There is a saying that goes, ‘you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself’. And now more than ever, healthcare workers need to take care of themselves so that they can care for the sick. As a nurse or doctor, during this COVID19 time, we’re sure you’ve experienced burnout and been frustrated in the line of work especially due to an overwhelming number of patients. This can make your mental health turn for the worst. In fact, according to Mental Health America, 93% of health care professionals experienced stress, 86% reported anxiety, 77% indicated dissatisfaction, 76% claimed weariness and burnout, and 75% reported being overwhelmed during this COVID19 pandemic.
If you’re experiencing any type of mental health issue, you’re not alone. But what can you do to take care of yourself?
5 Ways Healthcare Workers Can Take Care of Their Mental Health
1. Practice Selfcare
Create a daily self-care practice that addresses your fundamental requirements. As a nurse/doctor, now during this COVID19 pandemic you need to care for yourself. After a full day of taking care of others, have a self-care activity that you can do to unwind. This can be something as simple as taking a walk, going for a drive, hitting the gym, watching your favorite TV show, or catching up with your friends. Perform an activity that will help keep you relaxed and turn your mind off the long day you’ve had.
Any exercise that helps you feel more relaxed might help to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms and improve your mood. Build moments of happiness that will make you feel relaxed.
2. Journal and Meditation
Take some time in the morning or evening to meditate and be in touch with your thoughts.
Meditation has mental health advantages such as greater attention and concentration, increased self-awareness and self-esteem, decreased stress and anxiety, and promoted kindness.
Daily meditation can improve your work performance! Meditation helps us clear our brains and focus on the present moment, which increases productivity significantly.
Truth be told, not everyone believes in the power of journaling. But it’s said those who don’t are yet to start. Journaling aids in the control of symptoms and the improvement of mood by assisting you in prioritizing difficulties, anxieties, and concerns. You don’t have to necessarily journal every day. When you have a bad day or feel like you need to vent, write it down. You’ll be surprised at how much relief it will give you. You can also write a letter to yourself in the style of a conversation with a friend who is dealing with comparable issues. Read it later, when the words will be able to calm and console you while you struggle.
3. Get Enough Sleep
During this pandemic time, you may be so tied up that you are just getting maybe 4-5hours of sleep. However, take advantage of the times when you’re off shift to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impairs our ability to manage our emotions. In the long term, this increases our chances of acquiring a mental health problem. Anxiety and despair, for example, might create more sleep disturbance. Adequate sleep, particularly REM sleep, aids the brain’s processing of emotional information. The brain works during sleep to analyze and store ideas and memories, and it appears that a lack of sleep is particularly detrimental to the consolidation of pleasant emotional content. To improve on your sleeping, create a consistent, calm nighttime ritual that allows you to decompress while also signaling to your mind that it’s bedtime.
It’s okay to disconnect from people at times. Switch off your phone and relax. Sometimes just being off social media does well to your mental health. Go outside and enjoy the sun, read a book, go swimming, go interact with friends, and so much more. Disconnecting allows you to truly be present with others around you and to make an effort to create opportunities for face-to-face interaction. It helps you be in touch with yourself by reflecting on yourself and clearing your thoughts. You can choose to unplug for an hour, a day, or a week depending on your preference. Go off-grid!
5. Get Help
There is no shame in asking for help. During this COVID19 pandemic, you as a healthcare worker have dealt with a lot emotionally. You have watched people die as others’ health deteriorates drastically. This must have an impact on your mental health and can be hard to deal with on your own.
You can talk it out with people close to you or consider therapy. Working in a therapeutic relationship with a psychologist, therapist, or counselor allows you to explore your ideas, feelings, and behavioral patterns. It can also assist you in developing new coping skills and practices to help you better handle daily stressors and symptoms related to your condition. Therapy is a secure place to talk about how you’re feeling and thinking without fear of being criticized. People sometimes do not seek treatment when they need it because they are afraid of being judged due to the stigma connected with mental health counseling—but this should not deter anyone from seeking help.
Avoiding therapy can only worsen your mental health. Many times, relatives and friends are not equipped to understand or cope with mental health issues, so having someone to listen who has expertise is valuable.
Don’t be afraid to reach out.
To Sum It Up…
Mental health support is rising to the top of the wellness agenda especially for nurses and doctors during this pandemic times which is a positive trend. Caring for your mental health is essential for preserving physical health and developing strong relationships. As a nurse/doctor, being able to take care of yourself is important so that you can care for your patients. Furthermore, strong mental health guarantees that you have greater work performance and live a more meaningful and healthier life overall. Here at Thrudemic, we want to hear your story whether you’re a nurse or doctor.
We want to know how COVID-19 pandemic has affected your mental health and how you’re coping. We would love to read your opinion in the comment section.