What to do (and not do) if you suspect or witness Domestic Violence

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Last week, IMPACT Community Services’ Managing Director Tanya O’Shea spoke at the launch of Zonta’s 16 Day of Activism to end Gender Based Violence. During and after the event, there were many questions around what people should and should not do as bystanders to domestic violence, and how to approach someone if you are concerned they may be living in a domestic violence situation.

IMPACT Community Services supports domestic violence victims and families living with domestic and family violence through our Intensive Family Support program. This article will offer practical guidance on what we can do as bystanders, as well as what not to do if you witness or suspect domestic violence.

We have all been touched by family and domestic violence in some way. Some of us have experienced and survived it ourselves. Many of us have known someone who is in a domestic violence situation, and we’ve all seen the news reports calling for changes after the death of yet another person at the hands of their partner or spouse.

It’s a sensitive topic, and if you know or suspect that someone is experiencing domestic violence, it can be hard to know what to do, what to say and how to best support them.

Tanya reminds us that as bystanders we have a choice.

“The choice is not to judge, condemn or question. The choice is not to think that social issues such as domestic violence don’t affect me, choosing not to watch stories on the news or listen to the radio or on your social media feed,” she said.

“Turning your heads, reading your phone, remaining in the comfort of your home telling yourself you shouldn’t get involved when you hear the screams next door. Falsely telling yourself those things only happen to other people.”

It’s important to preface the rest of this article by stating that at all times you must keep your own personal safety at the forefront of your actions.

The truth is, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to domestic violence, because every situation is different. Allowing yourself to be guided by the person who is surviving the abuse (if possible) will allow you – and them – to lower the level of risk.

Remember, domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse. It also includes emotional, financial, sexual, social, verbal, spiritual, elder and child abuse. For more information on the different types of abuse that fall into domestic and family violence, we suggest reading this article from Mission Australia, which offers definitions of each: https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/stories/safe-homes/types-of-domestic-violence-abuse

So what can we do?

IMPACT Community Services Bystander Program Coordinator Sasha Sloat said it’s vital to remember that your job is to empower and support. “It’s important not to take it personally if they are dismissive, rude or reject your offer to talk or help as they’re just trying to keep themselves safe,” she said. “Above all, offer to talk, but don’t judge – as soon as you judge them, whether it be for not leaving or something else, you are no longer a safe space.”

The Do’s:

The Don’ts:

Help available for domestic and family violence

Help is available if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence. It’s important to bear in mind that some services will require evidence in order to provide financial assistance. This could be a DVO or a support letter from a service such as IMPACT Community Services or Edon Place, or a letter from Children’s Services.

IMPACT Community Services supports victims and families living with domestic violence through their Intensive Family Support program. Ph 4153 4233

Edon Place provides specialist domestic and family violence support services in the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions, including counselling, perpetrator intervention, temporary crisis accommodation and a range of other support services. Ph 4153 6820

The Department of Housing can provide funding for those escaping domestic violence to start over with furniture and whitegoods or cover the cost of moving their items interstate.

Uniting Care offers Escaping Violence Payments of up to $5000 within 12 weeks of leaving a domestic violence situation. You will need to provide evidence to access this payment.

Energy providers are able to clear debt if you can provide evidence of domestic violence.

Bundaberg Police have a dedicated Vulnerable Persons Unit which supports families living with domestic violence where there has been continued Police intervention.

Keeping Women Safe in their Homes (KWSITH) helps women and their children who have experienced family and domestic violence to remain in their homes or a home of their choosing, when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Keeping Women Safe in their Homes | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au)

Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot provides financial assistance to people on temporary visas who may be experiencing family and domestic violence and financial hardship. Family and domestic violence financial assistance | Australian Red Cross Emergency Relief to provide one-off assistance to individuals with no or low income or those experiencing other life-changing events. This can include food, transport, clothing, budgeting assistance and utility assistance. Emergency Relief | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au)

National Debt Helpline provides over the phone Financial Counselling. The 1800 007 007 telephone service provides a single contact point for people to access financial counselling, either immediately on the phone, or via a referral to your closest Financial Counselling service. Welcome Page - National Debt Helpline (ndh.org.au)

Good Shepherd Australia and NZ provides loans up to $2000 for essential goods and services with no fees and no interest.

Victim Assist – provides financial assistance to victims of violence that happened in Queensland - 1300 546 587

NDIS – for people with a disability who are actively receiving support through NDIS, may be able to access a crisis payment, this should be discussed with the client’s support worker

Legal Aid Queensland - 1300 65 11 88

Women’s Legal Service – 1800 957 957, provides free legal and social work help with domestic violence, complex family law and sexual assault notes counselling privilege matters to women and people who live and identify as women in Queensland.

DVConnect Womensline – 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline – 1800 811 811

DVConnect Mensline – 9am until Midnight – 1800 600 636

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

Emergencies – Police/Ambulance/Fire – 000

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses gender based violence.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Imagine a world where women and children didn’t fear being hurt or killed in their own home.

There is no room in our society for gender-based violence, yet it can and does happen to people from all walks of life.

Tomorrow I will be speaking at the launch of Zonta Club’s 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence. This is timely given the announcement of the Australian Government’s National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032. It’s fantastic that all levels of government are now working together and committed to driving real change. It’s much needed.

We all have a role to play in ending violence against women and children in our community.

As bystanders, we have a choice to not judge, condemn or question. We can choose not to think that social issues such as domestic violence “don’t affect me”, choosing not to watch stories on the news or listen to the radio or on your social media feed. Turning your heads, reading your phone, remaining in the comfort of your home telling yourself you shouldn’t get involved when you hear the screams next door. Falsely telling yourself those things only happen to other people.

With the housing crisis and rapidly rising cost of living, our community is facing unprecedented pressure. As the pressure has risen, we have seen a steady increase in domestic violence.  We know that extra pressures can cause people to act differently to how they normally would. Remember, you can’t control the behaviour of others, but you can control what you do next.

No one starts their life wanting to be excluded, or homeless, or unemployed or a victim of domestic violence. No one wants to live a life filled with fear. Sometimes, women don’t always feel like they have an alternative choice. They don’t feel comfortable speaking up, they don’t feel like anyone will believe them, they don’t feel like anything will change even when they do speak up.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please reach out. We are here, we are listening, and we believe you. We have a team here to support you - you’re not alone.

At IMPACT Community Services we see firsthand the devastating effects of family and domestic violence. We support women and children who are living with domestic violence through our Family Support Program.

IMPACT Is part of a wonderful multi-agency team in Bundaberg that is building a tribe around the women, children and families who are coming into our care as a result of family violence. We walk beside them as they navigate a new beginning, and every day we see stories of hope, of change and brighter futures for women and their children.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can reach out for help to the following places:

IMPACT Community Services – 4153 4233
Edon Place - 4153 6820
DV Connect Womensline – 1800 811 811 (24 hours)
1800 RESPECT- 1800 737 732
National Domestic Violence Hotline- 1800 799 7233

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger always call Queensland Police on 000.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses inclusion at work, and how it is better for both wellbeing and business.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Most of us spend much of our daily life at work, so it’s not surprising that our job and the environment we work in has a strong influence on our overall health and wellbeing.

Whether we feel accepted, included, and safe can play a significant role in how we feel about where we work, and thereby how we feel about ourselves. Inclusivity is more important than ever, not just at work, but throughout our day-to-day lives. Being inclusive is about more than ticking the right boxes. Professionally, it means constantly working to foster a work environment where people feel respected, connected, that they can progress, and are contributing to the overall success of the company or organisation they work for.

I’m proud to share this week that Diversity Council Australia recognised IMPACT Community Services as one of 30 Inclusive Employers for 2022-23. As members of DCA we were assessed against several criteria and benchmarks, and learned areas where we excel in equality and diversity and areas where there is room to improve. We’re thrilled that in most areas, we are exceeding national benchmarks around employee satisfaction on inclusion and diversity.

As an organisation focused on improving lives, we are on a journey to greater understanding of what is means to be inclusive. Participating in the Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusive Employer Index allows us to identify areas where we can focus our energies.

 We know that there is still work to do. Everyone has a valuable contribution to make, and we will continue having conversations with our team around how we can improve as an organisation to continue to embrace diversity and be more inclusive.

Inclusion is so much more than just a buzz word or feel-good exercise – it’s good business and good for mental health and wellbeing. An inclusive culture fosters a happier work environment that fosters effectiveness, innovation, better customer service and higher employee satisfaction.

We are all responsible for being inclusive, so I encourage you to educate yourself about and be open to other people’s lived experiences. Consider the barriers you put in place between yourself and people you perceive to be different than you, then do the work required to challenge them and tear them down.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses making a difference in our community through social enterprise

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

How many businesses do you know that operate with the aim of supporting the community?

 Many have heard of the toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap. Last week I was lucky enough to hear their CEO and co-founder, Simon Griffiths, speak at an event where he spoke candidly about how he launched the company by live streaming from a toilet for 50 hours to pre-sell the first $50k of toilet rolls.

Simon and his co-founders, Jehan and Danny, started Who Gives a Crap in 2012 after learning that 2.4 billion people worldwide don’t have access to a toilet. They wanted to make a difference, so they committed to donating 50% of their profits to build toilets and have now donated almost $11 million!

We must ask ourselves how we can apply this to our own community. Every time we turn on the news, we’re bombarded with stories about homelessness, the rising cost of living and the impact on mental health. The opportunity for social enterprises to make real and tangible differences within our community has never been greater.

IMPACT ventured into social enterprise in 2001, partnering with Bundaberg Regional Council to provide jobs for 24 people with a disability, in addition to creating an environmental impact by reducing waste going to landfill. In 2014, we purchased a small 1.5 tonne a month laundry with a vision of providing jobs for people with disability or mental illness. In 2016, IMPACT accelerated the business building its own commercial laundry, New Image Laundry, which now has the capacity to process up to 80 tonne per month. It now employs over 25 people and has major contracts with The Friendlies Hospital and Blue Care.

Our vision of ‘Improving Lives’ is embedded into the DNA of our business and is directly focused on creating social, cultural and environmental impact. We see the change that can be created when people, particularly those who traditionally struggle to enter the workforce, are provided with an opportunity. Pathways to employment are created, workforce participation rates increase, and people become economically independent. Intergenerational welfare dependence patterns are disrupted.

Social enterprise equals good business.

Have an idea for a social enterprise? Currently, IMPACT Community Services is working with StartSomeGood to host Emerge, a program that will teach you how to transform your ideas into a ready to launch social enterprise.

Reach out if you would like to find out more.

Yvonne Spokes knows what it’s like to be lonely. That’s why two years ago she joined the Community Visitors Scheme run by IMPACT Community Services. Yvonne, who is also a member of a walking group, was looking for something more in her life when she first heard about the scheme, which connects volunteer visitors with elderly people in the community. Excited to ease the loneliness in someone else’s life, she immediately signed up and was paired with Barbara Wheeler, now aged 96.

The two hit it off immediately and have formed a very special bond. Through their weekly visits they have introduced their families to each other and support one another through the highs and lows of life.

Yvonne (right) has been visiting Barbara for 2 years through IMPACT's Community Visitors Scheme. The pair have formed a close friendship.

Barbara said she was surprised when asked if she’d like a visitor, but Yvonne’s visits have been life-changing.

“[I was] asked one day if I’d like a visitor, and I said yes please so Yvonne started to visit and we’ve become very close friends,” she said.

“She has made so much of a difference to my life. I used to talk about the things I didn’t like in my life, but Yvonne has taught me to stop doing that and to live in the moment. Now I live for each day. She’s like a light when she comes into the room, and I always get a hug!”

Interviewing the pair together, the special bond they have developed since joining the Community Visitor Scheme is clear. They both smiled as they reflected on their shyness the day they met, however they soon overcame this and formed a friendship like no other.

“After Yvonne came and we started to talk, it made me feel like I still have a place in the world,” Barbara said.

Yvonne says she looks forward to their weekly visits as much as Barbara does, and has found comfort in the strong connection the two have formed.

“For me, it’s like having my mother back again,” she said.

“We can say anything to each other… we’ve found that we’ve led very similar lives and we have a lot in common!”.

IMPACT's Genevieve, Sandy and Heather cutting the CVS
30 year celebration cake

This month, the Community Visitor Scheme is celebrating it’s 30 year anniversary. The program links visitors with older people who live at home and receive an aged care package or live in an aged care facility and aims to combat social isolation in the elderly. There are currently 125 volunteer visitors taking part in the program visiting people in Bundaberg, Childers, Gin Gin and North Burnett.

Program manager Heather Hinsbey said IMPACT welcomes volunteers aged 18 and over to join the program.

“If you have a little spare time, would like to make a new friend and change someone’s life for the better then we’d love to talk to you about joining our Community Volunteer Scheme,” Mrs Hinsbey said.

“We will partner you with an older person who is experiencing social isolation, so you can make regular visits either in their home or aged care facility. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in someone else’s life, and both the visitors and older people can benefit from each other’s life experiences and wisdom,” she said.

The Community Visitors Scheme provides a regular familiar face for an aged person to interact with, whether that be with a cuppa and a chat, board game, or even walk.

The program ask that volunteers visit a minimum of once a fortnight and spend time doing something you both enjoy.

For more information on the scheme, call Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233. You can read more about volunteering with the Community Visitors Scheme here.

Budding social entrepreneurs will have the chance to learn how to transform their ideas into a ready to launch social enterprise when IMPACT Community Services hosts the Emerge program this month.

IMPACT has partnered with StartSomeGood to Emerge. IMPACT will host the course in a face-to-face environment, allowing participants to benefit from learning alongside other likeminded people while building a local network and sense of community.

Program participants will learn how to take their idea for a social enterprise and develop a plan they can follow step by step to make their idea launch ready.

Social enterprises are organisations that apply commercial strategies to maximise improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being. IMPACT currently runs two social enterprises – New Image Laundry and our Material Recovery Facility.

IMPACT’s General Manager – Innovation, Nathan Spruce, said the program was a fantastic opportunity for budding socially conscious entrepreneurs to be part of a cohort of passionate founders who are on the same journey to design and launch a business that makes a difference within the community.

“IMPACT is excited to be partnering with Emerge to deliver this course, which will save participants time, money and frustration as they learn to organise their thoughts into a business model with thoughtful design for a product or service their customers will love, which generates profit and creates real change on the issues participants are seeking to impact,” Mr Spruce said.

He added: “The course is a fully subsidised program supported by the Social Enterprise Sector Development Grants, so there is no cost to those who take part.”

If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Spruce on 4153 4233.

Explore this opportunity via the StartSomeGood.com website: https://emerge.startsomegood.com/

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses boosting productivity with The Pomodoro Technique

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

How much more could you get done if you could give your full attention to what you were working on?

Distractions, social media, procrastination, excuses – all impediments that can quickly become problematic for the time poor. 

So how is it that some people have their ‘to do’ list firmly under control and remain calm in the face of a deadline while others consistently scramble to keep up?  

Research suggests that people who struggle with time management are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, sleep issues, stress, professional burnout and other mental health issues. In previous columns, I have also talked about how challenging multitasking is for our brains – we are much more productive when we focus energy and effort on just one thing. Finding techniques that support us to use our time more effectively is therefore as important for our health as it is for our productivity.

Cue ‘The Pomodoro Technique’ - the brainchild of businessman Francesco Cirillo. As a student, Cirillo found himself easily distracted so he set himself a challenge to increase the time he spent focused on study. Using a red kitchen timer in the shape of a pomodoro (tomato in English), Cirillo started at two minutes, incrementally increasing his focused time to one hour. After some trial and error, he found the sweet spot was 25 minutes followed by a 2-3 minute break.

The Pomodoro Technique is a useful way of reducing distractions and focusing on just one thing. Imagine deliberately pressing pause on social media, phone reminders, colleague interruptions and phone calls. I refer to this as ‘living the dream!’

The beauty of the technique is the only equipment needed is a timer and a way of keeping track of your ‘Pomodoro’s’ (or focused time)!

Interested in giving it a go?

Grab your timer and work through these six steps in order:

  1. Identify the task you would like to work on
  2. Predict how long the task will take to complete
  3. Set a timer for 25 minutes (think 1 Pomodoro)  
  4. Remove distractions eg turn off your phone, find a quiet space. Focus solely on the task for the duration of the Pomodoro (25 minutes)
  5. When the timer goes off, take a break for 2-3 minutes  
  6. For every 4 Pomodoro’s (think 4 times 25-minute blocks), allow a longer break (20-25 minutes) 

Play around with it. If 25 minutes is too much at first, start small and increase the time until you find your own sweet spot.   

In a world where there are more demands than ever on our time and attention, finding ways to do more in less time makes sense for our mental health and our overall wellbeing.

At just 24 years old, Ariah Goodluck is leading the way for young people to help combat social isolation and connect with society’s older generation.

The young electrician recently joined IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme, a friendship program that links volunteer visitors with people living in aged care facilities or who receive in-home care throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

Ariah’s enthusiasm is infectious, and several of her friends and family members are also planning to volunteer in the program, which aims to tackle social isolation in older people.

The television show Old People’s Home for Teenagers inspired Ariah to join the program, with the content hitting close to home as she regularly observes elderly family members losing friends and family and attending funerals.

While she hasn’t yet made her first visit, Ariah said she was looking forward to forging a new friendship and benefiting from the wisdom the older generation has to offer.

“I saw the difference [the friendships] made on the show and… it’d be nice to bring a bit of light to people,” she said.

Ariah is encouraging others to get involved in the Community Visitors Scheme, with friends, her mother and even her 93-year-old grandmother keen to join. Her grandmother, who is part of her inspiration for taking part in the scheme, is teaching her to play cards in preparation for her visits once she is matched with a participant.

Ariah said she feels it’s important to reduce loneliness in older people, and by taking part in the scheme she hopes to allow them to feel like they have family again.

“For the small amount of time you can give, you can make a big impact in someone’s life,” she said.

Scheme coordinator Heather Hinsbey said she would love to see more young people involved in the Community Visitors Scheme, as they have different skills and life experiences to bring to the table, including the ability to share knowledge of technology.

Heather said: “We ask that you visit a minimum of once a fortnight spending time doing something you both enjoy.”

“You might like to go for short walks outside, play card games, help to write letters or even just have a cuppa and a chat,” she said.

IMPACT’s Community Visitors Scheme celebrates 30 years this year and is a valuable community volunteering opportunity that has been improving the lives of our isolated older people. Volunteer opportunities are available in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin.

Interested in volunteering? Call Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses making a conscious effort to broaden your lens of society before judging others

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

A world of equality, where everybody has enough money and resources to feed themselves and their family, put a roof over their head and have money left over to cover clothes, education, and health expenses, is certainly a desired one; but far from reality.

In Australia 3.3 million people live below the poverty line – almost 14% of our population. While this isn’t an overnight fix, the judgement of people in certain situations can be.

Hearing stories from three incredibly resilient women recently, I noticed while their hardships and situations were different, they all mentioned feeling judged and isolated for deciding to work or not to work based on putting their family/children first.

These women didn’t ask for anyone’s help and they certainly didn’t need anyone’s judgement.

If you’ve read previous columns by me, you’ll remember the dot on the page exercise where you imagine a white page with a dot on it and reflect on what you see.

Did you focus solely on the dot? Did you consider the rest of the page and look at the big picture?

Some people make aspersions about others. They put people under the microscope like the dot; examining its colour, shape, size, position, wondering what’s wrong with it or what could change. We don’t always focus on the bigger picture – all the things going on in the white space. But it’s worth refocusing our view.

Personally, I applaud working mums, however juggling a career and children was easy for me. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by family I can lean for support if needed.

I’ve never been a single mum working four jobs to keep a roof over my children’s heads and food on the table; or stop working because my child required extra support; or eat toast for months to get the roof fixed. I do however know this happens all around us.

I also know that with less judgment and more compassion for the person we’ll stop fixating on the dot and find ways to better support these highly resilient and resourceful people. When we consider the space and people as whole individuals, whose stories have value, we start to connect with some of the real issues that people are experiencing in the world.   

Samantha Russell is a proud new mum who works at IMPACT’s New Image Laundry.

Sam is an integral part of the team and has made incredible progress both personally and professionally in the four years since she started work at the laundry.

“Early in my life I developed a panic disorder which was quite hard to deal with. It got so bad I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house,” Sam said.

“Looking back, I was in a really hard spot, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.”

New Image Laundry is one of IMPACT’s social enterprises, designed to help people maintain employment by providing a supported working environment.

Laundry manager Daniel Leary said when Sam first started she was quiet, unassuming and had been unemployed for an extended period of time.

“Now, she’s just blossoming,” he said.

“It’s just wonderful to see how Sam’s confidence has grown – both at work and as a Mum but it hasn’t been without its challenges.”

There was a stage where Sam had given up on the ability to work and drive because she was too anxious.

“I thought about how we could help Sam, so I connected her with some of IMPACT’s other programs – Mental Health and the Cooee Group.

“One of our Mental Health Support Workers Wendy Lindeman really took Sam under her wing and guided her through the difficult time.”

Sam said IMPACT and the laundry team were extremely supportive and assisted her to get the help she needed to get back on track.

“The laundry staff are like a second family to me,” she said.

“I know that I’m supported here and that it’s a safe environment that I can come to, even if I’m having a bad day.

“IMPACT has helped me learn new and different skills, develop coping mechanisms and work through my challenges.

“It’s been great to talk to other people who face similar struggles and learn about what they do to cope.”

Danny said Sam has improved immensely over the last few years and is now a Quality Control Supervisor, which plays an important role in the business.

“Sam is great at what she does and is pivotal in ensuring the laundry is maintaining its customer base,” he said.

“Without quality, we don’t have customers and without customers, we don’t have a business.

“Sam is always the one that steps up and helps without being asked, she just takes it on her own shoulders.

“When you look at where Sam was four years ago compared to now, it’s truly a great success.

“Down the track I can see Sam being a wonderful mentor for people working through similar challenges.

“I’m incredibly proud of Sam and am excited to see what the future has in store for her.”

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses fear and self-reflection.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

What are you afraid of? Heights, snakes, flying?

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

All of these fears are valid, and very common amongst us. But what about when it comes to your day-to-day life? Is fear holding you back from doing something you want to do? Perhaps it is related to a relationship, work, or study.

Fear, like all emotions, is the physical sensation that we experience when biochemical and electrical chain reactions occur within our body.

Yet here’s the thing.

Our brain can’t distinguish between what we imagine and what is real. Perhaps we hear a noise and start imagining someone is breaking into our home. Our brain starts producing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to prepare us to fight or run – it is part of our human wiring to keep us safe and survive dangerous situations.

But when fear becomes a driving force in decision-making where the stakes are considerably less life-threatening, we need to evaluate exactly what is causing our fear and why.

We need to determine whether what we fear is an immediate threat or a legacy of our past that we continue to carry with us. Maybe it is fear of rejection, failure, or judgement that is preventing us from making a change or pursuing an interest.

Often, we know what we should do, but fear paralyses us or holds us back.

We look for answers and confirmation everywhere but within. And it is why we are never truly satisfied, nor do we find peace in the opinions of others.

What is one thing that you would do today, if you knew that you couldn’t fail?

Time to get real.

What is holding you back from doing it?

Is it fear? If so, are you going to be in danger if you do it?

If not, you have given yourself a green light to get clear about what is driving that fear and how you start putting strategies in place to overcome it.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses self care plans and why we struggle to enact them.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

The human capacity for creating and upholding habits and routines is incredibly fascinating – and the adoption of positive wellbeing practices, and lack thereof, is no exception.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

For the most part, we know what’s good for our wellbeing, physical and mental health, or we know where to find out more information.

We know that we should be getting adequate sleep each night, eating healthy, drinking water, taking time for ourselves – and yet, more and more people are feeling tired, burnt out and stressed.

What is contributing to this rising mental health crisis people are facing and are self-care plans the answer? Or do they simply add to the stress?

People know what self-care’s important and yet seldom is it enacted or upheld.

10 years ago, amid a busy professional and personal life with two children, study for multiple degrees and board services, I found myself completely exhausted daily.

It took my GP telling me a stroke weas in my immediate future if I didn’t address the effect that stress, and pressure was having on my life – so I got to making a change.

With wellbeing a constant practice in my life, I’m exploring what motivates and disciplines others. 

What I’m most curious to know now is, why? Why are people struggling to maintain and implement a self-care plan in their life when it is designed to make daily life a little less stressful.

Do we have a proclivity for self-sabotage, do we feel time poor, do we feel selfish for prioritising ourselves?

This is an area I am eager to investigate in an upcoming project and I would appreciate your help, should you’d be inclined to share.

Questions will relate to what you know about self-care and whether you actively engage in maintaining your wellbeing.

This is not a criticism, but an exploration of local perspectives on mental health, self-care plans, the challenges of a self-care plan, and what more could be done to make a bigger difference in your life?

If you would like to contribute, please visit www.impact.org.au and complete the survey on our home page at Self-care and wellbeing survey - Impact Community Services.

Speaking to industry professionals and relevant organisations can make taking the leap into a new area of work all the more exciting!

And that’s exactly why IMPACT Community Services is hosting a meet and greet day from 10am-1pm on October 19, 2022 for people interested in working in the disability support sector.

At the event you will be able to meet employers, speak with current carers and meet community choir participants.

Local organisations Community Access Care, Care Right Associates and Community Lifestyle Support will be onsite and eager to discuss the industry with you.

There will also be a free sausage sizzle held throughout the morning!

For more information phone Michael Hayman on 4153 4233 or 0419 773 615.

At IMPACT Community Services we understand that for some people the process searching and securing a job can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone – the WORKFit team is here to help.

WORKFit’s ultimate goal is to provide you with the tools to independently develop your skills and improve your employability. This flexible program enables you to enter at any of the four stages, depending on your needs.

One of the stages is called JOBHelp. Mentor Andy Keen said the JOBHelp team could help with personal administration matters, including obtaining a tax file number, explaining superannuation, and advise you of any additional documentation which may be required.

He said WORKFit was designed to help people who may be long-term unemployed, recently left school or undecided about a career path, have transport issues, are pre-pension age, or experiencing mental or physical impairment which can make job searching and security challenging.

For Andy, it is not only important to try to line up interviews for clients which are available, but also those of interest to them. The focus is not essentially about getting ‘any’ job.

He said WORKFit also helped explain to people realistic expectations about the workplace and interview process, with specific coaching around the employer of choice.

Andy said this enabled people to be better informed and prepared when making decisions about potential job opportunities.

He said the WORKFit team wanted to see people succeed and aligning people with jobs in suitable industries was part of this process. The other was continuing to support clients once they’ve gained employment.

He said supporting clients in the workplace could include explaining workplace paperwork, policies, and procedures, communicating with your employer (with your permission), mentoring and coaching.

JOBHelp mentors can be a point of contact for clients in times of conflict, anxiety or being overwhelmed.

The WORKFit program has a holistic approach to helping someone become job-ready, which includes the resilience and wellbeing course ADAPTABLE.

The JOBGym aspect of this program is dedicated to identifying and learning skills with specific emphasis on teaching you “soft skills” such as customer service, conflict resolution, presentation and communication.

JOBScan uses digital algorithms to rate and review your resume against jobs you’re applying for, and with specialised help you can update your resume to increase your chances of gaining an interview.

By participating in JOBScan you will have 12 months access to this advanced technology as well as the personalised support by our Digital Coach to help guide you through the process.

WORKFit is a free program and available to job seekers regardless of which job network agency, support provider you are affiliated with.

The program is free and available to all job seekers regardless of which job network agency, support provider you are affiliated to.

For more information about the program or to contact the team visit WORKFit - Impact Community Services or phone  0459 860 928.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses what we consider work and the choices we make in life.  

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

What do you consider work in your daily life?

For years, there’s been important discussion regarding the inequity of unpaid work between genders, however continuing this conversation in today’s society seems redundant for a few reasons.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Firstly, much of the information and data implicitly relates to heteronormative couples (male/female) which is an outdated concept.

Secondly, conversations about unpaid work suggest household activities cause stress and injustice towards one’s own lifestyle.

Which is interesting in today’s challenging climate when people are struggling to find suitable housing and the cost of living is unmanageable for some.

Shouldn’t we just be grateful to have the opportunity to do unpaid work if we choose?

Perhaps for ‘unpaid’ labours of life we do get paid, it’s just in a different form of currency: pleasure, health, satisfaction or simply having our basic needs met. Maybe by reframing chores as choices we get to make about our life and how we spend our downtime, we can live a less stressful and more empowered and grateful existence.

When the mindset towards household chores, exercise, or personal responsibilities is considered a choice, it can have an invigorating and inspiring impact for you to be an active participant in your own life.

Sometimes things get added to the work ‘to do’ list because they’ve been traditionally considered unpaid work – but this truly depends on you.

I do over 35,000 steps on a weekend doing practical, unpaid activities that are different to my workday schedule, avoiding sitting in front of my computer or the television whenever possible. I enjoy exercising, cooking, walking the dogs, catching up with friends, attending an event and working in the garden, picking up leaves, repotting, harvesting the veggie garden and replanting it. For me, some of these activities are a form of meditation that help to ‘fill my cup’, rather than deplete it.  

Some may consider these unpaid activities as mundane. Personally, I am filled with gratitude that I have a home, a family and a garden that gives me a choice to do these things.

What activities are you grateful for that you don’t get paid to do?  

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