CU at Home blog series: Part 3 - Mental health considerations

May 8, 2020

With the spread of COVID-19, many employees across Canada have been asked to work from home and practice social distancing. Employers and employees will need to work together to protect the health of employees and clients, and to keep the workplace delivering its essential services.

We know that credit unions in Canada often rely on in-person interactions with co-workers and members, so this shift to working from home can be challenging for many. To help Canadian credit unions smoothly transition to a new work style, Celero has created a three-part blog series on  considerations for remote working practices.


As part three in our blog series, we are sharing some of the mental health considerations we focus on with our employees, and some resources, to share with Canadian credit unions. 


Mental health considerations for employees


Meaningful social connections help protect our mental health. But how do you help employees maintain social connection at a time when public health authorities call for “social distancing” to stop the spread of illness? Under these challenging circumstances, it is perfectly normal if employees are feeling angry, anxious, lonely, sad or worried.


It is important to acknowledge these feelings and the disruptions caused by COVID-19 to our personal and working lives. By encouraging your employees to engage in an open dialogue about our emotional well-being with family members, friends and colleagues, it can help to improve and maintain mental health in uncertain times. Below are some tips from the Government of Canada to help address isolation and loneliness some employees may experience while working from home.


Set a schedule


Humans are creatures of habit and routine helps us physically and mentally prepare for our day.

  • Get ready for work. Shower. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Keep the same routine as when heading into the office.
  • “Commute” to work. If possible, have a dedicated workspace that minimizes distractions and helps reduce the blurring of lines between your work and home life.
  • Schedule your time. Set regular working hours, including breaks and self-care practices between different tasks. Check-in regularly with your manager and colleagues.
  • Respect your limits. Resist the temptation to keep working beyond your established work hours. Know, respect and share your limits with those around you to avoid burnout.

Make time for self-care

  • Get sufficient sleep. Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep. Maintain proper sleep hygiene for the rest you need.
  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated. Ensure proper, balanced nutrition throughout your workday.
  • Exercise regularly. Get outside for a daily 20-30 minute walk.

Managing stress


Stress is a fact of daily life and is the result of both the good and bad things that happen. Too much stress can cause serious health concerns, but there are many ways of dealing with stress that can reduce your risk.


Symptoms of stress:

  • Feelings of irritability, sadness or guilt
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in weight or appetite
  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
  • Negative thinking
  • Loss of interest, enjoyment or energy in something you used to enjoy
  • Restlessness

Coping with stress


Everyone is different so there is not a single way to cope with stress. However, there are a number of approaches you can share with your employees to deal with short and long term stress.

  • Identify the problems. What is causing your stress? Is an unimportant surface problem masking a deeper one? Awareness of the problem enables actions.
  • Work on solutions. Encourage your employees to start thinking about what they can do to relieve the problem. Take control over the issues they can manage. This might mean talking with a health professional about personal problems or a financial counsellor. By making changes to deal with the issue, employees may experience a relief in the pressure.
  • Talk about your problems. First of all, just by venting feelings, employees may relieve some stress and hear some solutions. If they need to talk to someone outside their circle of family and friends, a family physician, employee assistance program or mental health professional are good resources.
  • Offer resources for stress management. In addition to health professionals who specialize in stress, there are many helpful books, films, videos, courses and workshops available to help employees learn stress management techniques.

Stress prevention


There are techniques that employees can use to prevent stress from building up again, including:

  • Making decisions. Worrying about making a decision causes stress.
  • Avoiding putting things off. Make up a weekly schedule that includes leisure activities as well as things you must do.
  • Delegating to others. Let others take on some of the tasks you have set yourself so that you are not trying to do everything yourself.
  • Keeping thoughts positive and realistic.

Please reach out to your Celero Account Executive or chat with us on social media, if Celero can do anything to help your credit union through these uncertain times.


Related posts:

CU at Home blog series: Part 1 – working remotely and what's worked for Celero

Introducing the Aura™ instant issuance program

Lessons learned about working remotely during the pandemic

Celebrating Canadian credit unions on International Credit Union Day


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CU at Home blog series: Part 3 - Mental health considerations