Caring through the holidays — and every day

December 6, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

For many, December represents a time to celebrate. For others, the changing winter weather and upcoming new year serve as a time of transition.

Regardless of how they mark the season, for many Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, patients and families, the upcoming weeks can be filled with remembrance, review and anticipation.

To help you get through the month — and beyond — successfully, here are important thoughts from Michigan Medicine’s Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience.

You are partners in healing

Every day at Michigan Medicine, talented and compassionate faculty and staff demonstrate a commitment to the values of integrity, caring and collaboration by walking alongside patients and their families through both heartache and healing.

Extraordinary clinicians and staff offer comfort and demonstrate courage. They care for patients, even when it means spending time apart from their own family and friends. But employees also care for each other, marking the holidays in ways big and small, and by appreciating the valuable contributions of each member of a team.

But these actions aren’t contained to one season; rather, this is who Michigan Medicine is, all year long.

As a community, the organization honors the immense sacrifices and dedication of all Michigan Medicine faculty and staff who offer hope, excellence and caring throughout the year. Your work is recognized — and you matter.

Caring for others

In a season of giving, the most valuable gift can be that of time, attention and care. That means giving care to yourself and giving care to others. This may be as simple as a moment of pause or reflection that allows some recovery between demanding tasks.

At all times of the year, practicing compassion, gratitude and kindness can reinforce the privilege and importance of the work you do.

Express thanks and send an encouraging word to a colleague. Check in with your team and listen for what each person needs. Practice patience and gentleness in your interactions.

Caring for yourself

You care for yourselves and your relationships when you offer assistance, communicate with thoughtfulness and respect, or share a laugh.

The recent “Be Kind, Be Well” campaign is a reminder that expressing gratitude and reflecting on the good things in life can result in feeling more connected and valued.

Recognize the delights of expectations as well as the costs: reflect and prioritize and focus your energy on the activities that are most meaningful. Pause and remind yourself to be gentle if things don’t go according to plan.

More tools and resources to manage stress are available online.

Managing loss and grief

While the holiday season reminds many to spend quality time with loved ones, for others this can be a painful reminder of loss and grief.

If you are experiencing sadness, anger or loneliness, give yourself permission to treat yourself with compassion. It’s okay to feel sad and to express your feelings. Whether the grief is for a loved one or a patient, you may consider ways to honor their memory or to develop new traditions.

It’s also okay to take time for yourself. Ask for and accept help when needed. Seek additional support and comfort from family, friends, colleagues or mental health professionals.

When more care is needed

If you are worried about yourself or someone else, there are resources available to you as you meet the joys and challenges of the holiday season.

As always, the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience is available to serve the mental and emotional health needs of Michigan Medicine faculty and staff. It provides no-charge and confidential counseling, consultation and stress debriefing services to help faculty and staff develop strength and resilience in their personal and professional lives.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 734-763-5409 or email