We Were On A Boat: Self-Care in the Time of a Global Pandemic.

Fall River
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We Were On A Boat: Self-Care in the Time of a Global Pandemic.

  • By: Gretchen Dugan

The COVID-19 Pandemic can feel overwhelming.  Employees who have been classified as “essential” have been placed in situations where they not only have to work their regular assignment, but may have incurred additional hours, on top of caring for family, providing educational opportunities and support to children, and dealing with their own feelings all while in an ever-changing climate of new rules and mandates.  

It is normal for employees to feel stressed, overwhelmed, uncertain, or helpless in this strange and unique situation.  Physical responses such as headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, sleeplessness, as well as emotional responses such as anger, sadness, anxiety are to be expected.  

The Mayo-Clinic[1] has suggested a few tips to encourage self-care during this trying time:

  • Eat healthy and drink plenty of water.
  • Aim to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Take deep breaths and stretch often.
  • Avoid risky or destructive behaviors.
  • Spend time outside, but follow social distancing.
  • Focus on things you can control.
  • Be present and focus on things you may be grateful for.
  • Listen to music or read books.
  • Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and your community.  

Employees should be encouraged to practice self-care in whatever form is most beneficial to them, so long as they are being safe while doing so and not violating employment rules and regulations.  Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are available to most County, City or District employees and it is a great time to post reminders of these available benefits in common areas or mention it during staff meetings.    

Last week, PLPC had an opportunity to provide a team building experience to our staff.  We have all been feeling the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and took an opportunity to work outside of the office for a day.  Changing the work venue not only helped refresh our souls but gave an opportunity to reenergize our creative juices while incorporating safe, socially-distanced, exercise outside.  Bottom line, don’t be afraid to think outside the box to meet your employee needs.  Sometimes you just need a day on a boat to make the world seem right.  

[1] Mayo Clinic Health System, Self-Care tips during the COVID-19 pandemic, (April 7, 2020), Sarah Reichert, L.I.C.S.W, M.S.W.