Whether you’re a nurse, physician, or any number of healthcare professionals, it now feels more important than ever to take a step back and focus on your mental wellbeing.
That’s especially true for workers on the front line and behind the scenes who continue the battle against COVID-19.
Health worker’s importance in the fight against the pandemic is undeniable – but their work can easily lead to mental and emotional struggles. The day-to-day physical and emotional labor takes quite a toll even on the most experienced medical professionals.
Here’s a look at some important ways every healthcare worker can successfully protect their mental health.
The Importance of Self-Care
Most healthcare professionals are trained to put patients first. Unfortunately, self-care is not always prioritized among clinicians – as they may fear judgment from others or feel selfish at the thought of attending to their own needs. However, practicing self-care is an important tool to coping with the stress, workload, and demands of their profession.
Recent evidence has pointed to the importance of balancing a worker’s personal needs and the needs of others. Self-care has been identified as the first line of defense for healthcare workers to manage COVID-19 patient care demands, including its disruption of normal life routines.
Steps for Practicing Self-Care
- Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise: Taking care of yourself starts with how you fuel your body so that you can use your energy to its utmost potential. Remember to always eat a variety of wholesome, vitamin-rich foods, with limited portion sizes, and drink plenty of water. Your overall health will thank you for it. And keep moving, even when you don’t feel like you have the time. You can always fit in fitness, which does wonders for your mental and physical well-being.
- Remember to stretch: Tension due to stress can affect your vision, cause headaches, create digestive issues – not to mention cause severe discomfort in your back and shoulders. Stretch every day, and often! Sitting for long periods of time is very damaging to your health. And if your budget (or benefits) permit, try massage therapy. Massage reduces psychological stress but can also reduce blood pressure and help to regulate your heart rate.
- Get more sleep: Quantity and quality of sleep matter. Sleep has a direct impact on your physical and mental health. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for the average adult. And if you’re limited with nighttime sleep, napping, when done.
- Move Away from digital screens: You’re guaranteed to find more time to care for yourself if you begin to make the conscious choice to put down your phone, shut down the laptop or turn off the television. Mindless scrolling through TV shows or on the Internet (apps like Facebook, for example) swallows up more time than you realize and also prevents you from falling asleep. That time could be much better spent on making your life feel more complete.
- Get outside: Exercising indoors is great, but moving your body outside has been proven to scientifically change your body chemistry. Proper exercise releases more happy endorphins and significantly improves your mental clarity.
As a leading family- and woman-owned healthcare employment agency, SpotOn Recruiting is experienced in helping physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants find great jobs nationwide. If you’re a health professional looking to make your next career move, visit our website and see how our experienced team can help you meet your goals!