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STRONGER TOGETHER: Questioning where our focus lies on the ‘bigger picture’

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Last updated:
28/06/2022

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the power of questioning and expanding our focus.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

If you have a piece of paper grab it, or simply imagine one, place a single small dot anywhere on the paper, and look at the page. What do you notice?

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

This isn’t a puzzle, or a cryptic riddle. It’s a reflective exercise to understand how and what you might focus on.

Some people will become fixated on the dot, what it looks like, represents, and reminds them of.

The same thing can happen in our daily lives. We can become engrossed in certain things; tunnel vision takes over and everything becomes relative to the dot.

When this happens, we can become preoccupied and lose sight of what is important to us.

But what if we also considered the blank space?  

If we shift our focus from the dot to the page, there’s a wealth of space to a comparatively small dot.

This space can be indicative of many things, opportunity in particularly. The space for creativity, for change, growth and for something other than a singular fixation.

Being able to look at the bigger picture and interrogating what we see and why can be liberating.

By practicing this kind of reflection, you can give yourself permission to consider alternative situations, context, and the flexibility of reality.

However, broadening one’s focus is sometimes easier said than done. We bring with us past experiences and education which can shape our response to stimulus, alongside our present mindset and busyness which can influence our focus.

Mindful practices can be used to help create the time, space, and ability to step back and reflect.  

Breathing exercises are among the most accessible and simple tools to creating such a space. Some techniques include box breathing; whereby you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds and then exhale for four seconds, repeatedly. Another exercise is belly breathing and mindful breathing.

There are numerous apps and resources online with further information on breathing and mindfulness techniques.

If you have a spare moment today, consider if there’s something you’re fixating on and what you might see if you broaden your focus.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on our basic needs as humans and overcoming challenges by supporting one another.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

The warmth of a hearty meal, a shower after a long day, the shelter from the change of season and a community that cares for others, is something we should all have this winter.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

But across the country and in the Bundaberg region, people are experiencing homelessness as the housing crisis continues and people are finding it increasingly difficult to put a roof over their heads.

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow coined his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and it is undeniably prevalent nearly 80 years later.

Maslow’s theory breaks down five modes of needs for a person to being living their most authentic and comfortable life. Unsurprisingly, it starts with the physiological needs – what we need to survive. These foundational needs include food, water, clothing, and shelter, for without them it would be extremely challenging to priorities anything else.

The rising cost of living not only makes it difficult for people to afford shelter and food, but it can also take a toll on one’s mental health. 

The power of having a consistent and safe place to rest your head and full your stomach cannot be overstated and for those who may be struggling, it is vital to know there are services to help you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or other difficulties, there is an information flow chart on IMPACT’s Community Navigators’ webpage with a breakdown of the various situations one could be facing and the appropriate support service contact numbers and addresses to help.

If you are in a position to help fellow residents who are in need, there are various organisation which take food donations, like the Angels Community Group’s Emergency Food Hampers. Angels is also currently calling for cups of soup donations to facilitate their cup of soup bar at the support centre on 66 Targo St.

As indicative of the title of this column, as a community we are ‘stronger together’. Providing donations or sharing valuable information can be key to helping people attain their basic needs and begin improving their lives.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on the power of visualisation.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Making your dreams a reality undeniably requires a lot of dedication and hard work; but there’s several simple and fun tools that can give you a hand along the way.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

The power of visualisation as a form of mental practice is not only attested to by numerous high-performing athletes and business professionals, but recent research has revealed this type of rehearsal can influence memory, motor control and planning. 

To maintain momentum in the pursuit of your dreams, creating a Vision Board can be an effective means to help promote manifestation as you work towards bringing your dreams to reality.

When creating a vision board, get clear on what you want. Consider your values and goals, and also think about what you would like to achieve, what kind of person you would like to be, how you want to feel.

It’s important not to spread yourself or your Reticular Activating System too thin. As mentioned last week, your RAS is located at the base of your brain and works like a filter processing the sensory information that you are exposed to

Your vision board can therefore assist your RAS to focus on what is important to you.  The key is to double down on 1-2 key themes, and once you are clear on those areas, get your creative juices flowing!

Dream big. Spend some time collecting photos, images and quotes that represent what you want. Vision Boards can be anything you want them to be – traditionalists will display on a cork board, however they can be created online and displayed as a screensaver on your phone or laptop.

The most important part is that you display it somewhere that you will see it daily. A Vision Board serves as an anchor to your dreams and displaying them loud and clear in front of you on a daily basis helps to consistently work towards them.

And don’t be afraid to change it up once you have achieved a certain goal.

That’s the beauty of a Vision Board – you’re in control of what goes on it!

At IMPACT Community Health Service (ICHS) in the Discovery Coast we pride ourselves on being there for the community whenever and however we can – rain, hail or shine.

And the recent deluge has proven no exception.

ICHS Child Health Nurse Pip Burton recently assisted paramedics with a homebirth after a local resident went into labour during a flash flooding event.

Unable to get to Bundaberg or Gladstone or even home from the Queensland Ambulance Station due to road closures, the woman and her family ended up at her surf instructor’s home with paramedics and Pip to support her through the birth of her child.

Having worked in the region for 17 years, Pip said not once had she been called to assist with a homebirth before!

When Pip’s experiences with homebirths went from none to one, she was on a day off, moving house when the call came in from the ICHS practice manager.

Pip said the paramedics were already incredibly busy and wanted her present to support them, and the mother during and after the delivery.

When she arrived at the surf instructor’s house, it turned out that Pip knew or had some connection to nearly everyone in the room which helped ease any nerves.

She said through her work as a child health nurse and learning to surf she had previously met the owner of the home, the soon-to-be mother of two and one of the paramedics.

Pip said from when the baby was crowning to their arrival, “it all happened pretty quickly”, and both the mother and father were super calm throughout the delivery.

Thanks to technology, Pip and the paramedics were able to speak with a midwife via Facetime for the delivery of the placenta and check for blood loss.

Once the weather cleared a helicopter was able to get through and take a healthy mum and bub from the sports and recreation precinct to Gladstone Hospital.

Pip said the baby was born around 1.50pm and the helicopter landed close to 5pm.

Impact Community Health Service (ICHS) operates out of IMPACT Community Health Precinct, located at 2 Rafting Ground Road Agnes Water.

To get in contact with the ICHS team phone 4902 2000.

If you’re looking to improve your wellbeing and resilience ahead of entering or re-entering the workforce, the ADAPTABLE program might be just what you’re looking for.

ADAPTABLE is part of IMPACT Community Services’ free and voluntary WORKFit program, which delivers resilience training to people looking to identify and develop their inner strengths.

Jobseekers can now benefit from a resilience-building based program that will promote well-being and empower them to navigate the job search landscape and deal with the challenges of a new job.

ADAPTABLE Mentor Jonathan Bailey talks through some of the questions about the program, resilience and wellbeing below:

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing is the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy, and there are many factors that can contribute to increasing an individual’s wellbeing. The better our wellbeing is, the better our life experiences are.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It’s the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and the ability to move forward when there’s an opportunity to do so.

How do I build resilience?

Research has shown that wellbeing and resilience are closely linked. The better our wellbeing is, the higher our levels of resilience are. And the connection goes both ways whereby, the more resilient we are, the more likely we are to have better wellbeing.

Throughout the ADAPTABLE program, clients will take part in discussions and activities which help boost wellbeing and resilience. The activities are simple to do but have powerful affects. One example is the ‘three positive thoughts for every negative thought activity’. In this exercise we write down any negative thought that we may have experienced recently. Then we must write down three positive thoughts to help counter that thought or feeling.

According to research, for us to flourish, we should have at least three or more positive emotions to outweigh the experience of a negative emotion. This activity is a simple yet powerful exercise to help us succeed in this area.

Why is wellbeing and resilience important when looking for a job?

Life can throw many positive and negative challenges our way and looking for work is no exception. By looking after our wellbeing, increasing and maintaining our levels of resilience, we can ensure we’re in the best space, both physically and mentally, when searching for a job.

Can working be good for my health?

Absolutely yes! Research has found that being engaged in good and fulfilling work leads to improved self-esteem, mental health and reduces psychological distress. The right job can be great for our wellbeing.

If you have any questions about the program we haven’t answered here, give the team a call on 0459 860 928.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on the Reticular Activating System in the human brain and how we can use it to help up us accomplish our goals.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

It’s often said that the human brain is like a supercomputer, and just like a computer it has various systems and filters that can be used to our advantage when we know how they work.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

One such system is the Reticular Activating System. A bundle of nerves located at the base of our brain, our RAS works like a filter processing the sensory information that we are exposed to; from images, to words, colour and sound.  

The average person is exposed to more than 74 GB in information a day, therefore our RAS will support us by setting filters on the information we feed it – what we focus on, what we tell ourselves, the information we consume, the people we spend time with.

Sometimes though, mindlessly exposing ourselves to information without considering what is most important to us can result in the consumption of social media and other content filled with misinformation, doctored images and toxic messages. This can become detrimental to our wellbeing if we don’t create awareness around it and check in with how it aligns to our own beliefs and worldview.

Fortunately, our RAS can help us with this.

Imagine this.

If you struggling to get fit, write down what you need to do to get fit. Put that list somewhere that you will see it, write your main goal in big letters so that it stands out, read fitness blogs, get a personal trainer, create a vision board of things you want to achieve from being fit. Do whatever it takes to ensure that your RAS takes notice and supports you to reach your goal.

When we understand how our biology works, our RAS can be used to our advantage; the key is continual reinforcement, focus on what is important and consistency which can be achieved through the practice of positive mantras, vision boards and even visualisation.

Understanding the tools available within the human brain can be lifechanging, supporting us to focus on specific goals and take the necessary steps to achieve them.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on time and how spending it doesn't have to feel like a loss.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Noticed yourself or others talking about how quickly the year’s gone? If so, you’re not alone.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

In today’s fast-moving world, it feels like we’re losing time – we simply don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do the things we need to do.

These feelings of loss associated with how quickly time flies, are aligned to a scarcity mindset.

It’s easy to lose yourself in this state-of-mind amid the daily hustle of work and life. Without realising it, we start to articulate this as experiencing loss or lacking something. These thoughts can be insidious, and they can creep into other areas of our life.

Viewing ourselves, our situation, and opportunities that come our way through a scarcity lens, can seem like everything is a ‘win-lose’ situation.

But what if we turned this into a ‘win-win?’

For many, their waking hours are largely consumed by work, with precious little time available to check off things on the ‘to do’ list, much less engage in wellbeing activities like exercise or socialising.

So, is a lack of time the issue, or the feelings associated with how we do spend our time?

Everyone gets 24hrs a day, and a choice about how that time’s spent. Work, childcare responsibilities, volunteering, medical appointments and household duties dictate our time be spent in certain ways, but this isn’t necessarily a loss of time.

By using the phrase ‘I get to’ rather than ‘I have to’ flips the script on loss and instead immediately increases the value to something we want to invest our time into. 

Deliberately scheduling your time or imagining every minute has a dollar value, and therefore needs to be allocated well is another means to reduce this feeling of scarcity.

As is, including engaging activities that leave you feeling less busy and stressful, especially when feeling ‘stuck in the daily grind’.

What we want is to experience the feelings that come with these changes, and the shift in mindset from scarcity to a place filled with abundance.

With the 2022 influenza season quickly approaching, vaccinating now means greater protection throughout the season.

IMPACT Community Health Service provides flu vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program to eligible people for free.

In this article, IMPACT’s Child Health Nurse and Nurse Immuniser Pip Burton answers some of the key questions around the vaccine.

Are we expecting a bad flu season across the Discovery Coast?

There has been a reduced circulation of the influenza virus throughout the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This could be related to an increase in hand hygiene and mask wearing, and reduced social contact, along with border restrictions.

However, as Australia opens its international borders and there is greater population movement, influenza may start to re-emerge and circulate widely in the country.

Can I get my Covid-19 and flu vaccination at the same time?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised the influenza vaccines can be co-administered with COVID-19 vaccines on the same day.

Who is eligible under the National Immunisation Program for a free flu shot?

Influenza vaccines are provided free through the National Immunisation Program to the following people who have an increased risk of complications from influenza:

Who should get the vaccination?

It is important that all eligible groups are vaccinated against influenza.

Those who are medically at risk such as people with cardiac disease, lung disease, immune compromised, chronic illnesses can be at a higher risk of contracting the flu or having severe symptoms.

Queensland Health recommends all individuals aged 6 months and over be vaccinated.

Where can people get the flu shot if they are not eligible under NIP on the Discovery Coast?

With the recent State Government announcement, all Queenslanders will be offered a free flu vaccination as the state faces a severe outbreak of Influenza A.

The vaccines will be available free from GPs and pharmacies from now until the end of June.

We will be offering this service as well by appointment.

When is the best time to get vaccinated?

Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season. The best protection from vaccination occurs in the first three to four months following vaccination.

It is important to remember it generally takes from 10 days to two weeks for a vaccine to work.

How do I book at ICHS?

Those who qualify under the National Immunisation Program can phone 4902 2000 to book an appointment.

IMPACT Community Health Service (ICHS) operates out of IMPACT Community Health Precinct, located at 2 Rafting Ground Road Agnes Water. For more information about ICHS and the health support provided, visit here.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on self-awareness and the benefits of improving emotional literacy.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

‘How are you?’ -  It’s a question engrained in social greetings, but how often are do we check-in with ourselves? And how sincere is the response?

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Good, bad, happy, sad, angry, tired: these are responses that may roll off the tongue without too much reflection. But there’s believed to be 27 distinct emotional experiences and feelings aren’t isolated – they’re complex and intertwined.  

By expanding our emotional vocabulary, it can become easier identifying and describing what’s happening, how we feel and how to make a change, should we need to, ultimately improving our self-awareness.

The Feelings Wheel provides a great starting point for increasing emotional literacy. The Wheel demonstrates the broad language which can be used to capture human emotions beyond terms like happy, sad, bad, disgust, angry, surprised, and fearful.

It extends vocabulary from ‘bad’ to indifference, pressure, overwhelmed, or unfocused.

To effectively calm yourself down, or change your emotional state, it can be empowering to be aware of your current emotions and notice what is actually going on. This comes from a level of self-awareness which is not always instinctive.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take notice of what’s driving that feeling, you may realise you’re tired or busy and it’s only temporary, not forever.

For some people this is easy, they know how to self-regulate and refocus. But for those unfamiliar, keep a tool like the Feelings Wheel handy (Google to find free version online).

The Feelings Wheel will support you to bring awareness to the feeling and the confidence to be able to articulate what is going on for you in that moment. This insight, this pause to take notice and articulate how you’re feeling, creates space for growth, insight and the freedom to decide what to do next.

It’s also helpful when communicating with others; whether it’s with your partner when you feel frustrated or a work colleague if you’re under pressure.

Pausing, and taking a breath to increase your self-awareness in that moment can be awkward. But using this time to check in with ourselves before reacting can be life changing.

IMPACT Community Services Limited (IMPACT) is a high profile, community owned organisation supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our community. Since 1978, we have been supporting local people experiencing disadvantage, poverty and exclusion. Our vision is to improve lives. IMPACT is also a Child Safe Organisation committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. 

About the job

This is a casual job based at our materials recovery facility at University Drive, Bundaberg. Join our friendly team and:

We are a social enterprise employing workers with a disability to sort waste from Council's yellow top bins. We make a real difference to the environment and to the lives of our workers. 

Our offer to you 

This casual role provides:

About you

To enjoy this role, you need:

To find out more, view our Position Description at our Get Involved - Careers With Us page.

Position DescriptionDownload

Apply now by submitting your resume!

IMPACT welcomes all applications from Indigenous Australians, people with a lived experience of mental health concerns and recovery, a disability, those who identify as LGBTIQ and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

We believe that diversity in our workplace makes us stronger and we provide equal opportunity to all. Selection for all vacancies is made on the basis of merit. 

The successful applicant will be required to obtain background checks prior to employment, including an NDIS Worker Screening clearance and proof of up-to-date Covid-19 vaccinations.

Employer questions

Your application will include the following questions:

IMPACT Community Services Limited (IMPACT) is a high profile, community owned organisation supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our community. Since 1978, we have been supporting local people experiencing disadvantage, poverty and exclusion. Our vision is to improve lives. IMPACT is also a Child Safe Organisation committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

NEW iMAGE Laundry Services is a leading commercial laundry based in Bundaberg and serves the accommodation, hospitality, medical and allied health industries, together with a high quality linen hire service. Our business is undergoing a period of rapid growth and we have multiple casual roles available today. 

These roles have shifts that vary between 7 am - 4  pm Monday to Saturday. You may be required to work some public holidays. 

For the right person, we can also offer you more shifts to performing cleaning for our largest client.  

We are looking for a person who...

You will have...

What's in it for you?

To find out more, view our Position Description and full list of staff benefits at our Get Involved - Careers With Us page

Position DescriptionDownload

How to apply:

Submit your application today and provide your:

IMPACT welcomes all applications, including from Indigenous Australians, people with a lived experience of mental health concerns and recovery, a disability, those who identify as LGBTIQ and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

We believe that diversity makes us stronger and we provide equal opportunity to all. Selection for all vacancies is made on the basis of merit. 

The successful applicant will be required to obtain a Working with Children and an NDIS Worker Screening clearance prior to commencing, together with proof of up-to-date Covid-19 vaccinations.

Employer questions

Your application will include the following questions:

May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month – and at IMPACT Community Services support and prevention is something our Intensive Family Support team is dedicated to daily.

The IFS team provides support to families with children at risk of entering the Child Services system, families dealing with mental health and wellbeing matters, disability, child development, and issues with housing.

The majority of IFS clients have endured some form of Domestic and Family Violence, and someone who is on the frontline supporting the community is Family & Domestic Violence Specialist, case manager Sasha.

Sasha works with survivors, parents, children, perpetrators, police, and offers emotional support for people going through the court.

With experience working in this space in the United Kingdom, Sasha joined the IFS team in Bundaberg at the start of the year, bringing with her a wealth of expertise.

She said there were a lot of issues in the region and hopes more education about healthy relationships and boundaries could mean greater DFV prevention in the future.

Sasha said people need to be taught that hitting or abusing someone is not an appropriate way to get their point across.

She said people should also be aware of what stalking behaviour is.

As technology and social media creates a culture of sharing and accessibility, she said it can be difficult for some people to realise what stalking and controlling behaviour looks like.

When people are constantly sharing where they are, who they are with and what they are doing on social media, it may not be seen as controlling behaviour when a partner demands to know all this information; but it is.

Sasha said bullying and consent were two other major areas where education needed to be bolstered: understanding ‘no’, what is appropriate behaviour in a healthy relationship and personal boundaries are crucial to DFV prevention.

 She said she would like to see the Love Bites educational program introduced in schools.

For anyone experiencing DFV, the IFS team wants to hear from you. They offer numerous support options to help anyone who may be experiencing or has experienced DFV.

One of the means of support is a survivor’s group which IMPACT runs with Churches of Christ, which focuses on psychoeducation, the effects of DFV, how to move forward, and safety planning.

Sasha also holds one-on-one education sessions for individuals who may be parents with learning disabilities and children who are dealing with the fall out.

The IFS team’s support has been likened to helping you ride a bike. They put the training wheels on and teach you how to ride; they take the wheels off and stand alongside you, supporting you until you’re ready to go off on your own – and they will be there should you ever need to come back. 

To get in contact with IMPACT Community Services’ IFS team phone 4153 4233.

If you need help now – here are some useful hotlines:

Domestic Violence Services

DV Connect: 1800 811 811

Edon Place: 4153 6820

Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78

National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732 (1800 RESPECT).

How to report a DFV incident Visit Police Website, CLICK HERE or for all other domestic violence related matters, phone Policelink on 131 444, 24 hours, 7 days a week .

Family and child safety

Child Safety Central Queensland Regional Intake Service (business hours): 1300 703 762

Child Safety (after hours): 1800 177 135

Family and Child Connect (FACC) 13 32 64 to share your concerns for families in your community.

Parenting/mental health support

Parentline: 1300 30 1300

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

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