These times have been especially challenging for medical professionals, and as a community nurse, I’ve experienced that as well. I also have a Stabilizer Behavior Style preference, which means you’ll notice that I approach this pandemic in ways similar to other Stabilizers you may know in your life.
For us, our primary focus is relationships. We want to be sure our people are taken care of, appreciated, and supported, which is part of why the COVID-19 pandemic is so difficult. We have a strong driving need for harmony and, unsurprisingly, stability, which reflects the efforts we put into the world. We experience a lot of discomfort and deep anxiety with the situation “outside” changing so frequently.
While each Behavior Style reacts differently to a crisis like this, I want to share with you some insights into how Stabilizers manage the uncertainties.
Life as a Stabilizer During COVID-19
My initial response has been to reach out and connect with family, friends, and patients in ways that can offer support. What that looks like varies in each scenario, but it primarily includes checking in to see how people are doing (including listening without trying to solve anything immediately). I’ve found that when people feel “heard,” that act in and of itself creates a kind of trust that often leads to more conversation—and eventually, some emotional catharsis.
Trust is built in the quietest of ways.
I am a Stabilizer not only by profession as a community nurse but also down to my core as a person. This pandemic has made that clearer than ever before. I still follow my daily duties of traveling to multiple households to provide care to both pediatric and geriatric populations throughout the island of Oahu, ensuring that medical and emotional needs are being met. But before my workday starts, my role as a Stabilizer begins, trying to navigate how I can care for my family, friends, co-workers, grocery store clerks, and even strangers who I feel might need extra support during this time. There is a fierce layer of constant worry that colors my reality. It leaves me with a continuous need to do more for those within my orbit—in desperate attempts to try and make everyone else feel some security.
Putting the needs of others before my own is something I have always enjoyed, but lately I feel the constant pull to do more. I’ve checked in on family today already but which friends need help? I’ve reached out to friends, now what about my colleagues? What about the woman at the store I just interacted with? These are constant thoughts that never seem to settle because I feel I can always be serving someone else who may need it. I have learned that the smallest of gestures such as an email, text message, or five-minute phone call can make a person’s entire day—it is certainly worth the effort during these challenging times.
While Stabilizers—like all other people—have a limited ability to change the situation, they play a vital role in a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide the support that people desperately need right now in order to get through these hard-hitting circumstances. Offering assistance, a listening ear, or a (virtual) shoulder to cry on are oftentimes the most readily available things we can offer other people.
It creates a deep sense of togetherness knowing we are not alone during this crisis.
Some Tips to Help Stabilizers Better Navigate COVID-19
As I mentioned, one of the biggest struggles during this time, as a Stabilizer, is worrying about family, friends, and colleagues, wondering whether they are doing all right. It’s challenging not to be able to be there for them in person. In addition to a phone call or a text message, leaving something helpful on another person’s doorsteps (fully sanitized, of course!) can be a great way to channel a Stabilizer’s deeper needs. I may not be able to be physically present with my people, but during times like these, even small gestures can feel quite significant to others.
Here are a few general tips for my fellow Stabilizers hoping to better navigate COVID-19:
- To avoid points of conflict and disharmony, come to clear terms of agreement with your housemates or family members regarding etiquette and expectations. The transition to working from home (if that’s your situation) will shake up many common routines and household norms. Be sure to identify the changes and openly discuss how you want to modify household “rules” to suit the situation.
- Minimize risks as much as possible. Stabilizers are generally risk-averse, so anything that creates an additional safety net for you (in case things get worse) is going to be good.
- As much as we like to ensure others feel valued, we also have a strong need to feel appreciated. In the chaos of these changes, it can be easy for others to forget to express their gratitude toward you. There’s no shame in letting your housemates or loved ones know that gratitude and words of affirmation are one of your primary “love languages” (in case they don’t know already). These moments of appreciation can go a long way in uplifting a Stabilizer’s emotional state.
- Establish a place for refuge for yourself. Conflict and tensions will arise. When they do, you’re going to need some time to step away and process the situation before seeking to resolve it with the other people involved. This could be a quiet corner of the house or a walk around the block.
- Too much or too rapid a change can be shocking. Try to focus on the things that are stable. Remind yourself of the pleasant aspects of your life that have remained constant, whether it’s strong friendships or that beautiful view of the sunset you have from your living room window.
- Set up a regular time each week to have a video call with friends or family. Hold a virtual happy hour or play games together over the call. The routine connection should add some stability and emotional energy to your life.
- Use cognitive behavior skills to keep your personal security. How you think will affect how you feel and how you behave, and it is important to change the attitude of our thoughts. If you’re having a negative thought (i.e. “I might get COVID and get very sick.”), change it to a positive thought (i.e. “I will stay healthy by practicing good self-care and using universal sanitary precautions.”). Repeating positive affirmations daily will continue to ensure a good sense of security.
These are just a few things I’ve learned that help me to better thrive during our present crisis. You’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you personally. Fortunately, having awareness around one’s Behavior Style preferences makes it a lot easier to figure what those new habits and routines ought to be.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
Taylor is a registered nurse with a bachelor of nursing degree from the University of Newcastle, Australia in 2016. Taylor currently works as a home health nurse in Oahu, Hawai’i where she proudly serves the pediatric and elderly community island-wide.