After the Webinar: Recipes for Resilience to Survive Corrections Fatigue. Q&A with Tira Hubbard

Webinar presenter Tira Hubbard answered a number of your questions after her webinar, The Changing Face of Probation: Recipes for Resilience to Survive Corrections Fatigue. Here are just a few of her responses.

 

Audience Question: How can you tell when you’re burnt out, or maybe it’s just a really bad day? 

Tira Hubbard: If you have more than one really bad day, you’re probably burnout, I think everybody has a bad day. We do work that’s hard, and you’re going to have bad days, I think when you need to start looking at burnout, as if you’re having a couple of bad days and then you notice that the next day it’s not a bad day yet, but you’re dreading it, and when you wake up, “I don’t want to go to work, I don’t want to do it,” or, you just have this like a pit in your stomach, and you kind of have this sense of dread or just everybody’s irritating you, and it’s lasting more than a few days. I think that’s when you need to start looking at am I approaching burnout or am I already burnout. So, expect a bad day here and there. Because we do work that’s going to result in  some bad days. But if there’s multiple of them, start sampling some ingredients, start gathering your ingredients, and getting ready, to make sure that, that doesn’t become a bad year, or a bad month, or a bad career.

 

Audience Question: What does SNACK stand for on the wheel? I’m trying to read it upside down there. It looks like an abbreviation. 

Tira Hubbard: Yeah, well, it should be actual snacks, but it does stand for something. And I’m drawing a blank on what that is. I apologize. So, Google it. It was a specific tidbit we used for ourselves, but I think you can also put just snacks on there. And in my duplication, we lost the K to the second row. So that’s a snack that ends in a K. So, like Hershey’s kisses. Krispy Kreme.

Host: Oh, my goodness, I love it. People just texted in SNACK stands for stop, notice, accept, be curious, and be kind.

Tira Hubbard: Thank you, all of you. That’s exactly what it stands for.

 

Audience Question: Are there certain resilience ingredients or tactics that work better for us early in our careers versus late in our careers? 

Tira Hubbard: Oh, that is such a good question, because, Gosh, golly, if I could go back and do things differently, I would. One is, I wouldn’t maintain more friends outside of the profession. I think that that is key from early on. People, we have this group of friends. And then you do this work long enough and you slowly drift away from folks who are not associated with this work. So, I think that would be key early on, is maintaining a really diverse group of friends that aren’t associated with the work you do. The second one would really be getting some mindfulness practices in place. Learning about how to keep your body and your brain connected earlier on in the career. Instead of waiting until the damage is done, and then trying to go back and rebuild those skills, doing those early on. Those would be probably the two biggest ones that I would say. Pull those in earlier in the career.

 

Audience Question: When you were talking about food back a couple of slides, you said something to do with eating lemon or eating something with lemon water. Can you explain that and explain, maybe, why, or expand on it? 

Tira Hubbard: So, on the handouts under the nutrition, there’s an article in there about some of the healthy eating also, and I think it was in Dr. Stephanie Conn’s book had talked about some of the different nutritional aspects. And so lemon water was one of those, that the way that it helps the toxins in the body or the processing. And please like, I am not a doctor. I’m not a cook, and I’m not a doctor when doctors telling me these things I’m like, and then there’s some research to back it up, I’m like, I’m all in, but I could not explain to you how the body works. But something about lemon water and eating or consuming lemons lemon juice following, and an acute trauma, has been shown to decrease some of the impacts of that. So, it was like dark chocolate, leafy greens, lemon water. There was a few others that, I think it was almonds, some specific nuts. So, just to do your own and with everybody’s dietary needs and issues, I’d say, do your research as to what works for you and what you can dietary handle. But I’d say check out the nutrition website that’s listed in the handouts and then also the first responder book by Stephanie Conn, because it gives a lot more options. But I couldn’t tell you exactly why it was lemon water. That’s above my pay grade.

 

Audience Question: Is it normal to get jaded early into the career when you realize the system just isn’t what you expected? So, if that’s the case you do you just learn to deal with it?

Tira Hubbard: I don’t think we should ever settle. Like, that’s my personal belief, is that if at any point you’re not happy, and you’re not happy for days, weeks, months, at a time. And you’re working in a system where your body is in conflict with the work that you’re doing, maybe start looking for something different. Because it kind of comes back to that circle of control. Is it something that you can control?  If it is, try to make the changes. If it’s something you can influence, can you influence the systems? Can you either change the way that you view the systems, or can you change some aspect of the systems? Can you influence it?  If you can, do, if it’s just something that’s going to pose constant concern, but it’s not within your circle of influence, or within your circle of control then, you might look at doing something different. And there is no shame in that there is zero shame and changing up professions, because ultimately, we can do this for 25 years. But if our body and our brain are in conflict with what we’re doing, 40, 50 hours a week, that’s going to take its toll on us personally. And we are the most important part about this work, it is taking care of ourselves and surviving this work. So, I’d say, look to see if it’s something you can influence, if it’s something you can control, or something you can influence. And if it’s not to, maybe look at doing something different, and to just not feel any shame in that, because it’s okay.

 

Audience Question: Any suggestion about how to handle feelings regarding having others portray your alleged burnout on the fact that if you disagree with the culture and office politics, maybe it’s time to go, but you don’t necessarily feel that way? 

Tira Hubbard: And I think this one might be one where I’d suggest the book Radical Candor, just because your ability to be able to communicate those feelings might be beneficial, right? Because it’s like, I shouldn’t feel this way, but I’m not miserable about it. Like, it’s not coming into my bones, like, there’s a lot of things I disagree with. Sometimes. that can be disagreeable. Sometimes, I have a different opinion. Sometimes I’m, like, “Hey, you showed me this research. I found this research that debates that research,” right? And it’s okay to just disagree with things. The thing is, is that when that disagreement starts making its way into your bones and it’s like having to operate outside of who you are and who feel comfortable being all the time. Because there are constant changes in this profession, right? We’re constantly changing one time or a little bit more this way. Another time, or this way. The legislation changes and a forum changes. And that’s just the reality. And so, we’re going to have opinions about that. Being able to communicate those opinions in a way that’s compassionate, but also will challenge might be something that’s helpful for you. Because I think being able to say to people like, “I appreciate that you’re caring about me.” Like because if they’re expressing like, “Hey, I think your burnt out” like I’m hoping that that’s coming from a compassionate place of concern. But not saying like, “You’re burnt out, you need to leave,” but instead saying like, “Hey, I notice you’re burnt out, like, what can we do for you?” or “I think you’re burnout.” And then being able to say, “No, I’m not, I just disagree with this.” And then being able to talk through that, to be able to make you feel comfortable about how you operate within something that you don’t feel comfortable with. Because if you just wait, it will change.

 

Audience Question: Can belonging to a marginalized population, the corrections profession, compound the impact of burnout, or cause burnout sooner? 

Tira Hubbard: I don’t know, like the medical or research answer to that, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say yes. And that’s just going to be based on my own experiences, as someone who’s been in this business long enough, that there weren’t very many women at the table when I joined. And so, a lot of times, I was having to represent my entire gender. So, whatever my opinion was, it was representation of everyone who was my gender. And that felt like a much heavier weight to carry. And I think that at times that made me more frustrated and crankier and certainly opened up that conduit for those traumas to make their way in. So that is just from my experience. I would say it, that’s how it was for me, when I was oftentimes the only one at the table, at times in my career. So, thank you for any of you who are bringing diversity to the table, because it’s really important. But I also know that sometimes that means that the rest of the folks at the table are looking to you saying, Well, is this true for everyone? Who’s like you in this way? And that feels like a lot of extra weight on your shoulders.

 

Audience Question: Isn’t it sometimes beneficial to have or maintain friends in the field? Because sometimes, they’re my therapy. This is a tough one, It can be a tough question. 

Tira Hubbard: Have friends in the field but also have friends not in the field. Like, that’s the thing that we fall into, is that oftentimes our friends that are not in the field start kind of like we have less things in common with them, or they don’t see the world through the same jaded lens we see it through. They don’t necessarily get the dark humor that’s developed. Right? And so sometimes it’s easier for those friendships to fall off. So, yes, have friends in that field. Absolutely. Because nobody gets it, like somebody that does it. The key is also having friends that are not the field of that picture, of my group of friends. one of my friends is a first responder, one of my close friends in the first responder, and so she gets it. She absolutely gets it. She’s in a different profession than I am. But we have had similar experiences. But two of my other close friends have nothing to do with the field, and so it’s like, it’s nice to have a blend, people that keep you grounded in the work, and people that keep you grounded in the world.

 

Audience Question: But now, let me, let me pose a different question. back to you here Tira because I I’ve also been cautioned as I came up to the ranks to be careful about the friends I do have within the company. Because of politics and what happens when you promote up? What are your thoughts there? Again, keeping balance in place. 

Tira Hubbard: I think the more you promote the lonelier it gets. So, when you’re a line officer, you have more options because you have all of your co-workers, and then as you kind of promote, there’s less, and then there’s less, and then there’s less. And so, it makes it harder to have those relationships. I think that it’s really important, when you’re in a position of leadership, you can keep friendship and work separate, right. You can be friends with people that you supervise, but oftentimes, it’s about the perspective. It’s about, how does that look to others? So, somebody who’s worked in the field has been in management whose spouse was a PO, and I was a manager. It was perspective really matters. And that can cause other people, some concern, even if you’re being completely compartmentalized and separate about those things. So, it’s not something that you can’t do. It’s just something that takes an extra toll on you because you have to be mindful of what the perspective of others is as well.

 

Click Here to Watch a Recording of The Changing Face of Probation: Recipes for Resilience to Survive Corrections Fatigue

 

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