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Qld GMA Members take time to 'sharpen their saws'

Wednesday 26, Aug 2020

Queensland GMA Members were able to attend their first organised event in 9 months on 18th August, held at Nudgee Golf Club in Brisbane.

With what has been some of the most challenging months hopefully behind us, this Professional Development Day on the topic ‘Health and Wellbeing’, brought to us by national GMA partner Toro Australia, was timed perfectly and very much needed for those in attendance.

Members were invited to bring their superintendent along as part of the discussion as a chance to spend time together and review what they all have been going through the day in and day out.

Toro had a new electric mower to show off at the break and we trialed a Zoom “Livestream” of the event to Regional members in Far North Qld. Whilst it didn't work out perfectly, future Livestream will be improved for a better engagement at future events bu members.

GMA Member Assistance Program

The main presentation of the day was from Acacia EAP, a national independent service provider specialising in supporting people in dealing with personal or work-related issues in a positive way. Acacia EAP also provides GMA members and their immediate family with the GMA Member Assistance Program (MAP).

The MAP involves the provision of a 24-hour counseling service by qualified, registered psychologists and counselors across Australia. The service is highly confidential with no disclosure of any individual information to GMA relating to your sessions. The MAP includes short term counseling of up to 3 hours per member per year and can provide assistance for a range of issues including:

  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Relationship and marriage difficulties
  • Family and parenting issues
  • Managing grief or loss
  • Illness adjustment and Management
  • Stress management
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Work-related stress
  • Financial coaching – helps with managing financial difficulties and budgeting
  • Legal referral – assists with short term legal referral to necessary legal services
  • Sleep disorders
  • Dietician support
  • Eating disorders
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental Illness
  • And any other issues you may be faced within your work or personal life

The introduction of the MAP recognises the need for GMA members to have access to immediate help, should issue within a members’ personal or professional life become difficult.

Jodie Perkins, a Social counselor with Acacia EAP, talked about a few main points and tips to follow to make sure we are managing stress correctly and keeping an eye out with team members.

1. Practice Mindfulness – the ability to be fully present in the moment.

Mindfulness can improve cognitive function and focus, and assists with adrenaline and cortisol regulation (fight, flight or freeze response) on demand when practiced. Slow Abdominal Breathing is an easy way to use strategy to activate the ‘relaxation response’ to reduce anger and anxiety.

2. Practice Grounding – a strategy designed to “ground” you in, or immediately connect you with, the present moment.

These techniques can help to pull away from negative or challenging emotions, unwanted memories or flashbacks, or create space from distressing feelings and refocus on the present moment. It orients the brain and body to the present moment and activates the parasympathetic nervous system which works to reduce the stress response.

Techniques you can try:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Describing Your Surroundings
  • Meditation
  • Practicing Self-Care
  • Moving Your Body
  • Positive Visualisation
  • Listening to Music   
  • Walk barefoot on the grass                     

How do I do it? Look around – Notice the following:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can hear
  • 3 things you can feel
  • 2 things you can smell

What should I look for in myself, members and staff?

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Social isolation or withdrawal
  • Irritable and argumentative behaviour
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Indifference and reduced work performance
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Sadness, depression or anxiety
  • Change in sleeping patterns

Financial & Mental Wellbeing

A second topic was presented by Patrick Bardon from corporate partner Hostplus and focused more on the financial wellbeing aspects. Patrick discussed some key insights from Metlife research which showed close to half of all Australians are suffering from some form of mental ill health at present due to COVID-19 issues:

  • 32% claim the uncertainty of Covid-19 has damaged their mental health
  • 42% feel isolated
  • 44% say their mental health is worse now compared to pre Covid-19

The research proved a strong relationship between one’s overall health and wellbeing, financial health, mental health and the response of their employer to COVID-19. It also showed that over 3 in 10 Australians have actively sought help due to feeling mentally unhealthy as a direct result of Covid-19.

According to the research, half of Australians claim Covid-19 has impacted their finances, with 30 percent of those over 50 expect to postpone their retirement. Employees working at small-medium enterprises were also more likely than those working at large enterprises to experience financial hardship and were more likely to have sought support due to feeling mentally unhealthy.

For more insight, visit Metlife Australia - Metlife Australia Covid-19 Research Insights - 02 July 2020

How to get stronger – a Covid-19 response

To round out the half-day seminar, a group discussion was held on the topic “COVID 19: What have learned and how do we get stronger?

Luke Bates, State Manager for Golf Australia, showed the recent competition rounds update and how most clubs are experiencing much busier tee sheets. Several clubs have pivoted their business models to bring in a new revenue stream such as a takeaway food business. The courses are busier than ever in most cases, which leads to more stress at work.

A few recurring messages were agreed during the group discussion.

  1. Strong communication is needed to be in place between all stakeholders - staff, management board and members
  2. A united consistent approach to everyone is needed
  3. Adapting to change on a regular basis
  4. Expect the unexpected!

The Professional Development Day also had two invited guests that now have become new GMA members!

Stay safe everyone and give an industry mate a call when you have time or schedule a virtual coffee or beer to check on each other.