PHI Spark (No. 8)


Looking Ahead
Thinking about a Post-Polio Wellness Retreat post-pandemic? New dates will emerge. Check out the possibilities and stay tuned for updates on our Wellness Retreats page.

Support for Support Group Leaders: Renew and Revitalize

We all know that the role of support group leader requires a lot of caring and one-sided giving. It’s the leader’s job to provide support for group members without asking for reciprocity. Ideally, support group leaders need to have their own separate support system. This would include good friends, family members, co-leaders, other support group leaders and PHI. It’s also important to be able to self-identify looming signs of burnout. And then to independently initiate some self-nurturing in order to regain a personal sense of refreshed focus and energy. Here are a few tips that might help.

How to Identify Impending Burnout

  • Burnout is defined as “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” Further, studies have shown that polio survivors are often prone to high blood pressure and high levels of stress. That’s where burnout lives!

  • Typical signs of burnout include physical and emotional exhaustion, feeling cynical and detached, feeling ineffective and being non-productive.

  • As a support group leader, it is critical to address any of these signs while they are just insidious inklings in our mind. Maybe it’s feeling irritated when a support group member asks for yet another resource. Or when you’re sick of sending out those meeting announcements. Are you trying to plan a Zoom meeting but don’t care if it’s next month or six months from now? Those could be early signs of support group leader burnout! When all of it makes you angry just to think about, it’s time to act fast!

Tips to Rejuvenate and Rediscover Your Spark

  • Think back to the times in your life you were relaxed. Relive those moments.

  • Just say “no” to burdensome tasks for a while. Delegate or do without.

  • Try a little more physical activity or deep breathing.

  • Take more breaks—three-minute vacations.

  • Avoid negative people in your life. Find the positive ones and hang out with them.

  • Take a warm bath.

  • Do a little yoga.

  • Take a nap.

  • Send yourself flowers.

  • Do something wild and crazy and fun.

  • Play a new game.

  • Phone a friend.

  • Go for a walk or roll on a paved nature trail.

  • Watch a comedic movie and eat popcorn.

  • Do something you WANT to do. Not something you should do.

  • Read a fun book. Maybe a comic book!

  • Let the loving people in your life know that you need a little more nurturing right now. See what they come up with for you.

  • Connect with other support group leaders across the continent to see what they do to prevent burnout and keep themselves and their groups both energized and dynamic.
Join Us at a June Zoom for Support Group Leaders

You are invited to a Zoom meeting in June for all support group facilitators and co-facilitators who would like to participate. Post-polio support group leaders instantly share an extraordinary bond. We are the go-getters who have been helping folks adjust to polio’s late effects. And many of us have been nurturing and inspiring our fellow polio survivors for years and years. And years.

But what about us?

How do we stay positive, inspired, and productive as leaders? What do our groups still need and want? Here’s a chance to exchange leadership secrets and share concerns with those who truly understand your role as a post-polio support group leader.  

Let’s get together for an enlightening fun conversation in June! The purpose of our 90-minute zoom gathering will be to meet each other, talk about ways we have found to stay enthused as leaders, and discuss the current dynamics of our support groups. What do you think? It might not only be fun, but a renewing adventure.

If you are interested in joining this June Zoom for support group leaders, please rsvp here with your preferred meeting dates:

PHI is here to support you. Setting up a support group meeting for support group leaders would be our pleasure.

What do you do to stay refreshed and energized as a group leader? Share your tips for fellow leaders with

Take good care of yourself. Let us know how we can help.