Resilience: Mind • Body • Spirit

UTMB Employee Wellness

For several weeks, we have all been focused on planning, preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty and stress, it is essential that we take good care of ourselves and our families so that we can continue to support our patients and each other.

To that end, UTMB has established an Employee Wellness Task Force, under the guidance of Human Resources and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. This group will be providing resources, updates and general information to all of us in the coming weeks to help us stay emotionally healthy during this crisis.

Employee Resources  

If you are a UTMB employee and need emotional support, counseling or coping support, these resources are immediately available to you. Please use them:

  • The University of Texas Employee Assistance Program
    24/7 crisis counseling hotline: (844) 872-5986; open to employees and their families. See the UTEAP Overview Document for more information.
  • UTMB Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Employee Clinic
    Call (409) 772-0770 to schedule an appointment; available to employees and their families.
  • UTMB Student Health
    24/7 crisis hotline: (409) 747-HELP (4357); available to all UTMB students.
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission Hotline
    Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: (833) 986-1919; available to all Texas residents.
  • De-Escalation Techniques for Medical Professionals
    The UTMB Police Department has developed a 30-minute training program for medical professionals (and others interested in promoting positive communication). The training covers topics such as empathy in communication, nonverbal language and tone of voice to counter emotion-driven behavior. Login to the UTMB Learn training site, navigate to the “Catalog” link at the top of the page, and from the expanded dropdown menu select “Professional Development.” Enroll in the “De-Escalation Techniques for Medical Professionals” module by clicking the “+” sign.

Wellness Resources  

Zen Stones

Some of the resources below include links to external websites that are not controlled by UTMB Health.

  MIND

  BODY

  SPIRIT

WELLNESS TIP OF THE DAY

The Wellness Tip of the Day is a new feature from the UTMB RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) Task Force. We invite you to join us in focusing on at least one brief, healthy practice a day.

We welcome your tips, comments, questions, pictures, art, poems or videos of you or your team working on staying well. Send to nurseart@utmb.edu

  • June - Week 3 (Joyful June)

    • Day 15 - Look for something to be thankful for where you least expect it today.
    • Day 16 - Speak to others in a warm and friendly way.
    • Day 17 - Take time to notice things you find beautiful and inspiring.
    • Day 18 - Look for the good in a difficulty situation.
    • Day 19 - Find joy in being active today.
    • Day 20 - Rediscover and enjoy a fun childhood activity today.
    • Day 21 - Share a positive thought with someone who needs it today.

  Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic is scary for all of us, especially children, those on the front lines, and those at higher risk for COVID-19, such as older people and those with chronic diseases. Here are some tips to help you through the next several weeks.

Take Care of Yourself

  • BathtubEat right
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep regular hours
  • Be forgiving to yourself
    • It's ok to cry, not cry, binge watch TV, play video games or eat that extra piece of dessert

unpluggedUnplug
Take breaks from social media and the news. Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting.

Physical vs Social distancing

facetimeWhile we must physically distance ourselves from others, we shouldn't be socially distant.

  • Set up virtual dates with friends & family
  • Watch a movie or cook dinner “together”
  • Play online games with your friends
  • Talk with people you trust about your concerns but set rules to limit talk about the pandemic to a brief portion of your conversation

Do what you love

CookContinue doing activities you enjoy.

  • Exercise, cook, clean, garden, read, watch TV, or any number of activities.
  • GuitarScience tells us that it is difficult to be simultaneously anxious while doing stuff you’re interested in – even if you’re forcing yourself to do it.

 

Things to Do

  • Wear a mask when out in public places
  • Monitor your stress through self-monitoring and pacing
  • exertionMaintain emotional well-being with buddy checks and check-ins
  • Engage in brief relaxation/stress management breaks throughout the day
  • Take time-outs for basic bodily care and nutrition
  • Keep anxiety conscribed to actual threats
  • Maintain helpful self-talk
  • Avoid overgeneralizing fears; focus efforts and energy on what is within our power
  • Accept situations we cannot change
  • Foster fortitude, patience, tolerance and hope
  • Avoid negative coping strategies
  • Seek out and share social support-virtually and otherwise

Things to Avoid

  • workWorking too long by yourself without checking in with colleagues and resource sources listed here
  • Working round the clock without a break
  • Feeling that you are not doing enough
  • Excessive intake of caffeine, sweets, alcohol

depressedAvoid engaging in self-talk and attitudinal obstacles to self-care

“It would be selfish to rest”
“Others are working around the clock so should I”
“The needs of others are more important than my basic needs”
“Only I can do…”

COVID-19 General FAQs

FAQs

  • What is COVID-19

    Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus, now known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

    While COVID-19 causes only mild illness in some infected individuals, it may cause serious lower respiratory infection leading to hospitalization and even death.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this factsheet highlighting important information you should know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-10).

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • How do I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if I am sick?
    • Stay home unless you need medical care
    • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
    • Call ahead before visiting a clinic
    • Wear a mask
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Clean your hands often
    • Avoid sharing personal household items
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day
    • Monitor your symptoms

    Last modified on 3/10/2020

  • Can I get tested for the coronavirus? What’s the process?

    Patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever or shortness of breath, can schedule online or contact the UTMB Health Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.


    • Patients should follow recommendations for testing, self-isolation and management of symptoms.
    • Any patient experiencing a worsening of symptoms—particularly shortness of breath—a few days after first becoming ill should contact the Access Center IMMEDIATELY. To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • You may also wish to check with your local county health officials for testing available through local government. In Galveston County, Health District testing information is online.

    Please note: Our process and procedures may be updated as the COVID-19 situation develops in our region.

    Last modified on 10/16/2020

  • Can COVID-19 spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects?

    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
    • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
    • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • If someone has minor symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, can they be isolated at home instead of a hospital?

    At this time, patients testing positive for COVID-19 who have mild symptoms, are not over age 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition are advised to isolate at home. If a patient with COVID-19 is concerned, begins to experience shortness of breath, starts feeling worse a week or so into the illness, is over age 60 or has an underlying medical condition, they are strongly encouraged to call their doctor or the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020