Top 8 Things an Aged Care Manager can do during Covid-19

A few weeks back, here in Victoria at least, just when everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief to finally be let out from lockdown, we found ourselves in lockdown 2.0 with much tougher restrictions. Not being able to move outside of our suburb, mandatory wearing of face masks and now stage 4 restrictions have become the norm.

In Melbourne, COVID numbers continue to surge, health and especially aged care is in turmoil with no end in sight. If you live outside Victoria, in sunny Queensland, NSW or perhaps a less densely populated area, thank your lucky stars, as it could be much worse. If you are working on the frontline in a hospital or an aged care facility you are no doubt having a very intense experience and may be feeling depleted.

Thank you

Can I just say thank you, and keep up your amazing work.  If you are working from home, you may be feeling increasingly isolated. Our thanks go to you too.

In your role as a manager, others naturally look to you for leadership. How to lead others through unchartered waters? What does leadership look like during a global pandemic with no rule book? Who in the public spotlight is a good role model right now as things get tougher? Can you think about any leaders you admire?  What is it about them you may want to emulate? Do you feel it’s your turn to step up?

Staff will be observing how you behave and interact with them. Never before has humanity and simple kindness been more important e.g. making eye contact (all we can do now here in Vic with face masks). Leaders with authenticity and compassion, who have good working relationships with their people will be able to draw on some well-earned credit now, reaping the benefit of loyal staff and effective teamwork.

A pandemic about fear

The current pandemic is as much about fear as anything.  How we and others behave is showing us much about our coping mechanisms in response to this fear. Many have a short fuse, frustrated in daily life and who knows what kind of personal or financial pressures, amidst rising tensions in most workplaces.  If you are feeling off-centre, be kind to yourself. Just know that it’s normal and helpful to feel your emotions, rather than suppress them. Its what you do next…

Minimise your exposure to angst e.g. limit your exposure to the news.  Channel your own anger to address issues that you are passionate about and can control. That might be speaking up to offer a solution you’ve been sitting on for a while but doubted yourself. The gold is always in the small things.

Put on your OXYGEN mask first

So your job now is to metaphorically put on your own oxygen mask first. Admittedly, that’s a challenge here in Victoria with face masks making breathing harder. Donning a face mask can be a reminder that, as a manager, we can’t help anyone unless we help ourselves first.

TOP 8 things:

Here are 8 nuggets to boost your immunity and flex your leadership muscle:

  1. Breathe – but through your nose, it engages your parasympathetic nervous system and helps you to relax. Mouth breathing increases anxiety.
  2. Hydrate – PPE is dehydrating. Water on waking, mineral water with a squeeze of lemon to limit alcohol, eat water based foods eg. cucumber
  3. Community is immunity. Daily connection – with family, friends.
  4. Exercise – daily walk in fresh air, walk your dog or steal someone else’s. Do anything that you enjoy that moves your body.  Try a free class on u-tube such as restorative yoga. We need to move our bodies to help our lymphatic system to drain.
  5. Eat whole foods i.e. More fruits and vegetables, avoid processed food in packages, decrease sugar, substitute with honey or other natural sweetener.
  6. Sleep – 8 hours – believe me the exercise will help. In bed with eyes shut by 11pm or earlier.
  7. Mindfulness, switch off and detach, turn off the news, find a welcome distraction (hobby). Gardening, craftwork, that will help you to be mindful/more fully in the present moment.
  8. Vitamin D – If your levels are down in winter take a supplement. Research is showing Vit D a key factor in building immunity and staying healthy against COVID-19

Remember, how you behave has a ripple effect on those around you. The virus is proof of just how closely we are connected.  Your goal is to be in a resourceful state, so you get back to enjoying your role as a manager and remain resilient, just like our relatives did in days gone by.

Here’s an article you may find interesting.

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