Tips for healthcare workers during the pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers’ top priority, as always, was the health and safety of their patients. But just as important as ensuring patients’ well-being is ensuring your own and taking care of yourselves. Here are some helpful tips and reminders to make sure you’re not neglecting your own health and well-being during stressful times:
- Feel your feelings – You and your colleagues are likely to feel an immense weight given the potential surge in care demands, risk of infection and equipment shortages, and other stressors like financial worries and family obligations. Experiencing stress—and the feelings associated with it—is by no means a sign of weakness or a reflection on your ability to do your job. Regular, everyday stressors may become amplified and it’s important to pay close attention to your emotions.
- Employ coping strategies – This is not one of those times where we can just “tough it out.” Put into practice strategies that have worked for you in the past during times of stress. These can include getting enough rest, finding respite time during work or between shifts, engaging in physical activity, and staying in contact (with appropriate social distancing) with family and friends. Try to get outside, even for brief breaks to get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Check-in with yourself – Monitor yourself for symptoms of depression or stress disorder, such as prolonged sadness, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories, and/or feelings of hopelessness. Be sure to talk to a trusted colleague or supervisor. Be open to seeking professional help if you have symptoms that persist or worsen over time.
- Take a phone break – Make a regular habit of stepping away from your phone from time to time. When returning online, focus on information from reputable sources, not just sources in your social media feed. You don’t have to take in everything produced by a 24/7 news cycle. Try adding to your social media feed with ideas and content related to mindfulness and well-being.
- Remind yourself why you do what you do – The healthcare profession has importance and meaning. Remind yourself that despite the current challenges and frustrations, yours is a noble calling: taking care of those in need in a time of great uncertainty. Make sure to take time to recognize and applaud the efforts and sacrifices made by your colleagues.
Resources for more support
The resources below are for U.S. healthcare workers seeking free and confidential mental healthcare services:
- The Physician Support Line: 1-888-409-0141
- Emotional PPE Project – Connecting healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255