How to Stay Sane as a Health Worker During Pandemic?
With the Covid-19 situation, things are hard for many people, but more so for health workers. Witnessing the events caused by the disease can be extremely traumatic and stressful. So if you are in the medical field, you may find yourself suffering from burnout and compassion fatigue.
Of course, you know how to cover your cough and wash your hands, but how do you stay sane amid all the suffering and loss of life around you?
Here are some tips that can be of help.
1. Acknowledge your Emotions
Being in the medical field is a calling (for most people) and as such; you may find yourself pushing your feelings and thoughts aside just so that you can focus on your patients. However, ignoring how you feel can be detrimental to your mental health in the end.
However, did you know that acknowledging your feelings is therapeutic? Recognizing and admitting that you are overwhelmed or frustrated will not hurt anyone; instead, it takes the power away from the feeling.
A UCLA study reveals that acknowledging emotions can reduce the activeness of the amygdala, which ignites the human fear response.
2. Consider Breath Exercises
A simple activity such as taking several deep breaths can slow down your flight or fight response and ultimately balance out stress hormones like cortisol. Whenever you feel like your stress levels are off the roof, you can practice gearshift breathing, a popular breathing exercise.
It involves deep inhalation through the nose followed by exhalation through pursed lips. The best part is that you do not have to be anywhere special to do this. It can be done in the restroom, your car, or even at your desk.
3. Eat Healthy and Hydrate
This one sounds cliché, but that doesn’t mean that it is not true. First, you want to remain hydrated at all times. When they say water is life, they mean it so before each meal, have a glass of water. Keep a bottle in your car and one at your desk for continuous sipping throughout the day.
You also want to eat healthy meals so think about going organic and avoiding junk.
This is something that should come naturally to everyone, but it is easier said than done especially when there is so much to do for your patients. Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that getting enough rest is paramount in keeping you productive and clear-minded while at work.
So, as hard as it may be, try to set some time aside for your mind and body to rest.
5. Try New Things
It is not easy to venture into new hobbies as a health worker but the thing is that you may want to; given your work environment and the impact, it may have on your mental well-being. Well, you may never find the time so it is up to you to create it.
You do not have to start big either. For instance, you can take a few minutes to write your thoughts in a journal or try new health supplements for supporting your immunity.
6. Focus on the Positive
In recent years, more people have been practicing gratitude and there is a good reason for that – it is not a fad. In medical language, it can be termed as practicing self-directed neuroplasticity, which is your ability re-tune, your brain so that it can have a more optimistic outlook on life.
Humans tend to harbor negative thoughts as part of their desire to survive in the face of danger. However, as you continue to evolve, the same instinct is likely to cause stress-induced health issues.
Your brain can recognize when you enjoy things so it can rewire itself to have a better perspective of your surroundings.
7. Prepare Yourself
Did you know that planning is a form of self-care? For instance, you can plan your meals to avoid rushing to the grocery store every time you want to cook. This will also help you save and create time for doing other things that will be beneficial for your sanity amid the pandemic.
As a health worker, you have a lot on your plate but do not let it drive you up the wall. Some of the things that will happen in your line of work will be tragic and it is not much you can do. With the aforementioned tips, you will be a better version of yourself and be in a position to give the same to your patients.