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Self-care for Essential Workers


  • Everyone deserves to be cared for and we all have the power to be our own caregivers. Looking after your own safety is the priority
  • Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. It’s simply a tool that you can turn to when coping with stress, trauma or adversity
  • Talk about how you are feeling
  • Continue to access regular supervision, active debriefing and support from colleagues and managers.
  • Let go of what you can’t control.
  • If you have access to safety apparel and safety practices such as hand sanitiser then use it. If you haven’t then utilise the guidelines around this
  • If you feel unwell, don’t put your colleagues or families at risk. Stay isolated at home.

Clear direction from your organisation

  • Does your organisation have a clear plan or guidelines to support staff during this time? If you don’t know, find out
  • Understand the facts about COVID-19 so you can give families accurate information
  • Prioritise home visits and workload
  • Use other options for connecting with clients – phone, email, video calling, text message

Strategies for dealing with families who are under stress during COVID-19

  • Have an understanding of what the NZ govt is saying you can and can’t do during the lock down period
  • Expect there will be additional stress and anxiety
  • Workers don’t have to have all the answers, if you don’t know the answer its ok to say you don’t know
  • Workers can only do what they can. You can’t fix everything
  • Acknowledge that this won’t last forever
  • Strength based approach – discuss other times when things have been really tough and what strategies they used then to get through
  • If families refuse to engage don’t take it personally. Try exploring alternative ways of working with them. Don’t jump to the conclusion that families are purposely trying to avoid you. They may be scared or anxious. Know when to stop pushing families for engagement
  • If you are concerned about the wellbeing and safety of a child or children, consult with your manager, colleagues or other agencies in accordance with your organisation’s Child Protection Policy
  • You may also consider consulting Oranga Tamariki for advice, guidance or agencies you may be able to refer to. If you consider the situation to be an emergency, ring the police on 111

Child Matters continues to offer a full consultation service free of charge. You can access this by contacting our National Services Manager Megan West on 022 5477 505.