Employers have played an important public health role during COVID-19 by being megaphones for accurate and timely information about the pandemic with their employees and families. One area business leader, AllianceBernstein, recently partnered with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) to share strategies for overcoming mental health challenges employees may be facing during the pandemic.
In its six-part “Ask the Psychologist” podcast series, AllianceBernstein’s Head of Human Capital Cathy Spencer talked with VUMC’s Lindsey Colman McKernan, Ph.D., about the stress and emotional toll caused by COVID-19. Dr. McKernan, Clinical Assistant Professor in VUMC’s Department of Psychiatry, explains what stress does to the brain, gives ideas for healthy coping tactics and answers some of the most frequently asked questions about strengthening mental health during times of sustained anxiety.
“The anxiety and stress and uncertainty that you might be feeling are normal reactions to these unexpected times and to all of this transition and change,” she assures listeners. But there are bright spots to focus on: “We have a great deal of control over helping our mood, our energy and adjusting how we think about what’s next,” she says. “Just taking care of your body can have a great impact on your overall well-being and your ability to tolerate long period of stress.”
She gives practical ideas for “bolstering your overall foundational of health,” such as getting regular exercise, practicing yoga and mindfulness, prioritizing good sleep patterns, making sure your diet is balanced and your water intake is sufficient, and building routines to help you feel more in control.
She also discusses children’s mental health and connecting with family members and others who might need special attention during this time of heightened stress. Listen in on the following sessions:
Session 1: Common Mental Health Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic (8:18 minutes)
Session 2: Social Distancing & Your Brain (6:32 minutes)
Session 3: What Else Are We Feeling? (15:03 minutes)
Session 4: Supporting and Strengthening One’s Mental Health (21:50 minutes)
Session 5: Special Concerns With Children (13:33 minutes)
Session 6: Groups Needing Special Care (8:40 minutes)
The Employer Solutions team salutes AllianceBernstein for connecting with Vanderbilt Health to carry these important health messages to their employees and to greater community.