Looking After Your ‘Whole Self’ As A Designated Safeguarding Lead Person
It’s quite usual these days for more vulnerable people to be invited to have a flu jab during the Autumn. It’s intended to hold off the worst symptoms of the year’s strain of the flu virus and to provide a level of immunity.
I have been thinking about how we do something similar for ourselves concerning looking after our emotional and mental health in safeguarding work.
On the one hand, it is essential that we are actively attuned to the children, young people and families that we work with, have empathy, perhaps what we would refer to as ‘professional love’.
On the other hand, we need to be well boundaried. We are people though, we have emotions and sometimes ‘our stuff’ is triggered in some way. Perhaps memories of abuse or neglect in our own families in the past, or a vaguely similar feeling to something that we can not quite place envelopes us. It can feel pretty scary in this shadowy space, perhaps alone; perhaps feeling incompetent or even wrong for feeling the way that we do. We are vulnerable.
Over this three or four-month period, from a few weeks before the mid-Winter break through until February/March, our emotional defences, or immunity can feel compromised in the same way that our physical immunity can. How can we ensure that we, as the Designated Safeguarding Lead Person or Team of Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads, are not just left to it?
Left to become trauma weary, or even start to grow a really tough emotional skin; so tough that we become hardened to the experiences of children, young people and families; immune to what they are telling or showing us.
Here are three suggestions for this potentially ‘vulnerable season’…
- Actively inquire with each other within your Designated Safeguarding Team, ask’ how are you ?’ Go as far as to tell your colleague that you would like them to give you a couple of tasks with the express intention of lightening the load. And don’t be easily fobbed off by that weary ‘I’m fine.’
- Make sure that your Designated Safeguarding Team members pass the baton between them; that they go home at a decent time and that if you are right in the midst of a complex piece of work with a child, their family and MASH that a Co-Worker takes over, or is along aside you
- That ‘healthy practices’ like talking with each other, expressing those emotions are validated. (Rather like eating more fruit, vegetables and taking vitamin supplements for physical health)
And remember that we are here to assist you.
We are receiving more inquiries regarding our Professional Reflective Supervision services, either for individual Designated Leads or as a Team exercise.
If you are thinking of growing your Team of Designated Safeguarding Lead and Deputies, we recently published all of our dates for the Spring and Summer terms.
Really take care of the whole of your self and thoroughly enjoy your mid-Winter break.