Voices from the Field

Making Micro-Decisions:

Updated March 2022

In a single day, we may have anywhere between 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts. Many of these thoughts are repetitive or “me”-focused, while others are micro-decisions about what we do, how we think, and where we put our energy.  There choices are often non-conscious and born out of habit or a function of auto-pilot.

This month, we discuss micro-strategies to pause and guide your thoughts towards healthier, kinder, and more mindful decisions.

 Discussion  Françoise, Diana and Jen discuss micro-decisions and how they implement these small, mindful changes throughout their day.

Audio Version

What are micro-decisions? (2:02)

Energy levels & navigating interpersonal conversations (3:56)

Overview of The Choice Map™ by Dr. Marilee Adams (6:18)

Curiosity as an antidote to judgement (8:50)

Not making a decision is making a decision (10:49)

What areas of your personal or professional life would benefit most from incorporating the strategies discussed this month about micro-decisions? What will be the biggest challenge?

Voices from the Field

To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.

Coming Soon

Registration will be open soon. Stay tuned.


To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.


To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.


To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.

You Asked

To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.

Share Your Feedback

To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.

Latest Content

To access this page, you must purchase Psychological PPE.

PPPE logo

Psychological PPE


The Psychological PPE Program

Expert Advice. Practical Skills. Optimized Health.

Psychological PPE is a comprehensive, online program that provides evidence-based strategies and tools
to protect your emotional and mental wellbeing during exposure to high-stress, high-pressure situations.

$99 CAD

One Year Access

Created by Experts in the Field of Psychological Health

Dr. Jennifer Russel

Dr. Jennifer Russel

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
TEND Associate

Françoise Mathieu

Françoise Mathieu

Executive Director of TEND
Translational Speaker & Educator
M.Ed., RP., CCC.

Diana Tikasz

Diana Tikasz

Social Worker
TEND Associate

We know how important it is to protect our physical wellbeing – but what are we doing to protect our psychological wellbeing?

As helping professionals, we are diligent about our use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when it comes to protecting ourselves and others from harmful exposure.
However, we are not always as conscientious about protecting our
emotional and mental health.

What is Psychological PPE?

Psychological PPE is a collection of protective strategies with a multi-disciplinary focus that can be used before, during and after exposure to difficult and stressful events.

For an overview of Psychological PPE, watch the Psychological PPE: Exploring Compassion Fatigue and Burnout during COVID webinar with Dr. Jennifer Russel, Diana Tikasz & Françoise Mathieu.

Video Content

Listen in as the experts discuss the most relevant issues facing helping professionals today


Expert Curated Content

Find the most current and evidence-based resources, books, articles and more


On-Demand Access

Access content as soon as it’s released – on your own time

$99 CAD

One Year Access

What’s Included?

Each month the Psychological PPE program will include:

  • Discussion: An expert discussion on a different theme each month
  • Skill: A video outlining a new skill each month
  • You Asked: A video discussion answering questions we have received from you.
  • Resources: Books, articles, podcasts and exercises that we recommend.
  • Voices from the Field: Inspiring conversations with helping professionals.


In our work with organizations and staff over the past few months, we have heard many individuals who work in the human service fields express powerful feelings of anger and grief in reaction to the pandemic. Many have felt anger towards workplaces decisions, behaviours, and policies, while others towards polarized and aggressive behaviours concerning vaccine requirements and mask mandates. Others have shared experiences of unresolved grief, both in their personal lives and in the workplace.

This month, we explore rituals and strategies to help process and manage feelings of anger and grief.

  • Discussion – Looking Back Before Moving Forward
  • Voices From the Field – Career Sustaining Skills: An Interview with Dr. Brian Miller, Author & Trauma Clinician
  • Skill – R.A.I.N Practice (adapted from Tara Brach)
  • You Asked: Laughter, Tears in Private, and Perspective

As we move into our second pandemic Fall, there is a lot going in our communities: many helping professionals are trying to catch their breath after the intense pace of the last year and a half; the delta variant is giving us a run for our money; and, for parents and caregivers of school-aged children, the return to the classroom is raising many concerns.

We had all hoped for a better understanding of how things will unfold with the pandemic this Fall – however, this has not happened. How do we acknowledge that the pandemic is still with us and how do we come to terms with the fact that many of the stressors that existed long before COVID are still here?

This month we focus on what we can control and look to find joy during these turbulent times.

  • Discussion – Here We Go (Again): Exploring Hostile Attributions
  • Voices From the Field – Making Space to Fall Apart: An Interview with Dr. Alana Hirsh, Family Physician and UBC Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Skill – The Loving Wish

Many people are taking time to slow down and refuel before the Fall. This month, Françoise connects with Doron Gold, a therapist and lawyer, to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the legal profession. We also take time to connect with Kathleen Gorman, trauma therapist and TEND Associate, to discuss her work with Indigenous communities.

  • Discussion – Working with Indigenous Families & Communities: An Interview with Kathleen Gorman, MSW, RSW, Trauma Therapist
  • Voices From the Field – Pandemic Stress Reduction for Lawyers: An Interview with Doron Gold, BA, JD, MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist & Former Lawyer
  • Skill – Engaging the Vagus Nerve with Bubbles

This month, we are exploring the concept of Post-Traumatic Growth. As we slowly reopen and return to the office or come back from redeployments, it feels like an important time to pause and take stock of the past nearly 500 days of the pandemic:

  • Discussion – Understanding PTG: Has It Been Misused?
  • Voices From the Field – Is it Too Soon to Talk About PTG?: An Interview with Sarah Stewart, RSW, Mental Health First Aid Trainer
  • Skill – Seeking Moments of Awe
  • You Asked – How to Handle Pollyanna Leadership Behaviour and Eeyore Friends

This month, we are doing another deep dive on the topic of boundaries. We began exploring this topic in January 2021.

As many of us in North America face the “next normal” of the pandemic, there are several issues on our minds: What will the Fall look like in terms of our work realities? How will the process of people returning to work or finishing their special deployments unfold?

Focusing on work boundaries is an important conversation to have as we begin to process the emotional impact of the past 400 days:

  • Discussion – Work Boundaries in the “New Normal”
  • Voices From the Field – Boundaries for Lived Experience: An Interview with Mardi Daley, Certified Peer Specialist and Founder of Lived Experience Lab
  • Skill – I’ve Noticed a Boundary Breach: Now What?
  • You Asked – Boundaries with Relatives, Cynical Co-Workers, and Rule-Bending Friends

Impostor syndrome is defined as having a fear of being exposed as a fraud no matter how experienced or truly competent we actually are in an area of expertise. This month, we explore this phenomenon in the early parts of our careers, faking it during the pandemic and the risks of covering up our inner fears by going into expert mode.

  • Discussion – Faking It
  • Voices From the Field – Self Doubt in a Pandemic: An Interview with Dr. Matthew Chow, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and President of Doctors of British Columbia
  • Skill – Feeling Like an Imposter? Reflection Questions
  • You Asked – Unemployed, Burned Out Managers, and Languishing Students

As we continue living through a prolonged time of amplified stress & uncertainty, one frequently observed phenomenon has been described as “brain-fog”, a sense of increased fatigue, short term memory loss, and reduced productivity. This month we will explore how your brain functions with chronic stress, how numbing out can contribute to brain fog, & strategies to live in the present, so we can all better understand brain fog and what can be done to reduce it. 

  • Discussion – Understanding Why Many of Us Are Hitting the Wall
  • Voices From the Field – Sharpening the Saw: An Interview with Greg Taylor, M.Ed., R.P., Counselling Coordinator and Mental Health Case Manager at Georgian College
  • Skill – The Multitasking Experiment
  • You Asked – Concerned for a Friend, Feeling Out of Shape, and Dealing with Overwork

As we mark the one year anniversary of the start of the pandemic in North America, we wanted to explore what has been working to help maintain psychological well-being during a team of upheaval and significant stress for almost all of us.

  • Discussion – Long Haulers – One Year Into the Pandemic
  • Voices From the Field – The Great Reset: An Interview with Mary Ann Baynton, MSW, RSW, Workplace Relations Specialist
  • Skill – The 1% Habit Shaping Strategy
  • You Asked –Vaccine Guilt and the Rebellion Against Self-Care Recommendations

We are recording this in early February, and I think that we can all agree that it’s been a long eleven months. Many of us have experienced periods of prolonged stress and intense workloads since the start of the pandemic.

Whether you live in parts of Canada where you are currently in almost complete lockdown, or somewhere where things have re-opened, the way that we connect with friends, family and colleagues has changed dramatically. Some of us are continuing to work remotely alone at our kitchen tables while others are in the front lines where concern about infection spread and work volume does not allow us to have the informal catchups and debriefs with colleagues that we used to enjoy.

  • Discussion – It Takes a (Physically Distant) Village
  • Voices From the Field – Mental Health and the Pandemic: An Interview with Lt Col (ret) Stéphane Grenier, Founder & Lead Innovator, MHI
  • Skill – The Hot Walk and Talk Protocol
  • You Asked – How to Create a Professional Community of Support

Many of us work in the community that we also live in. How do you set boundaries with your neighbours, friends and loved ones while still being kind? What if you don’t want to set boundaries –  what’s that about?

This month, we will discuss setting and maintaining boundaries from a multidisciplinary perspective; why it’s so hard to say “no” to others; and handling the discomfort of setting boundaries:

  • Discussion – Why Are You Texting Me a Picture of Your Rash?
  • Voices From the Field – Boundaries: An Interview with Meaghan Welfare, conflict management practitioner
  • Skill – The Balance Map
  • You Asked – Common Challenges to Developing Boundaries at Work and at Home

Times of sustained crisis and stress can have lingering and complex reverberations – even as we settle into the new routines of the pandemic. To further complicate these pressures is a culture that maintains that helping professionals must stoically “carry on” or be perpetual heroes.

Recent research from the University of British Columbia indicates that while the public might be banging pots for some of us at 7pm, they might not want to be hanging out with us! The topics of this month’s discussion are often not openly discussed, leading to a lot of needless suffering, resentment and isolation.

This month, we will offer tools for recognizing and addressing stigma and tips to incorporate self-compassion into your day:

  • Discussion – Am I Allowed to Feel Rundown?
  • Voices From the Field – An Interview with Dr. Mike Condra, clinical psychologist
  • Skill – The Three Steps of Self-Compassion
  • You Asked – The Pros and Cons of Getting Psychological Help

Like Physical PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), Psychological PPE is designed to protect us during exposure to high stress situations. This requires us to actively take steps throughout our day to protect our health and wellbeing.

The first step in developing an arsenal of effective tools is taking stock: assessing our exposure to risk, moment by moment, in order to use the most effective strategies to pause and reset.

This month, we will offer tools for taking stock and pausing.

  • Discussion – How Am I Doing?
  • Skill – Transitioning from Work to Home
  • You Asked – How Are You Managing Your Day-to-Day Stress?

A personal note from Jen:

“As a psychiatrist juggling work in a tertiary care hospital while homeschooling my two primary school children during this pandemic, I quickly realized that I needed to develop tools to keep myself physically and emotionally healthy — I needed to grab my Psychological PPE!

As the pandemic has evolved, and the stress and uncertainty have continued, previous self care strategies have not always been sufficient.

Learning to manage the stress over time, rather than just managing the acute crisis, has been a significant challenge – a challenge which I continue to work with and learn from.”

Russel Family
Françoise Mathieu

A personal note from Françoise:

“Recent worldwide events have been extremely challenging for many of us – both professionally and personally. When the pandemic erupted in our communities, it became clear that we all needed simple and effective strategies to stay grounded and maintain our psychological and physical well-being.

In times of stress, I have frequently turned to Diana and Jen as members of my community of practice for their sage advice, guidance and practical strategies. They helped remind me that Psychological PPE is right within our reach – and that we need to make a daily commitment to practice these strategies in order to stay well.”

A personal note from Diana:

“Working in a large hospital as a Resilience Integration Specialist, particularly during the time of COVID, I have supported many individual staff, leaders and teams facing various levels of elevated stress and trauma exposure. I look forward to working alongside Françoise and Jen, two highly skillful and wise practitioners, as we walk you through our lessons learned and tips about what helps during challenging times.

By continuously employing Psychological PPE throughout our workday, we have more time and energy at the end of our shifts. This gives us space to reflect on the fulfilling and rewarding aspects of our work, – throughout the span of our careers. The most generous act we can do is to care for ourselves as we care for others.”

Diana at CARE4YOU Conference


The Psychological PPE program is a subscription-based program that is designed to give you tools and strategies to manage stress and protect your wellbeing. New content is created and delivered each month. This program was created by experts in the fields of psychological health Françoise Mathieu, Dr. Jen Russel, and Diana Tikasz with the aim of providing quick and easy micro-skills that all of us can incorporate into our work and personal lives. The program is owned and administered by TEND Academy Ltd.

When you purchase a one-year subscription, you will have access to all of the content on the Psychological PPE learning portal including access to videos, audio files, resources and recommended books, blog posts, podcasts and more. New content will be added every month related to that month’s theme.

You can register for the Psychological PPE Program by clicking here.

The Psychological PPE program can be accessed by clicking here.

We can happily accommodate large group purchases for an organization. Please contact us at info@tendacademy.ca.

Yes! You will be notified when new content is attended and you can access the material on your own schedule. Content will also be provided in both video and audio formats so you can learn in the way that works best for you.

Ask A Question