Help for staff!
Every month, we get numerous calls from agencies wishing to help the people they support to cope with the death of a friend or loved one. LIGHT volunteers are happy to help.
Too often, the requests we don't get are those to help staff cope with a loss. Frequently a staff person falls into the role of "being strong for the people we support", "not getting emotional in front of the people we support", etc. We've found over the years of our work with LIGHT that staff who have time and space to process their loss stay in their jobs longer and maintain a healthier, happier outlook than those who plod through to support others.
This month, we will focus on what staff can do to facilitate their own grieving. Please share this with your staff, and call on us if we can help!
Five tips for staff dealing with loss
1. Honor your own feelings. You are grieving as well as the person's house mates, friends and family. It's perfectly fine, and actually healthy, to cry and show emotion in front of the people you work with. (You may feel any of the "normal" feelings associated with death: sadness, fatigue, a "spacey" feeling, anger, or a sense of disbelief. It's all "normal" and OK.)
2. Avoid the superman/superwoman syndrome in the days and weeks following a death. It's common, especially in our society, to "put more on our plates" in order to redirect ourselves from sadness.
3. Remember that there is no time line for your response to death. Grief can sneak up on you days, weeks, months, even years later. Birthdays, holidays, or significant events can trigger memories (both pleasant and sad) of the person.
4. If you take care of your needs, you are better equipped to continue your work of caring for others. Let your supervisor know if you need more help processing your grief.
5. A group project is a great way to honor a person's memory and work toward healing. When the shock has lessened and you feel more energetic, consider planning a memory garden, a tree planting, or participation in an event that would have meant something to the person who died. These are all great ways to care for yourself and those you support while bonding over the building of something positive.
Can LIGHT be of service to you? Call (508)243-3111
Want to learn more about LIGHT?
Visit us at www.lightprogram.org
email a request for information to firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 428