5 Ways Nurses Can Keep Tabs On Their Mental Health
As healthcare professionals, you are trained to handle whatever is thrown at you. One of your best attributes that you can’t train, is the innate human element. The human element brings out innate care, compassion, and empathy. However, it can also bring out fear, anxiety, and depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified these unsettling feelings. You have given your life to care for others and in the process, it can be easy to forget about yourself. Your mental health now, and always, is so important to track and stay on top of. In this blog, we are going to highlight 5 ways that you can keep tabs on your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Reflect on Yourself
Find time during the day to reflect on how you’re doing emotionally. Easier said than done, right? This alone time can be done on your commute to or from work, in the shower, or while you’re making coffee. However and wherever you reflect, make sure to address and acknowledge your feelings. They are never wrong, nor should you be ashamed of them.
The best way to restore your mental health is to understand the root cause of your feelings. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?” Once you understand, develop a way to alleviate those burdens. For example, you may find that after each shift during the pandemic, you are feeling anxious. You uncover that this anxiety is stemming from the uncertainty of COVID. From previous experience, you know that the best way to alleviate stress is for you to take a long brisk walk. Therefore, make a pact with yourself that after every stressful shift you take a 30-minute walk. Acknowledge, address, and take action!
Talk it out
Ask a friend or family member to be your “check-in buddy”. Schedule time with this person to chat once a day or maybe even once per week to catch up and hash out life’s newest events. The goal is to keep it consistent so you are feeling connected and heard on a regular basis.
This is a great time for you to unload some stress and talk through the burdens lingering in your mind. More than likely the person on the other end is feeling stressed as well. It is important to remember that you are never alone. It may feel like it at times, but as soon as you open up, you will find that others are in a similar boat as you.
Avoid Watching the News Excessively
The news can be a great way to gather information but tread these waters cautiously. Although it is important to stay up-to-date and current, don’t over-consume. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially drawn to the latest information about this topic, but it is important to not obsess.
You are already working on the frontlines with patients. The last thing you need is to face that stressor at home. If you tend to watch the news in the morning or at night, you may want to rethink how long you submerge yourself in it. Instead try to pick up a new routine -read a book, watch a show or pick up a new hobby! Again, stay informed but try not to make the news a focal point in your life. Bring joy, positivity, and happiness to your day!
Find time for YOU!
It can be difficult to get off of the work hamster wheel when you get home. Remember, making time for you is essential in order to regroup after a long shift. Try to reignite your true passions and interests. There is no better time than the present to start making time for you! Maybe it is 10 minutes of meditation, exercise, reading a book, or watching a funny movie. Whatever brings you joy – immerse yourself in it! Even if it’s only for a short time each day, make the time for you. Don’t let yourself become an afterthought. You are far too great of a caregiver to neglect your own care.
Seek Professional Guidance
You know yourself best. You should never feel ashamed to seek medical attention for feelings of anxiety and/or depression. We wouldn’t neglect our car with its “check engine” light on, would we?! Never dismiss your “check engine” light. You need care and attention.
Just because you are a healthcare professional doesn’t mean you are exempt from medical attention. Even if it is difficult for you to accept it, accept it. If you are having feelings of anxiety and depression, reach out to your physician. They can help you develop an action plan. You don’t need to suffer in silence, you are not alone and your happiness is too important to brush off. There are better days coming.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be physically and emotionally taxing on healthcare providers. There is no question that you have witnessed the unimaginable. It’s okay to say that you need help navigating those feelings and experiences. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical one. They both work in unison and need care. If your mental health is off your physical body will feel it too. We hope that if you are feeling the burden of anxiety and depression that you will seek support.
Need Further Assistance?
Nurses PRN is pleased to announce the SupportLinc employee assistance program (EAP) is available to all Nurses PRN employees and/or their family members. SupportLinc offers confidential and professional support at no cost to you or your family. If you are currently employed with Nurses PRN and would like more information regarding this support, please email Jen.Greeninger@prninc.com in our Human Resources department. She’ll be happy to assist you!
You are never alone.