Privileged glimpses 12: Don’t flap

This series of blog posts first appeared a few years ago on a now defunct blog called ‘Care Training’. It was inspired by the training maxim of ‘making the unconscious conscious’. It is intended to take what really ought to be the most basic principles of health and social care and put them down on paper. The series isn’t only an exercise in stating the obvious though whatever the title might suggest. It’s actually intended as a philosophical foundation manual for workers and informal carers to help them get their care ‘on track’ and then to keep it that way.

More haste – less speed.

There is a very real responsibility in social care work. The best workers are aware of that and strive to live up to it. They know that what they do matters and they take their work seriously.

Unfortunately though that sense of responsibility can become a problem in itself. The more seriously we take our duties the more likely we are to become stressed about them unless we also learn how to manage our own anxieties. Some of the most caring and compassionate people I know are also the ones most likely to turn into headless chickens the moment anything out of the ordinary happens.

The problem is that the more we flap the less effective we become. Our emotional over reaction is contagious too. If we lose our cool then our colleagues are more likely to do the same. Not only that, the people we care for are just as susceptible to displays of emotion themselves. Uncontrolled displays of anxiety from workers serve only to unsettle the environment even further. Instead of having one problem to deal with over anxious workers quickly find themselves stuck in the middle of a whirlpool of unrest and that just makes their work even more difficult. And they brought it upon themselves with their own lack of self control.

Perhaps more importantly it’s not fair on the people who rely upon us – the people in our care.

So the message here is simple. This ‘privileged glimpse’ really is bleedin’ obvious:

Don’t flap!

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