Post-COVID Trauma in the Workplace …Are We Ready?
In this issue: Post-COVID Trauma in the Workplace / How to Get Something Done When You’re Feeling Down / Stress and Decision-Making During the Pandemic / Hell Yeah! Or No! / Fun with Images / Wish Those Negative Thoughts Away
Why you’re getting this:
I'm Andrea J. Miller and this is my “The Wellthy Leader” Newsletter. I send this to people in my networks, people I’ve met recently, and friends I want to keep in touch with. You can unsubscribe (SEE THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE EMAIL) anytime, I won’t be offended
Post-COVID Trauma in the Workplace …Are We Ready?
Trauma and relatedly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be strange and difficult things to understand and experience. That’s partly because they don’t usually manifest immediately and their impact can vary greatly.
The first time I realized that I might have PTSD was a few weeks after the car hit me. I was crossing the street and suddenly I froze, as a feeling of terror overwhelmed me.
Since it was a busy New York City Street and I didn’t want to end up back in the hospital, I had a quick, somewhat urgent conversation with myself, and in what seemed like an eternity, made my way back to the safety of the sidewalk.
I share this because almost five years later that feeling hasn’t completely gone away. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this, it recently happened again, and it felt relevant to what so many people are going through.
While this sensation now occurs far less frequently and isn’t nearly as overwhelming, it still happens, and I have little control over why or when.
And though, I’ve had other experiences that were far more frightening in the moment, none have had such a lasting effect. In fact, I rarely think about them at all.
Yet, somehow, years later, I continue to experience fear from an event that I only really remember because of its after-effects and a copy of the police report.
Our Collective Trauma
It’s easy to dismiss the trauma so many people are currently feeling from COVID. They may, like me, feel uncomfortable discussing it and subsequently dismiss it or perhaps not even recognize it as trauma, thinking whatever it is will pass.
But trauma is far more subtle than we realize. While we generally associate it with a personally experienced and/or extremely stressful event, it’s not necessarily the event itself that triggers the reaction.
Sometimes it’s the “not knowing” when, how, or if it will happen again that prompts the recurrence of trauma.
I didn’t see the car coming, yet on a deeper level, every time I cross a street, I believe it might happen again. And so, periodically I relive that fear. That same fear of the unknown may also be impacting your staff.
It isn’t necessary that they had to have COVID to develop trauma, it could be triggered by the stress of thinking that they or a loved one might get it.
Trauma can also develop vicariously, from empathetically engaging with others who have been traumatized by the incident.
This significant shared emotional reaction to COVID, whether firsthand or vicarious, has led to a group or collective trauma because we’ve experienced this deeply emotional event together.
It’s not all bad news. Organizations that respond well to this trauma can develop a positive shared meaning around it, helping to better support their staff and potentially strengthening connection and culture.
It’s important to note that while a trauma can cause emotional and psychological distress it won’t necessarily lead to mental health issues. However, if it does become a concern then appropriate support needs to be provided, as it can cause significant and long-lasting symptoms that may impact the person’s ability to function.
No matter what the reaction, it’s vital that organizations acknowledge, discuss and validate what their staff is feeling.
If you or someone you know needs mental health services, it’s important to receive mental health services.
If you’re seeking further assistance, NAMI has put together this very comprehensive resource list.
Be well, stay safe and whatever you do, don’t forget to look both ways before you cross the street :)
RECOMMENDED LISTENS, READS, AND A FEW OTHER INTERESTING THINGS
How to Get Something Done When You’re Feeling Down: In this article in HBR, Alice Boyes explains how being productive can help interrupt that negative spiral when we’re feeling and turn it around
Stress and Decision-Making During the Pandemic: Interesting data from the APA. Post-pandemic decision-making fatigue is real. According to the survey, more than one-third said it has been more stressful to make day-to-day decisions (36%) and major life decisions (35%) compared with before the coronavirus pandemic.
The Solution to Overwhelm and Burnout, Hell Yeah or No! For every offer, you get in life make sure it’s a “Hell Yeah!” or else? Make it an automatic no. Neil Pasricha’s great take on Derek Siver’s principle of “Hell Yeah or No!”
And Finally, A Little Something on From the Lighter Side
Remove Your Image’s Background: Seemingly useless or just good fun… though I still haven’t figured out how I’ll use it, I just know I will, right?
Wish Those Negative Thoughts Away: I can’t believe I only just found this beautifully simple 60-second meditation site. If you haven’t been, it’s a minute well-spent.
Are there any other subjects you want me to cover? Hit “Reply” and tell me!
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