At the National Domestic Violence Hotline, advocates take call after call from survivors of domestic abuse. Hearing upsetting, traumatic stories is simply part of the job.
The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, available in over 200 languages –– and the Hotline received over 700,000 calls in the last year. The support advocates provide is essential in getting survivors the help they need. But what about the mental health and well-being of the advocates themselves? How can they manage their own stress, avoid burnout, and show up as their best selves when the next call comes?
That’s where Thrive Resets come in. Thrive Global and NDVH have partnered to bring Resets to advocates, providing much-needed breaks to breathe, recharge, and prevent stress from becoming cumulative.
Reset is based on neuroscience that shows we can course-correct from stress in 60-90 seconds, by activating our parasympathetic nervous system — a network of nerves that relaxes the body after periods of stress or danger — and lowering our levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
While our sympathetic nervous system controls our “fight or flight” response, the parasympathetic nervous system helps to control the body’s response during times of rest. When we exhale and our parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released, which slows the heart rate and brings us back to homeostasis. This prevents us from reacting out of fear, stress, and emotion.
For NDVH advocates, receiving a Thrive Reset at the right moment can make all the difference. Here’s how it works. After receiving long or back-to-back calls, advocates receive a 60-second Thrive Reset prompting them to inhale, exhale, and bring themselves back to center. There are hundreds of Resets on topics ranging from gratitude, movement, focus, and sleep to connecting with others and reframing setbacks.
Below are testimonials from three advocates at NDVH who have been using Thrive Resets to take care of their well-being:
“I remember one night, after a very traumatic call, I received a Thrive Reset, which focused on breathing. As I was doing the breathing exercise, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this really works.’ I felt much more peaceful. I also find that taking out a sketch pad and doing some drawing really helps me relax and recenter myself in between calls. It’s like a fidget toy for me! Having these techniques in my back pocket helps me be more effective at assisting callers and returning their power back to them –– that’s the most important thing.”
“Listening to traumatic stories all day can be heavy, and it really weighs on my mind and well-being. In order to prevent burnout, I make sure that self-care is part of my daily life. Morning meditations are always part of my morning routine, and meditations during lunch are also helpful. After a stressful call, I watch a Thrive Reset, and do some breathing exercises and remind myself that I am safe and I am OK. Sometimes, they serve as a quick distraction and they take my mind off the previous call. Just looking at cute penguins for 60 seconds can help calm my nervous system! Sometimes I wish they were even longer! After a long call, having that extra time to remember to just breathe and relax is amazing. It seems to always come right at the perfect time.”
“I’ve been at NDVH for 18 months, and I learned pretty early on that the work we do can be triggering. I usually have to refocus after a call. To take care of my well-being, I prioritize small practices, like prayer, meditation, listening to music, and admiring beautiful scenery in a Thrive Reset, which has been a great tool for me to turn to after really distressing calls. I recall one challenging call where the caller was deeply upset, yelling, and expressing frustration towards their abuser and the legal system. Taking a Thrive Reset allowed me to refocus and gather myself before engaging in my next call. Thrive Resets help me redirect my focus and recognize all of the good things in my life. Focusing on small moments of beauty and joy is part of my healing process, and I try to remind myself of that.”
Since launching the partnership, all of NDVH’s advocates have received Thrive Resets, using them to take a mental break after a distressing call, boost positivity during a difficult day, or tap into a moment of calm when the week feels chaotic. 87% of advocates feel NDVH is taking significant action to help them recover from stressful calls, and 94% hope to continue using Resets.