10 Strategies to Promote Pandemic Preservationby Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP on 07/29/20
It is a gift to supervise social workers on their clinical licensure journey, plus other licensed members of the workforce who seek professional consultation. Everyone I work with is on the front lines of health, behavioral health, and wholistic healthcare. All are committed to their organizations, but especially to the patients, clients, members, and consumers they so diligently serve.
Contributing to growth and development of the workforce brings with it countless reciprocal opportunities for learning. After all, we work in fluid times, amid an equally fluid industry. Knowledge comes from every interaction: theoretical, practical application, as well as reality. At the end of each day, I sit and reflect on all the powerful lessons learned from those I mentor. Those lessons would fill volumes. While my flock often share with me how much I inspire them, the truth is they individually and collectively provide me more inspiration that I could have ever imagined.
The recent lessons these talented clinicians have shared with me from their pandemic experiences have been especially significant. Every session has demonstrated their consummate professional resilience, commitment, and strength. Each dialogue has yielded ways to preserve their boundaries amid a concerning progression: from routine stress, to trauma, vicarious and shared trauma, collective trauma, and potentially PTSD. The workforce is dealing with unprecedented times, and developing the playbook as they go. Let's face it; health and behavioral health professional thrive control, and so much feels out of our control at this point in time.
To that end, let me share 10 mantras to help you tackle the rapidly emerging incidence of vicarious trauma, and promote your pandemic preservation.
1. Stay ahead of the curve and do a self-check each day: It is an occupational hazard to care for others, before and instead of ourselves.
2. Best intent should never be at the expense of our health, mental health, and well-being.
3. We can do anything for a limited period of time, but there’s always an end point: it should come before hitting the wall!
4. Stop, and take 10, whether 10 seconds, minutes, hours, or days. That strategy of Process and Roll, only works for so long.
5. Be good to you: don’t feel guilty about replenishing your energy through self-care, safe socializing, or another activity to ground you.
6. We were human beings long before becoming the professionals of today: give yourself permission to feel, hurt, and grieve.
7. Attend to our human condition to best care for the human condition of others.
8. Seeking mental health support does not reflect weakness, but strength to fortify for the future.
9. These remain unprecedented times: we must pause to promote pandemic preservation, for ourselves and our colleagues.
a. it’s OK to feel “off”
b. it’s OK to feel angry
c. It’s OK to feel sad
d. It’s OK to feel distant
e. It’s NOT OK to do NOTHING about it!
Here are resources to support you:
o CDC site for Stress and Coping: Detailed resource listing for providers/public
o PsychHub: COVID-19 Mental Health resources
o When Home Becomes the Workplace: Guidance for remote workforce
o SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.
o Support Group Central: virtual support groups
o National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
o Talkspace: Free online therapy for healthcare professionals
o The Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook: the Wellness Society
o The Sleep Foundation: Resources on sleep hygiene (e.g., insomnia, depression, anxiety)
Until next time.......Stay Safe, Sane, and Resilient
#healthcareheros #behavioralhealthheros wholistichealthheros #interprofessionalimpact #pandemicpreservation