UConn Health has begun the process of resuming routine appointments and elective procedures, and we are committed to creating the safest possible environment for our patients, employees, and visitors.

Work-Life

Work-Life at UConn Health embodies the practice of creating a supportive environment to foster the overall well-being of our employees. Dedicated to serving the needs of the UConn community, especially during this unprecedented time worldwide, UConn Health will continue to maintain our work-life page as a resource for our health professionals battling this pandemic on the frontlines and for all our workforce. We know that the coming months will be difficult, and will continue to challenge us like never before. We hope these resources will help you remain resilient, prepared, and supported. Thank you for your dedicated service in making UConn Health a world-class academic health center.

Wellness Resources for Our Workforce During COVID-19

SELF-CARE

UConn Health Emotional Wellness Support Services

Use the Comfort Room

The Wellness Center is currently serving as a dedicated 24/7 space for you to take a break, decompress, take a shower, and even have a snack. If you serve as frontline personnel and are a current member of the Wellness Center, you have access. For frontline personnel in need of access to the Center, please email wellnessbadgeaccess@uchc.edu.

Seek emotional support when needed

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential assessment, brief counseling and referral service available to all employees and their family members. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the EAP remains operational and is scheduling tele-health appointments.  To schedule an appointment, Email or call  860-679-2877. Requests for appointments are responded to within the hour.

For frontline employees, free, confidential on demand counseling support is available M-F from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., EAP counseling support through the Comfort Room counseling space located in the Wellness Center.  Employees are instructed to call the hospital operator using the phone located in the space and request to be connected to the on-call EAP counselor. This support will be provided by phone.

Debrief and Re-set: Become more centered while handling the stress

Don’t take ownership of this pandemic. Stress debriefing available on a private, individual basis, or for work teams on a private, group basis. Debriefings can be accessed in the Wellness Center private space via telehealth, and by phone, M-F from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also choose to debrief in a private space of your choice by contacting the EAP (uchc_eap@uchc.edu) or Dr. Julian Ford​ in Psychiatry.

Taking Care of Our Own

To all UConn Health employees, the Mood and Anxiety Clinic & Department of Psychiatry are deeply grateful for your tireless efforts on the front-lines of caring for patients affected by this pandemic. Your efforts are keeping us and communities around us safe by curtailing the spread of the virus and providing the best and most compassionate care for every patient. We understand that all of this comes with a significant physical and emotional toll on you and your loved ones. Many of you work long hours, are also caring for and protecting your loved ones, and grieving the losses that affect all of us so deeply. Your dedication is heroic, and it comes at a price. We know that all of you are concerned about the safety of your family members, friends as and co-workers. Many of you may have experienced stigma for being on the front lines, and felt traumatized as you witness terrible pain and suffering. You have to carry on even when you feel exhausted physically and emotionally, and that is the heavy toll of stress and compassion fatigue that is unavoidable for first responders. At this time, it’s often difficult to think about taking care of yourself, and there’s little time to do so – but finding ways to manage the stress and recharge yourself emotionally as well as physically is every front line worker’s right and responsibility.

We, providers in the Mood and Anxiety Clinic, want to do our part to support you during these difficult times. Our clinicians can provide short term psychological (and if necessary pharmacological) care to help you be highly effective in managing the unavoidable stress and to address any emotional difficulties you are dealing with, personally and professionally. Comprehensive evaluation and treatment appointments will be scheduled with our providers (psychologists and psychiatrists) within 24-48 hours. We are closely coordinating these efforts with EAP and HR.

To set up an appointment, you can call EAP at 860-679-2877 or the Mood and Anxiety Clinic at 860-679-5414with a self-referral. All care is confidential.

Take a Pause with Midday Meditation


Thank you to all who have incorporated our live, midday meditations into your day. As we adapt our lives and practices to this disease, it is more important than ever to take time for reprieve and self-care. To aid you in your self-care practices, we share with you recordings of our some of our sessions so you can continue meeting your mindfulness needs. If you are new to this practice, we welcome you. These evidence-based practices of mindful breathing, body and sensory awareness, relaxation, and self- compassion help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, calm the body and the mind, regulate emotions, and increase resilience in these times of vulnerability.

Midday Meditation - Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Midday Meditation - Relaxation with Light

For more information, contact Dr. Jessica Meyer, Department of Psychiatry

It’s OK not to be OK.

The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the national outcry that has followed have stirred deep feelings of fear, hurt, and helplessness for so many. These events and emotions are not something that you can leave behind when you go to work. The weight can be enormous, and so the question is, "What should I do?" As each of us grapples with how to respond, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to give voice to your feelings.

There are universal values that everyone should embrace — treating one another with respect and kindness while working hard to understand each other's unique experiences. Please safely engage with your colleagues, friends, family, and other supports during this difficult time. Ask them how they are doing today. Give each other grace as we navigate unforeseen circumstances. Have empathy for those who are scared and uncertain.

Also, know that our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a safe place to seek free, confidential support for you and your family members. Acts of violence and the subsequent events we are witnessing in the media have an emotional impact on all of us. EAP provides emotional support and information and crisis resources. If you are concerned bout an employee or colleague, offer EAP as a resource.

Contact EAP 860-679-2877 or uchc_eap@uchc.edu.

Additional Resources

Frontline Self-Care

#FirstRespondersFirst an initiative to support and sustain the health and well-being of frontline workers amidst COVID-19 conceived by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Thrive Global.

Anxiety and COVID-19 training video by Drs. Dana Crawford and Miguelina Germain from Montefiore Medical Center teaches you coping skills to get through this outbreak and helps you tolerate short and long-term distress.

Self-Care and Applying Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Responders just in-time training offering stress management strategies to protect the healthcare workforce.

Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff.pdf developed by the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress.

Secondary Traumatic Stress for Healthcare Professionals.pdf developed by the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress.

Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel.pdf during Coronavirus and other Infectious Disease Outbreak, CSTS

Self-care Tips to Reduce Anxiety as COVID-19 cases increase, watch tips on what you can do to strengthen yourself.

Resilience

Resilience Is Mindfulness: 12 Calming Exercises for Kids

Three Secrets of Resilient People a TEDx talk where resilience researcher Lucy Hone helps people apply scientific research practically in their everyday lives.

Self-care Tips to Reduce Anxiety as COVID-19 cases increase, watch tips on what you can do to strengthen yourself.

 

Healthy Habits

Watch James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits, on how to create new healthy habits.

Read an excerpt from Atomic Habits on how to build new habits but stacking on old ones

 

 

CONNECTION

Recognition

Recognition you can give and receive

Recognition thank you from Governor Lamont

Recognition thank you from President Katsouleas

 

During Challenging Times

View Next Big Idea Book Club e-course on the book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do  by Stanford social psychologist and MacArthur genius awardee Jennifer Eberhardt. According to American author Dan Pink, Biased provides a penetrating look at the science that underlies racial bias — and offers shrewd suggestions for improvement.

Watch Dr. Brené Brown as she discusses why vulnerability is the "only path to courage" and learn why Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.

Empathy vs. Sympathy a YouTube video where Dr. Brené Brown explains how we can use empathy to connect with others during difficult times.

Self

Husky Hub a place for UConn Nation to find digital resources, activities, events, and stories anytime, from anywhere, to help us all stay connected while socially distancing.

Spiritual and Emotional Support provided by Chaplaincy Program by calling the operator

Want to feel more grateful? This one simple mental trick will help.

3 Ways to Better Understand Your Emotions by broadening our emotional vocabulary by Susan David, founder of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching.

How to cope with difficult emotions without shutting them down a conversation with Daniel Pink and Susan David on on why we should stop smothering our emotions and learn to listen to the valuable information they offer.

 

Children & Family

How to Cope With Your HERO, the essential Worker activity book for families to use in recognizing heroic qualities and teach them coping strategies to deal with COVID-19

#WeThriveInside the Child Mind Institute has launched this special campaign - mostly for families and children - but accessible for everyone featuring coping techniques

Helping My Child Cope tips for parents during COVID-19

The Medical Front Line: A Guide to Supporting Your Anxious Child shares tips on how to support your child during COVID-19

Coping with Covid-19 Emotional Wellbeing Resources for individuals, families, clinicians  a padlet developed by Dr. Karen Steinberg

 

MANAGING STRESS

UConn Health Articles and Podcasts

The UConn Health Pulse podcast returns with Drs. Kristina Zdanys and Julian Ford, two of our psychiatry experts, joining Carolyn and Chris for a low-fidelity, remote discussion. You may not believe what you hear about the impact of loneliness on older adults’ well-being!

Tolerating Uncomfortable Emotions During a Pandemic, Dr. Cassandra Holinkais explains how we can distract from our difficult emotions, and we can acknowledge and tolerate them.

Coping With COVID? Mastering Social (But Not Emotional) Distancing , Dr. Julian Ford shares his thoughts and recommendations on ways to handle the stress.

Breathing Techniques

Evidence-Based Breathing Techniques provided by the Art of Living's Happiness program to help frontline healthcare workers stay resilient

Read and Watch how to use 4-7-8 breathing for anxiety.

Coping Skills for Kids offers Deep Breathing Exercises for kids.

Learn from Headspace how to using breathing exercises to reduce stress.

Mindfulness

Watch Gayle Van Gils, author of Happier at Work, as she explains mindfulness, gives a short meditation instruction and talks about Mindfulness practices you can bring with you to work.

Listen to the Labyrinth Podcast, mindfulness teachings, talks and discussions as well as helpful meditations offered b the Copper Beech Institute.

Meditation

Download 5-, 10- and 20-minute meditations from our Department of Psychiatry to help you with enhancing immune functioning, sleep and overall stress management.

Livestream Guided Meditation recordings offered by the  Copper Beech Institute.

Listen to the Labyrinth Podcast, mindfulness teachings, talks and discussions as well as helpful meditations offered b the Copper Beech Institute.

The meditation app Headspace has announced that it is making its premium tier free for all U.S. healthcare professionals who work in public health settings.

Ten Percent Happier is also offering free access to their app to all frontline health workers.

Meditation for Anxiety YouTube videos offering  coping techniques for stressful days

EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

Professional Development

Professional Development where UConn employees can find online courses.

Professional Development join the School of Business Book Club.

Tuition Programs for UConn Health employees and their children.

Tech Against Coronavirus a crowdsourced list of software solutions to help you make working from home easier.

Working from Home a YouTube playlist of how to effectively work at home.

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS

Physical

Wellness Center offering alternative workout solutions, pandemic food tips, and the 6 dimensions of wellness.

Our experts cut through misinformation and rumors about drug treatments for COVID-19.

Employee Assistance Program available to help you manage life-stressors of all kinds. They can help you stay focused at work, keep productivity and performance high, and genuinely improve your well-being in the process.

Lifestyle Medicine Program works with you to empower yourself to make healthy, evidence-based lifestyle changes.

LiveLOUD - Life With Opioid Use Disorder  Campaign offers support, encourages treatment and education on treatment options, for those who are actively use heroin or misuse prescription opioids, their families and communities.

Neag Smoking Cessation Program because quitting is hard and they can help.

The Get Daniel Pink explains how to motivate yourself when you don't want to exercise

The Body Coach Joe Wicks offers free workouts for every member of your family at every fitness level

Workout With Me YouTube playlist of stay home workouts

 

Emotional

Employee Assistance Program available to help you manage life-stressors of all kinds. They can help you stay focused at work, keep productivity and performance high, and genuinely improve your well-being in the process.

Community UConn Health is committed to providing a place for individuals to share common concerns, emotional support, as well as to exchange information.

Spiritual and Emotional Support provided by Chaplaincy Program by calling the operator

LiveLOUD - Life With Opioid Use Disorder  Campaign offers support, encourages treatment and education on treatment options, for those who are actively use heroin or misuse prescription opioids, their families and communities.

Also take a look at our Self-Care, Connection and Managing Stress Resources

Nutritional

Nutrition Resources can help to ensure you are getting the right balance of nutrients, increase your energy, and handle stress better.

Wellness Center offering pandemic food tips.

Your Productivity Levels Depend on What You Eat a Thrive Global explains how food and cognitive performance are linked.

The Fogg Method, offers a 3-step process for behavior change because there's no magic diet, it's about behavior.

 

FAMILY CARE

Education at Home

COVID 19 Resources for Parents, Parent Educators and Clinicians padlet developed by Dr. Jennifer Vendetti.

Caring During COVID-19: Education Resources From the UConn Neag School

Internet Access Connecticut's efforts to help the state's residents get online and stay connected during COVID-19

Learning at Home YouTube partners with Khan Academy and other learning creators to bring parents & families resources and activities to make the coming days as educational and fun as possible.

Stories Help Explore the free Audible collection for you kids.

Eldercare

UConn Center on Aging

Balancing Work and Elder Care through the Coronavirus an article in the Harvard Business Review offers critical tips to help manage well-being during the pandemic.

The Eldercare Workforce Alliance offers various COVID-19 resources.

Staying Connected at Home During COVID-19 a tips sheet provided by engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older adults and the Eldercare Locator.

Petcare

Child and Pet Care Services offer by Medical Students.

Pet Owner FAQ by the American Veterinary Medical Association.