Frontline Workers Resource Toolkit

Welcome to the NYS TINRC Frontline Workers Wellness Toolkit

This toolkit is interactive. It has resources for leaders that support organization wellness. Supervisors can access materials for teams. Individuals can use them for self-care. Regardless of your role in your organization, you can search and find resources. With these resources, you can make a wellness toolkit that fits your needs, or the needs of your employees.

Frontline workers do important jobs. Frontline worker’s jobs add to people’s health, safety, and well-being. They work in different areas like healthcare, grocery stores, firefighting, transportation, police, daycare, teaching, etc., any job where the staff have direct contact with the public. Their jobs are crucial for our communities and industries.

Frontline workers often face more risks to their safety. This is because of their roles. Some people in these jobs come from groups who face more challenges due to inequalities in society. Knowing that people at all levels are included as frontline workers is important.

What is Stress?

Every day, we deal with different things that can make us feel stressed. Meetings, project deadlines, and with people in difficult situations. When this happens, we need to pay attention to how we are feeling in our minds, spirits, bodies and emotions. If we do not, then these stressors can cause harm to bodies and make us sick in different ways. Over time, we can get very tired and overwhelmed. We can be getting burned out.

How are you feeling?

Are you tired and it does not go away even after a full night’s sleep? This could be stressed related.

Frontline Workers Resources Toolkit

Here are the definitions of some terms. They will help you understand the feelings you might be having. This will make it easier for you to give a name to those feelings.

Burnout

Burnout

Burnout comes when you spend too long ignoring your own needs. It is incremental sickening that builds from exhaustion upon exhaustion, overwhelm upon overwhelm. ~Katherine May “Enchantment”

Moral Injury

Moral Injury

Moral Injury is feeling bad inside. It's from doing something that does not fit with your values or what you know is right. It's like a deep hurt because you went against your own beliefs of right and wrong.

Secondary Traumatic Stress

Secondary Traumatic Stress

Secondary Traumatic Stress is when you start feeling symptoms like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This happens because you were exposed to someone else's trauma, even once. It can happen suddenly. You might keep thinking about what you heard. It will upset and bother you.

Empathy Fatigue

Empathy Fatigue

Empathy Fatigue is a deep tiredness in your body, emotions, and spirit. You might feel like you have nothing left to give. It's hard to care about others and stay fair. Your hope and optimism about your work might start to go down.

According to award winning community healer, Shawna Murray-Brown, “Healing is a collective journey. It takes a village to create a community that supports our best selves and helps us heal.”

What is Self-Care?

When we think of self-care, we are referring to individuals as well as organizations.

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Individually

Self-care is when we intentionally take care of our health. We can do it alone, with our co-workers or our employees. This care covers all aspects: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It helps us recover quickly from tough situations and keeps our lives in balance.
Organizationally

Organizationally

At work, self-care means leaders and employees make rules and practices to make the workplace a healthy and good place. Employees are encouraged to care for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This is true at work and outside of it. This helps create an environment where everyone looks out for each other. The leaders focus on making life better for all the employees.
Frontline Workers Resources Toolkit
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Where are you on this journey?

You may already have a self-care plan that is working great for you, and you are here for more tools that you can use. On the other hand, you may be here to get ideas on how to start and sustain a plan. In either case, you will be able to find what you need. Self-care can influence our lifestyles, but they’re not static. Self-care is ever-evolving and specific to each person.

Frontline Workers Resources Toolkit

Is Stress Bad?

Research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case.” announced psychologist Kelly McGonigal. She urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others. As bosses, reaching out to your employees can help you mitigate your stress while helping them with theirs. She also discussed how the research further shows that positively viewing your stress can help build resilience.

Listen to Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk: