How to Support Front-Line Workers You Love
In these unprecedented times, people like health care providers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers and other front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19 are facing stresses that can seem overwhelming. If someone you love is one of these front-line workers, you may be wondering about the best way to help and support them. Here are a few suggestions.
Rely on “The Platinum Rule”
You’re probably familiar with the golden rule—“treat others the way you want to be treated.” However, that can backfire because we are all unique individuals with different needs. The platinum rule improves on this, saying “treat others how they want to be treated.” You are not a mind-reader, so it’s important to ask your loved one what they need and respect that, even if it wouldn’t be helpful to you for your own stress relief.
Offer practical assistance
Keeping up with all of the regular tasks of daily living, like cooking, chores and the like can feel burdensome to all of us right now, and especially to front-line workers who are trying to balance the daily stress of public-facing jobs with their personal obligations. How can you take some of the load at home off of your loved one? Perhaps you can take on laundry, grocery shopping, cooking or other chores.
Now is not the time to make assumptions about what your loved one is thinking and feeling, nor is it the time to think that they know what you mean if you’re not completely clear about it. Practice active listening, in which you reflect what you hear your loved one saying to see if you’re getting the right message and giving your loved one a chance to correct it if you’re not.
Help from a (social) distance
If your loved one lives outside of your household, you may feel even more limited in your ability to support them. However, there are still some things that you can do from afar. You can arrange to have groceries or other essential items delivered to their home. You can schedule weekly video chats to give them a chance to check in with someone outside of their home. Don’t let distance keep you from letting your loved one know that you’re still there for them.
–with yourself and your loved one: We are all human and going to make mistakes, especially when faced with a situation that we’ve never experienced before. Give yourself and your loved one some grace during this difficult time when you inevitably start to get irritated with each other. Give each other the space to work through whatever feelings might come up for you, and make a plan to re-connect when things have settled down a bit.
Ultimately, tough times can present a great opportunity to deepen meaningful relationships with your loved ones if you take advantage of them. When you give your loved one the support that they want now, you’ll reap the rewards of that investment for years to come.
Stay up-to-date with all COVID-19 resources and updates here: jfcspgh.org/coronavirus