Advice from EAP to front-line staff during COVID-19

Reporting to your workplace during a pandemic is challenging. The pace can be frantic, and the work can feel relentless. Many people – colleagues and customers – are stressed out, ourselves included. Whether your job is categorized as essential, front line, first responder, or mission-critical, coming into work at this time can cause anxiety, perhaps even fear. Below are some areas that you might be struggling with and some suggestions for processing them.

Many King County employees are working on-site and in the community to provide services that are essential to the health and well-being of King County as a whole. During this difficult time, it can be helpful to remember why you were drawn to this work. Consider thinking back to why you applied for the position, and when you first heard you had been selected for your job. Think about the excitement you may have felt and what aspects of the job spoke to you and your passions. Write a list of things that come to your mind and review it when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Coming into any County worksite seems weird. Many of us are used to fighting congested traffic on our commute or walking down busy sidewalks. Now, not so much. It may feel like a scene out of a movie. Because of this, you may have noticed increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Consider changing the way you look at the situation, or reframing it. Take some time to enjoy the beautiful buildings and look for people to say ‘Hi’ to. Take a different route than normal, or try a new coffee shop, safely of course. Think of this as your opportunity to see the city in a new and different way.

Right now, it may feel as though things are coming at rapid pace. Some of you may have been reassigned to new tasks or relocated to another work area. Many routines have been thrown out the window and it may feel like the world has been turned upside down. Do something to break up the day and take care of yourself. Set an alarm on your phone to take your break and make sure you take it. You can walk outside for a few minutes, do a mindful meditation, stretch, take three deep breaths, or drink a glass of water. If you notice that your co-worker hasn’t taken a break in hours, suggest you both break for tea or coffee.

Know that you are not alone in this, and you have colleagues across the County and around the world stepping up during this crisis. This time is hard, whether we are working on-site or telecommuting. There are many different losses right now. The loss of friends not being on-site, the loss of space, the loss of purpose, the loss of normalcy, and the tragic loss of lives. These losses, coupled with the stress of everything else, can feel overwhelming.

If you are struggling, know that there are counselors available 24/7 through Making Life Easier (1-888-874-7290) and our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Staff are available by phone at 206-263-8733 or via email at HRDEAP@kingcounty.gov .

We are here for you. Contact us anytime.

 

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