While organisations are responsible for providing a safe workplace to enable workforce sustainability, there are also steps you can take to prioritise and protect your own health and wellbeing.
If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of stress, vicarious trauma or burnout, this is not a reflection on your professional capabilities. It’s a common response to working in the context of structural oppression and social injustice.
Tips for maintaining and managing wellbeing
- Be aware of and adhere to your workplace policies and procedures.
- Actively engage in regular supervision and collective reflective practice.
- Reach out to someone. This could be your manager, a trusted friend or colleague, a counsellor or another support person. You could also access your employee assistance program (EAP), if you have one. For after-hours support, the 1800RESPECT telephone and online counselling services are available 24 hours a day for professionals to discuss the personal impact of working with people who have experienced violence.
- Find a way to escape physically or mentally including rest, reading, days off, holidays, walks, seeing friends, having fun and doing things that make you laugh, playing with children and pets, and creative activities.
- Take your scheduled workday breaks and annual leave.
- Evaluate your workspace to ensure it is conducive to wellbeing.
- Be kind and supportive to your co-workers and celebrate achievements.
- Practice self-compassion. In bearing witness to stories of abuse and violence, it’s good to remember that an emotional response is also a human one. While it is important to maintain professional composure with your clients, emotional responses related to abuse and violence are natural and appropriate. Staying connected with how you feel and having self-compassion will help you to be resilient and sustain your work.