It’s Day 8/9 of being back to blogging and in yesterday morning’s work prayer meeting a wise organizational leader reminded us to keep calm and practice self-care. In social service/ministry, we often deal with trauma. And trauma is vicarious. It can transfer from those we serve onto us. If we’re not careful, it can infect us and make us physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually sick too. Keeping calm and practicing self-care is the key to preventing this in our work/ministry lives.
What I’ve found, however, is that those of us who are nurturers often find it a challenge to provide ourselves with the same level of care we generously lavish on others. This was evident in the meeting when those of us who were dealing with the death (a huge D or challenge!) of a young woman and mother kept voicing concern over how it impacted everyone else. But when the group circled up around the two of us who worked closely with her and knew her best –– both of us women –– the depth of our pent-up pain manifested itself in tears that once released refused to be staunched despite the box of tissue we wept through. So why were we selfish with ourselves about our need to grieve and weep? It’s only natural that the loss of someone we tried so hard to save is devastating. In fact, when Lazarus died before Jesus could arrive to save him, the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (NIV).
Becoming completely vested in someone else involves experiencing their triumphs and their tragedies. In that sense, exposure to trauma is an occupational hazard. But its vicarious effects can be mitigated by acknowledging the myriad emotions we experience through being a part of another human’s life when the outcome is not what we hoped it would be. Sometimes the work still results in a world of hurt. And when we’re hurting, it’s not only ok to give ourselves some TLC, it’s necessary because we can’t help others heal if we won’t do it for ourselves.
So if you’re anything like me and are at work on purpose to serve others –– on the home front or in the workplace –– and sometimes feel your world is spinning out of control, I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, keep calm and practice self-care.
Be savvy & chic,
Pink Collar Coach