At times of intense pressure and uncertainty, self-care is more important than ever, nevertheless it is in the fundamental nature of healthcare professionals to prioritize the needs of others before their own. They have a keen interest in the wellbeing of humanity and deep-rooted ethics that often lead them to fully overlook their own needs. While self-care for healthcare workers can be complex, it is essential in maintaining effective healthcare services especially in times of virus outbreaks like COVID-19.
It is not uncommon for healthcare workers to find themselves juggling competing needs of their patients, families and their own. When little time is left for self-care, stress and anxieties can creep in. Having a strategy in place to manage stressors in high pressure times can make the difference. Here are our suggestions:
Set attainable goals and break it up. Your goal for each hour may be different than your goal for the day. The relentless pace and mounting tension providers have been faced with since cases of COVID-19 first started erupting earlier in the year will take their toll on even the best of the workforce. Remember it is a marathon, not a sprint.
Take a Break
Recognize the signs of burnout and take self-care breaks when you see them. Typical signs of burnout include work-related hopelessness and feelings of inefficacy or defeat. Dedicating 10 minutes to an activity that can improve your state of mind such as a few mindful breathes, a phone call to a loved one or a short walk can turn your day around and make you better able to care for others.
Maintain Good Health Habits
When there is little time for self-care its common to see healthy habits circumvented by quick and less beneficial habits. Be mindful of this and give your best effort to maintain your health by bringing balanced meals to work, creating time for exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting enough sleep.
Though these are good strategies for managing well-being, self-care means different things to everyone. Make it a mission to find coping mechanisms that work for you and dedicate the time that’s needed to them. Even though it is in the nature of healthcare professionals to give their all, every day- it benefits us all for them to take care of themselves first.
“You cannot pour from an empty cup. You must fill your cup first.” Norm Kelly