelming. But the Chief Medical Officer was talking about it, and most people who get COVID-19 have a mild reaction. Most people will make a full recovery. It’s good to remind yourself of some of the baseline facts as well as the headlines. It doesn’t mean that you don’t do all of the precautions that your workplace is recommending, we spoke about hand sanitizers and maybe not congregating in huge groups if you can avoid it. Just making sensible choices. If you’re doing all of the wellbeing stuff that we’ve talked about, you’re more likely to do just that. Just remind yourself of perspective. If you’re regularly reminding yourself of the baseline facts that can just allow you to keep moving forward.
I would also say, if you are taking precautions, take the precaution and then let it go. You’re doing what you can, and then allowing your mind to just focus on being with your patient. Focus on being with your family. Focus on being with your colleagues, and if you get new information about changing your practical strategies to deal with this, for example, or indeed things to do with the bushfire threats and efforts to rebuild, do change your strategy as you need to, but allow yourself a mental break from some of this stuff. Remind yourself of the stress response, how it will bluff you into worrying constantly. Think about the wellbeing strategies that we’ve spoken about. Listen to the podcasts that Mark has been speaking about, because we need to balance out all of this negative information with some of the good stuff. Hopefully, the sum of all the parts will start to help dip you into green. But we need to remind ourselves of this stuff. So, if any of this has been of use, you’ll need to remind yourself again and again of it. Particularly as these news cycles continue.
MA: Thanks Sam, I was recently connected to a really good podcast which is targeted towards providing information around COVID-19 and that’s CORONACAST by Dr Norman Swan who is a doctor and a journalist who works with the ABC. You can download that podcast from wherever you get your podcasts from, or from the ABC app. There is some really useful information in there. Having, as I said, recently gone back to the gym and the CORONACAST podcast I listened to yesterday was all about the risks related to the gym. As people can imagine, there’s lots of equipment and lots of people using it which results in a lot of sweat and moisture which is the perfect medium for something like the Corona virus (COVID-19). I just really connected with some basic hygiene and infection prevention strategies that as nurses and midwives, we all know, but they’re good to be reminded of. What I really connected with was not carrying my water bottle around and picking it up after I’d used equipment and then drinking from it. Instead, leaving it in my locker and if I needed water to go and wash my hands first and then picking it up and having a glass of water. So, I think that Sam’s really right, there is a lot of information out there and we need to distil that information. We need to be able to understand it, ourselves, so that we can actually provide that information to those that we care for. Chances are that someone in your life, being a nurse or a midwife, is going to ask you for support in relation to managing COVID-19 or indeed some resources around how they navigate the complexities of these big issues that we find ourselves dealing with in Australia and around the world. So, really, connect with that information and make it relevant to yourself and your own life and the work that you’re doing. Sam, I think we’ve come pretty much to the end of the podcast, is there anything final that you’d like to share?
SE: Just a reminder to slow down. These crises can feel overwhelming, but if we’re reminding ourselves to slow down and not race out of the house in the morning, walk slow to the car, walk slow to work, not race around to every patient, what you’re doing is you’re lowering your stress response. You’re boosting your immune system, you’re going to have clarity of thinking and you’re not going to be triggered as much. We’re always going to be talking about how busy we are. This may just be an excuse to slow down some of the commitments and create more time for yourself. More time for your family. If you ever needed an excuse, now is the time. Keep doing enough of the stuff that you love, but overlay it with slowing down and that will really help.
MA: Thanks Sam, you’ve been a great guest. I hope we’ve provided some really useful information for you today, if you’d like to send me an email with any thoughts or give a perspective on this I’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll speak to you next time, look after yourselves, and each other. Bye!