As the City and the union move forward in developing a remote work pilot agreed upon in the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement, the Personal Service Unit of the DC 37 Health and Security Plan is already assisting members facing the stress associated with the post-pandemic workplace.
Social Workers at PSU are working with DC 37 members to provide emotional support and guidance on occupational stress.
Maria-Teresa Feliciano, Supervising Social Worker, and other PSU staff guide members through facing fears of returning to the workplace, where hundreds came down with illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since members have returned to the workplace, PSU has seen increased occupational stress, time and attendance issues, and interpersonal conflicts.
In an interview, Feliciano and Stephanie Kleinberg, Director of PSU, shared that “when assisting members in developing coping techniques, we work together on grounding and relaxation. Cognitive behavior therapy is beneficial in helping to reframe negative thoughts.”
Studies have shown that negative thinking and anticipatory anxiety impact one’s emotional state and interpersonal functioning; when one builds on the positive, the emphasis on the negative decreases.
Feliciano shared that PSU staff works with members to focus on positive aspects of their jobs, whether it is in their relationships with co-workers or the value of their work.
Some of the suggestions the Personal Service Unit offers regarding occupational stress include the following:
Take a break: Spend a few minutes decompressing during the busy workday. Everyone needs time to switch off from work and replenish. Schedule a vacation or an occasional long weekend.
Learn how to relax: Techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels.
Self-care: Do things just for you. Take time for yourself, and set boundaries between work and personal life.
Seek Help: Know when to get help. For example, speak with trusted colleagues, family members, or friends, or to a professional about the stress you are experiencing at work.
The Personal Service Unit is here to support you. To speak with a Licensed Social Worker for confidential tele-therapy, please call 212.815.1250 or 212.815.1260 between 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to be screened for counseling sessions.