Media releases 2012

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Southern Cross welcomes media inquiries about any health related topics.

Please contact: Alistair Gray, Communications Adviser, Southern Cross Healthcare Group
Phone: 09 925 6420  Mobile: 021 375167


Response to Christchurch resilience workshop shows support needed as much as ever

Sunday, 16 September 2012 by Aimee Bourke

The huge response to a resilience workshop has reinforced the need for on-going support for Cantabrians.

 Over 400 people turned out at the Riccarton Park Function Centre on Thursday for a free three-hour workshop organised by Southern Cross Health Society and run by Christchurch workplace wellness provider Synergy Health for the city’s employees.

“What stood out for us was just how receptive participants were to the information provided. It reinforced that this type of support is needed as much as ever,” said Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Peter Tynan.

Southern Cross is New Zealand’s largest employer group health insurer and also has other health-related initiatives, such as corporate wellness programmes and Health Management Accounts. Over the last couple of years, resiliency training has become one of the most requested workshops offered by Southern Cross.

“Personal and health issues can have a big impact on a person’s work, so employers are increasingly recognising the importance of supporting their employees’ wellbeing. But it’s not just about improving productivity - businesses we work with genuinely care about and want to help their staff,” said Tynan.

Thursday’s workshop encompassed three sessions – Emotional Resilience, Sleep Smarter and Physical Wellbeing.

The Emotional Resilience workshop revealed that the earthquakes and subsequent disruption had placed a lot of pressure on relationships.

Brad Norris of Synergy Health said,” The focus of the session was on reducing emotional stress by ensuring personal and work life are aligned with an individual’s core values.It’s important to continually ensure the way we live, and what we do each day, match what’s truly important to us.”

What we should and shouldn’t be eating was a big topic of discussion for participants in the Physical Wellbeing session, which looked at ways to reduce stress through nutrition and exercise.

Said Norris, “There are so many contradictory messages out there when it comes to nutrition. Participants were really keen to find out from an expert what’s good for you and what’s not. They were particularly happy to hear a bit of red wine, chocolate and cheese are ok!”

Information on how to achieve better sleep was the topic of the third workshop.

“People think a good night’s rest starts when you hop into bed, but it’s how we prepare for bed that is really important,” said Norris.

Norris said the intention of providing a broad range of information was to enable individuals to take away information specific to their situation.

“Together by taking a few smaller steps, our hope is that participants will be able to improve their overall resilience.”

Tips for better sleep:

  • Set a regular bedtime.
  • Don’t engage in stressful activities immediately prior to going to bed.
  • Set aside 60-90 minutes prior to bedtime and dedicate this to winding down and relaxing. Try to engage only in activities you find relaxing, e.g. reading a book, watching TV etc.
  • Avoid the use of stimulants and sleep disruptors (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol) in the 3-6 hours prior to sleep.
  • Avoid bright light being emitted from laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Tips for physical and mental wellbeing:

  • Eat real food – meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts & seeds, fruits.
  • Forget fake foods – foods high in refined grains, added sugars and fats.
  • Indulge sensibly – a glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate, a small wedge of cheese.
  • ‘Be active like a tortoise, and exercise like a hare’ – easy activity like walking or hiking, or high-intensity exercise such as stair sprints - but mostly easy.
  • Get outside in a place you find relaxing.
  • Embrace the sun – sensibly without burning.
  • Play and have fun with friends or family. Random, spontaneous games add fun and laughter to your life and your fitness.