So I do this group for health professionals where we talk about self care and struggles at work. When I asked if their colleagues ever checked in on how things were going, they all said yes. However, their response was always “I’m fine.” All they can think about is getting home and drinking, or of jumping off a building - but “I’m fine”. “How are you doing?” and then being emotionally available for their colleagues.
The irony that they are not emotionally available for themselves was not lost on them. They will give emotionally for everyone but not for themselves.
We dreamed of creating work places that offer space and safety to let us say we’re not OK. Places where we are able to say “that was a really hard shift, can we talk about it?” Where no one is ridiculed for showing emotions or appearing vulnerable. Where as part of our regular feedback in training and from supervisors includes a review of our self care.
When I left the group, enjoying how well it went, I noticed a colleague pretending that he wasn’t crying. He has been having quite a bit going on at home with a sick parent and a jerky daughter. I asked if he was ok, and he said, automatically, I’m fine.
I tilted my head and said “Are you I’m fineing me?” (What is it about a head tilt that gets the truth out of people??)
“Do you want to talk about it?”
15 minutes later, he feels heard and safe, I’m not burdened. Certainly not as much as I would be if he needed to take time off in the future for stress/addiction/post MI. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
This is a culture we can create folks. Any other ways you can think of making it happen?