On my run this morning, I started thinking about the aftermath of COVID-19 for healthcare, particularly clinics. Most clinics have had to furlough or lay off employees as mandates have limited services to only emergency surgeries and procedures.

As I have been coaching with practice administrators and physicians, some are planning for 10-12 hour days and Saturdays to catch up from the backlog of appointments, surgeries, and procedures. The handwriting on the wall suggests the aftermath could be more detrimental than the current state with regards to well-being.

One approach could be that since there has been some downtime in the schedules, we are all ready to kick work into high gear with all hands on deck. After all, this should only be for a season. In nature, seasons last three months. However, I see providers with appointments, surgeries, and procedures booked out for at least three months. If clinics are closed for one to three months, we can start doing the math and see how long this season might last, four to eight months. How sustainable is this long of a season without a chronic fight or flight response?

The fight or flight response resides in the sympathetic nervous system. The flight or flight response causes us to react in danger or when we need to respond quickly. This is a good thing when it is balanced. When we become chronically stressed the stress hormone, cortisol, can become too high causing other additional health problems.

How do you prepare to minimize the chronic fight or flight response? One, you can become mindful of the handwriting on the wall and verbalize the challenges that are ahead. Here are a few more strategies that might be helpful:

  • Schedule time off - working three twelve-hour shifts warrants a day off
  • Practice stress management
  • Breathe, breathe, breathe
  • Exercise (consult a physician before starting any exercise)
  • Nutritional food
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Meditation
  • Coloring
  • Walks in the park and nature
  • Having a practice of gratitude for family and friends and patients
  • Having a practice of appreciation for team members
  • Have daily team huddles to keep a pulse on the team
  • Approach negativity and defensiveness with curiosity - maybe someone needs a break and some grace
  • Check-in weekly with all staff members
  • Create a Zen Den (a place for people to catch their breath and be still)
  • A small space with dimmed lighting
  • Soothing music
  • Meditation cushions and comfy chairs
  • Consider a diffuser with grapefruit essential oil
  • Put your own “oxygen mask” on first - self-care
  • Monitor anxiety and depression and consider participating in formal mental health treatment

  • For now, everyone stay safe and stay mindful!

    Inspired hugs!

    What spurred the 22-month journey of becoming an International Coaching Foundation (ICF) credentialed coach? Frankly, it was the caliber of professionalism, confidence, core coaching competencies, and code of ethics that I had seen in coaching colleagues. About four years ago, I attended an ICF Arkansas-Oklahoma state chapter quarterly meeting and met people that had been coaching for years as a credentialed coach. There seemed to be a camaraderie among those coaches that I wanted. An additional desire was to be the best I could be for my clients.

    I had obtained my John C. Maxwell Leadership Coaching Certification and was gaining clients to help them develop their personal leadership and the leadership of their teams. However, the ICF credentialed coaching certification kept tugging at me. In March of 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the ICF approved Hudson Institute of Coaching Internal Coach Training Program. I thoroughly enjoyed the training by the faculty at Hudson and would highly recommend it to other coaches or talent development specialists who are interested in developing internal coach programs. The certification has allowed me to contract with organizations to be an internal/external coach.

    The core benefit of an internal coach program is to develop a coaching culture within the workplace. The mindset shifts from just managing people to coaching people towards their greater potential. Thirty-minute spot coaching meetings are used to identify goals and empower people to move towards the next level in their strengths or skill set and/or improve behaviors. The investment of the journey has been so worth it to see the transformation in others.

    The journey was completed with 125 hours of coaching, 10 hours of mentor coaching by an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and passing of the ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment. “Can’t stop the feeling” of accomplishment and betterment of being an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC)!