This Life Coach Created a Wellness Kit for COVID-19 Frontline Workers

One year into the pandemic, life coach Troia Butcher is asking an important question: "Who is healing our healers?"

When Troia Butcher's mother, Katie was admitted to the hospital for a non-COVID-related health issue back in November 2020, she couldn't help but notice the care and attention Katie was given not only by her nurses but all the hospital workers she came in contact with. "The hospital staff, not just her nurses, but food service and orderly, took amazing care of her, even as the COVID cases in our town rose," Troia, an author, speaker, and life coach, tells Shape. "I later learned that our hospital had a surge of new COVID cases [at that time], and the hospital staff was working diligently to care for all of their patients."

Fortunately, Troia says her mother has since come home and is doing well. But the care her mom received at the hospital "stayed with" Troia, she shares. One evening after leaving her parents' home, Troia says she found herself consumed with gratitude for the essential workers who took care of her mother, and a desire to give back in some way. "Who is healing our healers?" she thought. (Related: 10 Black Essential Workers Share How They're Practicing Self-Care During the Pandemic)

Troia Butcher
Troia Butcher

Inspired by her gratitude, Troia created "the Appreciation Initiative" as a way for her and her community to thank those risking their health and lives every day in essential roles. "It is as if to say, 'We see and appreciate your commitment to our community at this unprecedented time,'" explains Troia.

As part of the initiative, Troia created a "Healing Kit" that includes a journal, a pillow, and a tumbler — everyday items that are meant to encourage essential workers, especially those on the frontline taking care of COVID patients, to "pause in the overwhelming daily rush" of their jobs, explains Troia. "They are working tirelessly to care for our loved ones who have COVID and those who do not," she shares. "They have the added stress of trying to protect their patients, themselves, their co-workers, and keeping their families safe. They are working non-stop." The Healing Kit allows them to release the stress of their day, says Troia, whether they need to write out their thoughts and feelings in the journal, squeeze and punch the pillow after an intense work shift, or simply pause in the middle of the day for a mindful water break with their tumbler. (Related: Why Journaling Is the Morning Ritual I Could Never Give Up)

Troia Butcher wellness kit for COVID essential workers
Troia Butcher

With the help of volunteers in her community, Troia says she's been creating and donating these Healing Kits throughout the pandemic. During the observation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in January, for example, Troia says she and her team of volunteers — the "Angels of the Community," as she calls them — donated about 100 kits to clinics and nursing staff.

Now, Troia says she and her team are planning their next few rounds of donations, with a goal of gifting at least 100,000 Healing Kits to frontline and essential workers by September 2021. "We are living in unprecedented times, and now more than ever, we need to support one another," says Troia. "The Appreciation Initiative is our way of letting others know that we are stronger together." (Related: How to Cope with COVID-19 Stress As an Essential Worker)

If you want to support the Appreciation Initiative, be sure to visit Troia's website, where you can donate directly to the initiative and gift a Healing Kit to an essential worker in your own community.

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