Although everyone is feeling the weight of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, no profession is bearing the burden more than healthcare professionals. Acting as the front liners to new and existing patient cases, healthcare workers have to endure grueling precautionary measures and long work shifts on a daily basis. From having to wear uncomfortable layers of masks and gowns to the mental strain of witnessing firsthand the damages of coronavirus, working as a healthcare professional can have a toll on your mind and body.
Perform Stress Management Techniques
You shouldn’t compromise your own health in an attempt to do your job of saving lives. You can only effectively help others be healthy if you are mentally and physically healthy yourself. Practice meditation and mindfulness techniques on your downtime. Visit a local park and just immerse yourself in nature or get a yoga mat and perform deep breathing exercises every morning for at least half an hour. Aside from the mental benefits of uplifting your mood and clearing out stress, relaxing can also lower muscle tension and avoid stress-induced health conditions, such as heart disease and hair loss.
Avoid Work Talk at Home
It’s normal to want to talk about work with your family when you get home. But talking about your patients and the ongoing pandemic on your downtime can create more stress and frustration. In addition to putting a moratorium on work talk, you should also limit your news sources regarding COVID-19. It makes sense to keep yourself updated with the rising or dropping number of cases or vaccine development but cap it to one or two news outlets that you trust. Ignore any of the speculation and controversy that you see on social media platforms.
Talk to Someone About How You’re Feeling
Repressing your emotions can have both short-term and long-term effects on your mental health. Whether it’s a family member or a coworker, talk to someone who understands what you are going through right now. Keeping your thoughts and emotions bottled up only amplifies the everyday stress that you already have to live with. Getting other people’s input can help you see the situation from a different, possibly healthier angle.
Protecting your mental health while optimally performing in such a high-risk, high-pressure work environment requires a strong mind and body, solid emotional support system, and a healthy work-life balance that creates structure and order.