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  • Melissa Sims

Staying Motivated in Challenging Times: A Guide for Home Visitors

In what seems like “the new norm,” our human experience is currently marked by economic uncertainties, global conflicts, equality issues, political strife, among many other challenges. Maintaining motivation can be a daunting task for some, and for home visitors, the challenge is even more pronounced as you navigate these issues while supporting others.

I first want to start by saying: YOU ARE DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD. Even though your contribution may seem small to you, every small grain of rice eventually fills a jar. If you are having a hard time staying focused and motivated, it’s ok. You are not alone. I spoke to this a few weeks ago, with the Circle of Influence. We can only control what we have in our smaller circle. I wanted to give you some strategies this week to stay motivated, with a focus on empathy, self-compassion, and practical tips to navigate these turbulent times.

The current global landscape is complex. The economy is affecting most of the population and most are feeling the squeeze of inflation. Financial worries can lead to significant stress. As a home visitor, you might feel this both personally and in the stories of those you assist. When you already have your own burdens, it can be hard to take on the burdens of others, even if only figuratively.

The conflicts in Gaza, Russia, China, and Ukraine, while geographically remote, can weigh heavily on our collective psyche, impacting our sense of global community and security. On top of that, we have my least favorite time of year: election season. Negativity in the current political climate can be draining. It’s challenging to stay motivated amidst a seemingly endless stream of divisive rhetoric.

In addition to the following strategies, I highly encourage you to educate yourself on these issues - not to further shine a light on the problems of the world, but to feel more confident in your understanding of them. We fear what we do not understand. Aim to understand, from all perspectives. Look up the history of these conflicts so you can better empathize with those affected by them. The world needs compassion right now, and you can do your part, albeit small.

You cannot be motivated if you aren’t mentally well. Check in with yourself. How is your empathy and self-compassion? These are basically your “emotional armor.” As a home visitor, your ability to empathize is your strength. It enables you to connect deeply with others. Practice active listening and validate the feelings of those you visit, but remember to set boundaries to protect your own emotional well-being. Remember: Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Recognize that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Practice mindfulness and remind yourself that it’s not only okay but necessary, to take breaks and recharge.

Here are some practical strategies for staying motivated:

Set Realistic Goals: Break down your tasks into small, achievable steps. Celebrate these small victories – they add up!

Seek Support: Never underestimate the power of a supportive network. Whether it’s colleagues, friends, or professional help, talking about your experiences can be incredibly cathartic. Be careful not to get into “venting mode” as that can actually make you feel worse. Express what you are going through and seek support from someone you know has the ability to lift you up.

Maintaining a Routine: Establishing a daily routine can provide a sense of control. Structure your day with clear boundaries between work and personal time.

Self-Care: Engage in activities that nourish both your body and mind. Whether it’s a hobby, exercise, or just quiet time, these moments are crucial for your well-being.

Stay Informed, Not Overwhelmed: Stay updated with current events but limit your exposure to news that you find distressing. Finding a balance is key to staying informed without becoming overwhelmed. Instead of watching someone else’s opinion on the news, do some research so you know the facts.

Turn Challenges into Opportunities: Each challenge carries the seed of growth. Reflect on past difficulties and how overcoming them has made you stronger and more resilient. Encourage your clients to do the same, helping them to see challenges as opportunities for personal growth.

Keep Things in Perspective: We are one small cog in a giant wheel. We can only control a limited number of things, so remind yourself of that. If you feel you need to help in some way, find a charity, volunteer your time, do something that makes you feel good despite what is going on outside of your circle.

Remember, you're not alone in feeling the weight of these challenging times. Your role as a home visitor is vital, and your well-being is equally important. Embrace empathy and self-compassion, and don’t hesitate to employ the strategies discussed here. Together, we can navigate these turbulent times with resilience and hope.

I invite you to share your strategies for staying motivated in the comments below. Your experiences and insights are invaluable. And if you're struggling, please reach out for support – we're all in this together.


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