INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 58



P U B L I C P R A C T I C E F E AT U R E
// M E N TA L H E A LT H
“NOW MORE THAN
E V E R , I T I S I M P O R TA N T
TO SCHEDULE BREAKS
I N T O YO U R D A I LY R O U T I N E .”
STORY JOHANNA LEGGATT
HOW TO
PRACTISE
SELF-CARE
MICHAEL O’HANLON, BEYOND BLUE
“Recognise there is nothing wrong with needing
support,” he says.
“If you are part of a network, like CPA Australia
members are, you may find that other members are
going through something very similar. Keeping in
touch with your peers is a great way of normalising
your situation.”
If you need more structured support, both Bond and
O’Hanlon emphasise the importance of talking to a
mental health professional – even via a hotline – or
consulting your doctor.
EXERCISE AND LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Most people know that exercise is important and,
as O’Hanlon notes, good physical health is directly
associated with positive mental space.
If you want to be mentally healthy, you have to
be physically healthy, he says.
“We, as a society, have separated the two concepts,
but you can’t separate them in yourself [because]
they’re linked [to] who you are.”
However, there is no necessity to sprint up or down
stairs or along hallways.
“Whatever exercise gives you a mental break is all
that is needed,” O’Hanlon says. “It could be simply
walking the dog during your lunch break. Now more
than ever, it is important to schedule breaks into your
daily routine.”
CPA AUSTRALIA, BEYOND BLUE AND MENTAL HEALTH FIRST
HAVE TEAMED UP TO OFFER PUBLIC PRACTITIONERS TOOLS
TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR MENTAL HEALTH.
T
he traditional remit of accountants has
unexpectedly broadened from a finance
specialist who can help clients navigate the
complexities of the JobKeeper legislation
to a psychologist, counselor and a friendly shoulder
to lean on.
Predictably, the outbreak is imposing considerable
stress on all practitioners, and knowing how to help
valued clients while still taking care of yourself is one
of the biggest challenges accountants face, according
to Beyond Blue workplace engagement manager,
Michael O’Hanlon.
“The pressure [on accountants] is two-fold,”
O’Hanlon says. “They face challenges running their
own businesses at this time, as well as coping with
stress from advising other small businesses and clients.”
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
To improve the ability of accountants to safeguard
their mental health during this difficult time,
CPA Australia has teamed with two leading mental
health services, Beyond Blue and Mental Health First
Aid Australia (MHFA), to provide members with a raft
of additional resources, including a webinar.
62 ITB July 2020
The webinar featured O’Hanlon and MHFA
workplace engagement manager, Kathy Bond,
and offered tailored advice to practitioners on
strategies to maintain sound mental health.
“Accountants are working with people who are
distressed about finances, which can be a source
of great worry [at the best of times],” Bond says.
A 2018 survey of 5000 workers by SuperFriend
highlights just how susceptible those working in
financial services may be to stress. The Financial
and Insurance Services Profile Report found that
nearly half of all financial services employees
(47 per cent) experience ongoing stress in their job,
which is 9 per cent higher than the national average.
“Previous research has highlighted high levels
of psychological distress among professionals,
with accountants ranking in the top three,”
O’Hanlon says.
BE AWARE OF THE SIGNS
The first step to protecting mental health is being
able to recognise when stress is taking over.
“You may feel on edge, on the verge of tears,
or angry,” Bond explains.
Be attuned to any changes in thinking, behaviour or
feelings that are personally unusual and last more than
a few days, she adds.
“You may not get any enjoyment out of the activities
you used to, or lack motivation.”
O’Hanlon points out that it is common during
any crisis for people to experience changes in sleep
patterns and appetite.
“You may also feel more indecisive or overwhelmed,
or start to think that you will never get out of the
pandemic,” he says. “You may also [experience] poor
concentration and lack focus.”
STAY CONNECTED WITH CO-WORKERS
One of the best ways to improve wellbeing is to stay
connected with co-workers through teleconferencing
or videoconferencing.
“Set aside 10 or 15 minutes for morning tea breaks
with colleagues,” Bond advises. “It allows us to see if
someone else is doing OK, and to also share if we are
not doing OK.”
O’Hanlon suggests sharing with co-workers how
stressed you feel, and picking up tips on how they
manage their stress levels.
LISTEN
UP!
This story is available as
an audio article.
To listen, visit cpaaustralia.
com.au/selfcare
SET BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are important, too, which means limiting
exposure to distressing or distracting content.
According to O’Hanlon, for some, it’s imperative
to limit interaction with the news cycle and to manage
routines “in a more deliberate way”.
“There is a real risk of information overload [which]
can add to stress and confusion,” he warns.
It can also be helpful to create boundaries in your
home life by working from a separate home office,
where possible.
“That way, when you are in your office or spare
bedroom you are working, and when you finish at
the end of the day, you leave work behind,”
O’Hanlon says.
Most importantly: it’s OK to not feel OK.
“It’s a strange and unusual time for all of us, so
remember that you are not alone in these experiences,”
Bond says.
intheblack.com July 2020 63

CPA Australia Audiocast

Paperturn



Powered by


Full screen Click to read
Paperturn flip book
Search
Overview
Download as PDF
Print
Shopping cart
Full screen
Exit full screen