The following vignette illustrates a fictitious problem and event. Any likeness to people, services, or other circumstance is purely coincidental.
You are an Employment Specialist with a residential program and are enthusiastic about a potential job lead for one of the individuals receiving services. The job is an automotive technician at a local repair shop. The person’s skills are a bit rusty because he hasn’t worked in a while, but he has a certificate in automotive repair. He received this certificate several years ago and hasn’t really had a chance to use it because he hasn’t worked in a “real” job since 2002. Recently, he has been sporadically helping out a friend who fixes cars in the neighborhood. He really wants to work and this job lead you secured meets all of his criteria—close to his house, part-time with the potential to turn full-time, working independently, good pay, and vacation time. This would be the PERFECT job. One small problem, your supervisor insists that the person “cannot handle” the pressures of working. After discussing this perfect job lead during a weekly supervision meeting, you are told not to work with this person on anything employment related. If you were the Employment Specialist, what would you do? Please comment on how you would handle this situation.
As a practitioner it is important that we focus on our own physical wellness. Though work is exciting and brings a pay check it can also be stressful, challenging, and difficult to meet the changing demands of our funders and person served. Too often we neglect our own self-care in pursuit of serving others. The following are some suggestions that staff may consider personally and to share with individuals seeking employment:
Be sure to get enough sleep at night: Sleep is critical for being alert and attentive to support people in their employment efforts. Tending to our sleep hygiene give us energy to meet with employers, do job development and rapid job search.
Prepare healthy meals: Healthy meals can go along ways instead of catching fast food on the run. Bringing healthy lunches and snacks several days a week can remind us about taking needed lunch breaks to refresh the mind and body.
Relaxation and Stress Management: Planning weekly distressing activities outside of work whether its, yoga, walking, running, swimming, and or weights are important to balance job tasks and responsibilities. When I have not balanced physical health needs my work performance suffers, I’m easily frustrated, and I do not enjoy my work; unless, I am demonstrating self-care practices.
Role model: As I actively participate in self-care practices I feel much better about the good work I’m doing including meeting the demands of the people I serve and supervisor. Many of these self-care practices are important to share with the people we are helping to get a job. As a practitioner we are role modeling self-care practices to help people we support. An additional benefit is that we may also feel better about the work we are doing and feel physically well.
I welcome you to share the self-care practices you are using for your own physical wellness.