Why Workplace Investigators Shouldn’t Ignore Self-Care
There are many things that can create stress for trauma-informed workplace investigators and HR professionals. They are often dealing with high-stakes situations like allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation that could cost one or more people their livelihood.
This can make the work emotionally taxing and can take a toll on the investigator’s well-being. This is why it’s important for workplace investigators to prioritize self-care. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of self-care for workplace investigators and provide tips on how to practice it effectively.
What is Self-Care?
We tend to immediately think of bubble baths and massages when we hear ‘self-care’ but self-care is more than that. It is any activity that an individual engages in to take care of their mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s a way to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Self-care activities can include exercise, spending time with loved ones, meditating, and yes, even taking a hot bath.
Why is Self-Care Important for Workplace Investigators in Canada?
As workplace investigators, we deal with high-stress situations on a regular basis. We’re often dealing with people who are emotional and upset, and we have to navigate complex situations to get to the truth. Vicarious trauma is the emotional toll that comes from hearing traumatic stories or witnessing traumatic events, and it can impact workplace investigators who deal with these situations regularly. Practicing self-care is crucial to our ability to perform our jobs effectively and maintain our well-being.
The impact of the job doesn’t just affect our ability to do our job, it can have a profound impact on our personal life as well. For example, the high levels of stress and anxiety associated with conducting investigations can leave us feeling irritable or anxious at home. Additionally, being unable to “switch off” from work can lead to difficulty sleeping or interfere with our ability to enjoy hobbies or relax. Over time, this can lead to emotional exhaustion and irritability, which can have a ripple effect on our personal relationships and overall well-being.
The Risks of Not Practicing Self-Care
If workplace investigators don’t prioritize self-care, they run the risk of experiencing burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It can cause feelings of cynicism, detachment, and lack of motivation. Burnout can also lead to physical health problems, such as insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues, to name a few.
When workplace investigators experience burnout, it can have negative consequences for their work. They may start to make mistakes or overlook important details. They may become irritable or short-tempered with colleagues and clients. Burnout can also lead to high turnover rates, which can be costly for organizations.
It Starts With Awareness
An important part of a workplace investigator’s trauma-informed practice is self-awareness and self-regulation, which are essential for effective self-care. You don’t want to wait until things start to affect your personal life, impact your health, or you find yourself in burnout. By monitoring and recognizing your own emotional responses to traumatic situations and learning to regulate your stress levels, you can maintain your well-being and prevent the negative effects of the job and vicarious trauma.
Tips for Practicing Self-Care as a Workplace Investigator in Canada
Now that we understand the importance of self-care for workplace investigators, let’s explore some tips for how to practice it effectively.
- Set Boundaries One of the most important things you can do to practice self-care is to set boundaries. It’s important to know when to say no and to make sure you’re not taking on too much. This may mean setting limits on the number of investigations you take on at one time or the number of hours you work each day.
- Take Breaks Taking breaks is another important self-care activity. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, taking a break can help you reset and refocus. Take a few minutes to go for a walk, do some stretching, or meditate. You’ll come back to your work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the task at hand.
- Practice Mindfulness Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the moment. It can be a helpful tool for workplace investigators who are dealing with stress and difficult emotions. Try incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine, such as taking a few minutes to focus on your breath or doing a body scan meditation.
- Engage in Physical Activity Engaging in physical activity is another important self-care activity. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall well-being. Exercising in nature or ‘green exercise’ has also been found to reduce anxiety and improve self-esteem so why not take advantage of Canada’s great outdoors? Inside or out, find an activity that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to make it a regular part of your routine.
- Enjoy Music and Art Creative activities such as listening to music, playing an instrument, or painting can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and promote relaxation. Music and art provide an outlet for self-expression and can you process your emotions in a healthy way. Additionally, creative activities can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can improve self-esteem and confidence.
- Connect with Others Connecting with others is an important aspect of self-care. Social support can help us cope with stress and provide a sense of belonging. Make time for friends and family, and consider joining a support group or professional organization to connect with other workplace investigators in Canada. One great way to meet other workplace investigators in Canada is by attending our live webinars and training programs.
- Practice Gratitude Practicing gratitude is another way to improve your well-being and reduce stress. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, whether it’s a supportive colleague, a delicious cup of coffee, or a beautiful sunset. This can help you shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones.
- Seek Support Finally, it’s important to seek support when you need it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, struggling with your mental health, or dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (which is so common during our long winters here in Canada) be sure to reach out to a therapist or mental health professional. There’s no shame in asking for help, and it can make a big difference in your overall well-being.
- Oh yeah, and have that bubble bath and massage!
Self-Care is not Selfish. It’s Essential for Workplace Investigators
Whether you’re an internal or external investigator, it’s essential that you prioritize self-care. The work we do can be emotionally taxing, and if we don’t prioritize our well-being, we run the risk of experiencing burnout. By setting boundaries, taking breaks, practicing mindfulness, engaging in physical activity, connecting with others, practicing gratitude, and seeking support, we can reduce our stress levels and improve our overall well-being. When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to do our jobs and provide a fair and thorough investigation for all parties involved.
Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.