During these difficult times with so much injustice, illness, and death at our doorsteps; it is clear to see that compassion and understanding for others and for self go an exceptionally long way. While this is much easier said than done, we can turn to those who regularly practice this kind of behavior for inspiration. Many such examples of empathy, allyship, and active listening are found in our hotline volunteer community.
Staffing hotlines is no easy task, so the leaders of these organizations take significant pains to find, train, and support the volunteers who serve as the backbone of these critical community support groups. In addition to their strong interpersonal skills, successful hotline listeners embody patience, resilience, sensitivity, a calming presence during crises, and the ability to recognize situations that require help beyond what they can provide.
These every day helpers offer several actionable tactics that we can implement to better support others who are suffering while caring for ourselves in the process.
One way to provide such support is through active listening.
Nonjudgmental listening and compassionate concern can be very helpful. When appropriate, consider connecting someone to resources while making a personal note to follow up on how it went and what their action plan will be.
But wait there's more!
Don’t forget to care for yourself as well! Not as an afterthought but as part of your routine in caring for others. It can be hard to remember during times of intense suffering that reenergizing ourselves and maintaining a strong foundation of self-care is NOT selfish behavior. Instead, it is a key enabler of and driving force behind our own ability to be there for our loved ones and the greater community.
“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.”
As you’ve no doubt heard, mediation and breathwork are helpful methods to re-center yourself. Have you tried it? Are you looking for something else to try in addition? Here are over 150 physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social self-care activities to assist in caring for ourselves while we care for one another.
We’re here for you!