Taking care of others is at the heart of every healthcare professional’s responsibilities. Yet, many of you don’t make time to prioritize your wellbeing and take care of your own mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare workers in unprecedented situations, having to make incredibly difficult clinical decisions and work under immense pressures.
If you feel overwhelmed, it is important to seek support. Talk to your colleagues, manager, family, or someone you trust about how you are feeling. You are not alone. Your colleagues are likely experiencing similar emotions and you can support each other through this. Be compassionate and kind to yourself and others and remember, it’s OK to not to be OK.
Practical tips to implement to prioritize your wellbeing
Our Mental Health Clinical Specialist, Vicki, shares 5 practical tips on how to prioritize your wellbeing during this difficult time:
- Take care of your basic needs. Ensure you get enough rest and respite during work or between shifts.
- Eat sufficient and healthy food (although it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself every so often!). I personally have an emergency tub of Ben & Jerry’s in the bottom of my freezer – for emergencies only of course..!
- Engage in physical activity. You don’t need to run a marathon (although kudos to you if you can!), but exercise improves mood. Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals and leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed. This provides an emotional lift and reduces stress, which can be especially helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. So grab your sneakers and go for a walk, or put on your favorite song and dance like no one’s watching!
- Laughter. It may not be on your usual self-care list but laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing helps to reduce inflammation and stress hormones, improve circulation, and enhance the immune system. Watch a funny movie, have a giggle with your friends and laugh those worries away.
- Stay in contact with family and friends. This is so important. A common theme in this pandemic has been isolation. If you find yourself needing to isolate, keep in regular communication with people and arrange a face-to-face catch up when you can.
We also have some additional tips for self-care during the COVID-19 outbreak that you may find useful.