The COVID pandemic has had tremendous negative impacts on all of society through economic disruption, social isolation and most significantly, health issues in various forms. One segment of our society has had to face extreme pressure and has worked under very difficult circumstances dealing with effects of the disease; those are our health workers, especially those in the front line. Amongst other things, they have had to work very long hours, deal with increased workloads, often in uncomfortable working conditions, endure their own isolation, deal with staff shortages created by their workmates contracting the disease, and often deal with emotionally confronting and distressing situations. It is not surprising that these challenges during the COVID pandemic resulted in many leaving their jobs or suffering from high levels of stress.
The plight of healthcare workers was recognised by members of the SSSIOA, and after thought as to what they could do to show their gratitude, a program was devised as a means of support by partly addressing some of the stress-related issues. The project called ‘Care for the Caring’, was created as a digital self-care platform on Instagram. This program uses a mindfulness approach and consists of positive affirmations that can be read or listened to as many times and as often as the subscribers wish. Each affirmation is contained in a short video with an audio recording of the affirmation accompanied by a still image that reflects the message as well. The project team consists of a retired counsellor, a psychiatrist, and an educational specialist. The project was piloted with a group of healthcare professionals and is now available to the public. Many have found these affirmations very beneficial.
The project has been running for the last two years in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to forward the link to their colleagues and friends who may benefit from the project by motivating, supporting, and helping them in their daily working lives. Whilst the program has been designed for healthcare workers, it is may be equally valid for many who work in stressful occupations.