Mercy Connections Partnership Explores Strength-Based Strategies 

Ready or not, Vermont is re-opening. The Governor’s “Vermont Forward” plan to restart the state’s economy sets the timeline. Businesses are re-opening, gatherings are getting larger, travel restrictions are easing up, and masks are coming off. At the same time, work-search requirements for unemployment insurance are changing. People are hiring, and demand for labor is rising, at least in some business areas. Employers are bringing their employees back to the workplace. 

Workers facing the prospect of getting back into the workforce or returning to their pre-Covid workplace may face a range of emotions. We may be elated to return to some level of “normalcy” or re-engage with coworkers. If we’ve been out of work, maybe we feel a little rusty. Maybe we’ve taken the “Covid Pivot” and are facing a whole new set of circumstances. Or we may be anxious or fearful for our continuing safety and those of our family. 

How do we bring our best selves to the job in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and the uncertainties it brings?

A ‘Post-Covid Confidence Builder’ for Getting Back to Work

Navigating returning to the workforce  is the focus of a virtual Town Hall May 24 from COVID Support VT, in partnership with Mercy Connections. Billed as a “post-Covid confidence builder for employment seekers,” the Town Hall will explore how to connect with our strengths and bring positivity into our efforts around re-joining the workforce. Mercy Connections is a Burlington-based non-profit known for its engaging self-development programming. 

Heather Gilbert, the self-development coordinator at Mercy, will lead the 1.5-hour interactive session. Participants will learn how to apply a strength-based perspective to planning their next steps for returning to work. The lesson plan includes a reality check-in to identify barriers, an inventory of one’s character strengths, and learning how to reframe challenges in terms of those strengths. 

Gilbert will introduce the concept of a “flow state” and guide participants in interactive exercises to understand what that state looks like for each of them. The flow state occurs when our skills perfectly match the challenge of the work we are doing.  

Finding Our Flow State to Guide Work Re-Entry

“This workshop is designed to help participants who are reentering the workforce to remember how gratifying it can be to feel a sense of flow,” says Gilbert.  “The flow state is when we find ourselves in moments of meaningful work when nothing else seems to matter. During Covid, when optimism has been low, remembering these essential qualities can make the experience of returning to work easier.”

To learn about past Town Halls on subjects such as housing, food security, and where to go in mud season in Vermont, visit our Town Halls page and click the links to individual topics.


Need to talk? 

Call 2-1-1 (option #2) or 866-652-4636 (option #2) for free, confidential, one-on-one counseling. Our Support Counselors are available Monday – Friday. 

In crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825;  text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health agency for 24/7 support. 

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Learn about upcoming Wellness Workshops from COVID Support VT, and Town Halls we’re hosting in partnership with community organizations.

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COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Departments of Emergency Management and Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

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