The Compassion Fatigue Solutions Blog

The 1% Change Challenge

by Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

“Calling all champions” is a new column that has the very transparent and direct objective to stimulate conversations, get “shelved” projects started and to make your ideas happen. Basically, the intent is to get your fire started and to get your inner champion moving! The column will be presented every month with various themes. I hope to help stimulate you and bring out your healthy competitive side to make things happen!

folded laundry

Change can be a scary thing. Depending on the situation, it can create anxious feelings of “What will happen?”, “Will I know anyone”, “What if’”… Which is why most people prefer status quo. The “Let’s not change anything; let’s keep our old habits” attitude.

However, the reality is, not only is change good, but it’s unavoidable. A great example of positive change is that of reading a book. Let me explain. If I were to pick up a book at the library and stare at the cover for 3 weeks, that would be the equivalent of “the no change” attitude. But, as soon as I turn a page, that is change. Even if you are one of those readers that read the end part first to avoid surprises, it’s still a “change” attitude.

Granted, reading is a habit that most of us don’t consider a change, because it’s already a developed habit. What is the most difficult thing to do is change something that is opposite or different to what you are currently doing. I can name many, namely changing your: sleeping habits, eating habits, exercise habits, spending habits, and on, and on, and on.

When you think of it that way, it becomes easily overwhelming and will bring you back to the “let’s keep our old habits” attitude.

Which brings me to the 1% change. This isn’t a new concept. It’s merely thinking of what you wish to change or achieve, then taking small, non-threatening, steps to creating that change and thus, changing your habits.

I’ll give you an example: 4 years ago, I listed out what my day looked like (responsibilities, chores, work, family…) and I decided on ONE thing that bugged me most, then I applied the 1% change concept. Here’s what I did.

I chose folding laundry… it’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just… I HATE it. Hum… what could I do? That’s when I came up with a win-win situation idea! I have 2 kids. At the time, they were 8 and 5. Every Saturday morning they watch cartoons… AND when we go out, they would always ask me to buy them something… So I put them to work. While they watch their cartoons, they “fold” the laundry. And because they do this small chore, I give them $5 allowance per week.

Here is the win-win: I no longer fold laundry. I developed a healthy “let it go” attitude (because the folding technics of a 5 year old is cringe worthy-but I didn’t redo their work… now they are experts!). They are happy because they get a little spending money every week. And the bonus that I didn’t think about is now they learned about the value of money. They save up for larger items and they don’t bug me in the store anymore (because if they ask, can I have this, I reply: “Sure, do you have enough money?” Which makes them think twice about the said item, and most often than not, they choose to not purchase the article in question).

The 1% Change Challenge – What will you do this week?

So here is your challenge: think of what you would like to change, then take a small step towards achieving this.

Post your ideas and achievements to inspire others to do the same!

 

Le défi du changement à 1%

Par Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

« Appel aux champions » est une nouvelle série de blogues qui a l’objectif très simple et transparent de stimuler des conversations, de dépoussiérer vos projets et de donner vie à vos idées. Bref, l’intention est d’attiser votre enthousiasme et d’activer votre champion intérieur. Cette série présentera de nouveaux thèmes tous les mois. J’espère que cela va vous motiver et va faire ressortir votre petit côté compétitif afin de vous aider à faire bouger les choses.

folded laundry

Le changement peut être quelque chose d’effrayant. Selon la situation, cela peut créer des émotions de stress où on se demande : « Qu’est-ce qui va arriver? », « Est-ce que je vais connaître quelqu’un? », « Oui, mais »… C’est pourquoi la majorité des personnes préfèrent rester au statu quo. Autrement dit, l’attitude de : « Ne changeons rien et gardons nos vieilles habitudes ».

Cependant, la réalité est, non seulement le changement est quelque chose de positif, mais il est inévitable. Un parfait exemple de changement est celui de lire un livre. Je m’explique. Si je choisissais un livre à la bibliothèque et je regardais simplement la couverture pour 3 semaines, ce serait l’équivalent de l’attitude du « non-changement ». Mais aussitôt que vous tournez une page, c’est un changement. Même pour ces lecteurs qui se dépêchent de lire la fin de l’histoire pour ne pas avoir de surprises, c’est tout de même une attitude de changement.

C’est certain que lire n’est pas ce que la majorité d’entre nous considérerait comme étant un changement, car c’est déjà une habitude qui est bien établie. Ce qui est plus difficile est de faire quelque chose qui est opposé ou différent de ce que vous faites actuellement. Par exemple, changer vos habitudes de sommeil, d’exercices, d’alimentation, de dépenses, ainsi de suite.

Lorsqu’on pense au changement dans ces termes, on peut facilement devenir submergé à l’idée de faire quelque chose, ce qui vous ramène automatiquement à l’attitude : « Je préfère rester tel quel ».

Ce qui nous amène au changement à 1 %. Ce n’est pas un nouveau concept. C’est simplement de penser à ce qui vous aimeriez changer ou accomplir, puis de prendre un petit pas non menaçant, vers ce but, ce qui engendre un changement dans vos habitudes.

Je vous donne un exemple : il y a 4 ans, j’ai fait une liste de ce que je faisais en une journée typique (responsabilités, ménage, travail, famille, activités…) et j’ai choisi UNE chose qui m’irritait le plus, puis j’ai appliqué le concept du changement à 1 %. Voici ce que j’ai fait.

J’ai choisi le pliage du linge… ce n’est pas parce que c’est difficile, c’est juste… j’HAIS ça. Alors… qu’est-ce que je peux faire? C’est à ce moment que j’ai trouvé une idée gagnant-gagnant! J’ai 2 enfants. À l’époque, ils avaient 8 et 5 ans. Tous les samedis matin, ils écoutent les bandes dessinées… ET chaque fois que l’on sortait, ils me demandaient toujours de leur acheter quelque chose… Donc, je les ai mis au travail. Pendant qu’ils écoutent la télévision, ils « plient » le linge. Et parce qu’ils font cette petite tâche, je leur donne 5 $ d’argent de poche par semaine.

Voici pourquoi c’est une situation gagnante-gagnante : je ne plie plus le linge! J’ai aussi développé la capacité à lâcher-prise (car les talents d’un enfant de 5 ans à plier le linge vous font dresser le poil sur les bras… mais je n’ai jamais repris leur travail… et maintenant, ils sont des experts!). De plus, ils sont heureux, puisqu’ils reçoivent une allocation chaque semaine. Un bonus auquel je n’avais pas pensé est aussi survenu suite à ceci… ils ont appris quelle est la valeur de l’argent. Maintenant, ils épargnent leur argent pour s’acheter ce qu’ils veulent vraiment et ils ne me demandent plus de leur acheter des choses au magasin (parce que s’ils me le demandent, je réponds : « Pas de problème, as-tu assez d’argent? » Ce qui leur fait réfléchir un peu plus sur l’achat de l’article, et la plupart du temps, ils n’achètent pas l’article en question).

Le défi est lancé! Que ferez-vous cette semaine?

Donc, voici votre défi: pensez à ce que vous aimeriez changer, puis prenez un petit pas vers sa réalisation.

Veuillez poster vos idées et vos exploits afin d’en inspirer d’autres à faire de même!

 

Thank a helping professional today

“Listening can be an act of social justice” beautiful, inspiring, a call to action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I1mFSoTF1A&app=desktop

New series: Calling all Champions! Appel aux champions!

champions team

Starting today, our wonderful associate Alexandra Fortier will be authoring a new monthly column in French and English.

“Calling all champions” is a new column that has the very transparent and direct objective to stimulate conversations, get your “back of the shelf” projects started and to make your ideas happen. Basically, the intent is to get your fire started and to get your inner champion moving!

The column will be published on the 15th of every month with various themes. I hope to help stimulate you and bring out your healthy competitive side to make things happen!

Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

19d71ff

« Appel aux champions » est une nouvelle série de blogues qui a l’objectif très simple et transparent de stimuler des conversations, de dépoussiérer vos projets et de donner vie à vos idées. Bref, l’intention est d’attiser votre enthousiasme et d’activer votre champion intérieur.

Cette série présentera de nouveaux thèmes tous les mois. J’espère que cela va vous motiver et va faire ressortir votre petit côté compétitif afin de vous aider à faire bouger les choses.

Alexandra Fortier, MSS, RSW

How long will you live? The link between Poverty and Health

Does it make sense to prescribe diaper cream to a baby with a chronic rash, when the real cause of the problem is that his mother can’t afford to buy diapers and change him regularly?

This is a fascinating show on the connection between poverty, health and life expectancy on CBC’s “Project Money”.  It features Dr Gary Bloch, a family doctor with St. Michael’s  Hospital in Toronto who is also the chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Committee on Poverty and Health.

Click here for the podcast

Dr Bloch is also the author of a March 20, 2013 Globe and Mail article entitled: “As a doctor, here’s why I’m prescribing tax returns. Seriously”

In this piece, Dr Bloch writes: “The link between health and income is solid and consistent – almost every major health condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness, occurs more often and has worse outcomes among people who live at lower income. As people improve their income, their health improves. It follows that improving my patients’ income should improve their health.”

This is an important discussion that we all need to be part of. It also suggests that front line workers, physicians, nurses, social workers etc. should always ask about a patient’s financial situation and become more aware of the resources available in the community.

Dr Bloch also believes in advocating for larger scale societal changes: ”As doctors we need to, and we can, prescribe income while advocating for real, effective policies to combat poverty.”

How refreshing and inspiring!

Book Review: Bringing it Home

9780771080005

Tilda Shalof is a Toronto-based ICU nurse who combines critical care nursing with a very successful writing career. Shalof has authored more than five books, including the best-seller A Nurse’s Story.  All of her books explore an aspect of nursing, from critical care to camp nursing to being a cardiac patient herself. I have often found myself devouring her latest work in a single sitting as her writing is conversational and very engaging.

In her most recent work, Bringing it Home – A Nurse discovers health care beyond the hospital, Shalof was commissioned by the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) to take a tour of some of the home care services they provide across the country. This fascinating and sometimes poignant road diary left me in awe of these invisible and unsung nurses who work with the most neglected members of society. Shalof herself begins the book by candidly confessing that at first, she lacked enthusiasm for this assignment and had to be convinced to take it on. I mean, let’s be honest, for an ICU nurse, home care nursing is not high up on the list of sexiest jobs! But over time, Shalof’s eyes are opened and she concludes her road trip with a new appreciation for the crucial role these nurses play in supporting all of us, at one point in our lives.

Shalof contrast what she sees daily in hospitals to what she witnessed in home care:

There are so many things that still make no sense to me in the hospital. like the waste we create and the excessive use of technology; the restricted visiting hours and the no-pet policy. The fact that patients aren’t invited to participate in team rounds about their own care. Why aren’t people allowed – no, encouraged, to read their own charts? [...] Why are there nurses and doctors who don’t talk kindly – or at times even courteously – to patients, or who can’t find it in themselves to sit down and simply listen to what the patient has to say? [...] Why is there so much waiting in hospitals, and if you do have to wait, why can’t someone come out and tell you why and how much longer you’ll still have to wait, and maybe even do it with a smile? [...] in all of my travels outside the hospital, in all of my visits to homes, clinics, community centres, I saw patient care that was governed by logic, fairness and common sense, administered with kindness and goodwill – not to mention fiscal responsibility and restraint. More please.

This book presents a stark account of the realities of ageing for some many patients who do not have money, or family to care for them. It also highlights a whole host of skills and duties that most of us would not associate with VON: street outreach, pregnancy support, drug and alcohol support and many other invisible acts of kindness and assistance.

Kudos to Tilda Shalof for showing us the beautiful side of these talented, compassionate nurses.

 

Great resource! Self-Care Starter Kit

how to flourish in social work

The University at Buffalo School of Social Work has developed an excellent self-care starter kit aimed at social work students and other professionals. They have an extensive bibliography, readings, checklists and other resources. They also have a great infographic called “How To Flourish in Social Work” which you can view here.

It’s very exciting to see such good quality resources emerging from the trenches. If you are an educator, preceptor or supervisor, please share this resource with your folks. This is a great tool for all helping professionals.

 

Fall 2014 Workshop for Managers: Guide to Stress, Burnout and Trauma in the Workplace

Growing Volume of Work…More Complex Cases…

Shrinking Budgets…Overwhelmed and Stressed-Out Staff…

What can you do, as a manager?

overworked businessman

Develop strategies to address STRESS and TRAUMA in your workforce

Join us for 2 days of hands-on, concrete tools for Managers working in High Stress, Trauma-Exposed settings 

An intensive 2-day program with Dr Patricia Fisher, R.Psych., L.Psych. Canada’s leading expert in trauma-exposed environments.

September 23-24, 2014

9:00am-4:30pm (registration 8:30am)

Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, Ontario.

**Spaces limited to 25 participants – register early**

Click here for more information

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Click here to download Flyer

 

Brought to you by Compassion Fatigue Solutions

Summertime reads, recipe and an invitation to stay in touch

watermelon

Here’s a quick post for you today with three items: new reads, a recipe and an invitation…

It’s finally summer!  This is hopefully a time for you to slow down a bit, enjoy the beautiful weather, have a picnic, maybe go to a local market or outdoor music festival on your day off.

June was a very busy time for me, starting with the wonderful Care4You conference (photos will be posted next week!), a work trip the Florida Panhandle,  and a trek to England to visit family and friends.

Needless to say that by July 1st, I felt the need for a little r&r after all of this excitement.

Whenever I finish a hectic time and need to refuel, I try to go back to the basics: get more sleep, eat more greens and less carbs, ditch the caffeine and get more exercise. Those simple things help keep me grounded, and when I go too long without them I start feeling tired, unwell and irritable. So I went back to read my favourite healthy eating blogs and spent a bit more time in the kitchen juicing and making homemade meals. I came across this weird and wonderful gluten-free bread recipe that I will share with you below. There are also some newly published compassion fatigue articles to recommend, for your time in the hammock!

1) New Reads on Compassion Fatigue

I just had two new articles published and a book chapter which I co-wrote with my colleague Leslie McLean from Capital Health Cancer Care, in Halifax.

For Family Caregivers: When the Juggling Act Isn’t Working: 5 Key Strategies to Reduce Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. Click here

For nurses: Occupational Hazards: Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma and Burnout. Click here.

New Book Chapter: Managing Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Moral Distress in Person and Family Centered Care Click here

 

2) Healthy Eating, Cool Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I am a big fan of healthy eating and enjoy reading food blogs for pleasure. My two current favourites are Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw, a New York nutritionist, and My New Roots, a beautiful whole food blog by Sarah B. a Canadian who now lives in Denmark but recently spent 6 weeks in Bali (yes, I know, tough). What I like about these bloggers is that they propose easy, fresh recipes without dogma.

Sarah B. posted a crazy-sounding gluten-free bread recipe last year, called “The Life Changing Loaf of Bread” which may seem like a rather bold statement. I was intrigued, but did not have time to gather the ingredients to try it out until yesterday. Well, what a success! This produces a very dense, toastable seed bread. Not suitable for sandwiches but perfect for toasting. Fantastic! Click here for a the link to the recipe.

3)  Join the anti-spam brigade, and make sure you stay on our mailing list!

Finally, an important note to any of you on my mailing list. If you are a Canadian reader, you will likely have been deluged by emails lately from all sorts of businesses asking you to confirm that you wish to continue receiving their emails. A new anti-spam legislation became effective july 1st, 2014 and if you do not confirm your desire to receive emails from us, we will have to remove you to comply with the regulation. So please take a minute to click on the “confirm” button in the email we sent you recently.  Thanks!

Now, I’m going to go watch some tennis and World cup soccer and drink some romaine, cucumber fennel juice. (It sounds weird but it tastes great.)

Here’s wishing you a lovely summer!

New Book Chapter – Managing Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Moral Distress

Person and Family Centered Care

Hot off the press! Leslie McLean and I have a chapter in the newly released book Person and Family Centered Care by University of Pennsylvania’s Dr Jane Barnsteiner and colleagues. Here are some comments from reviewers:

Written by top thought leaders in nursing today, Person and Family-Centered Care offers a new approach that emphasizes the person as partner, embraces the family, and encompasses all care delivery locations. At the forefront of this movement are authors Jane Barnsteiner, Joanne Disch, and Mary K. Walton, who present a surprisingly practical clinical reference covering a vast array of patient-care scenarios, together with effective strategies for achieving optimal outcomes. This ground breaking text is a complete resource that ensures the needs of patients, families, and caregivers are met. Published by Sigma Theta Tau International.

 

Full reference: Mathieu, F., & McLean, L., (2014) Managing Compassion Fatigue, Moral Distress and Burnout in a context of patient-centered care in Walton, M., Barnsteiner, J., & Disch, J. (eds) Patient/Family Centered Care – Patient and Care Provider Considerations, Sigma Theta Tau International.