Just as the public is being asked to stay home, APRNs and other healthcare professionals are being asked to step to the frontlines to fight the pandemic. In addition to working to protect yourself and your family from infection of the coronavirus, it also is important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally during these challenging times.
Thrive Global has started a #FirstRespondersFirst campaign to provide actionable steps that healthcare professionals can take to protect from burnout and build resilience. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recognize the toll that this global crisis is having on the public and particularly healthcare professionals, and are providing resources to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Here are just a few things you can incorporate into your regular day to help you cope with increased stress and maintain your physical and mental well-being:
- Remind yourself why you became a healthcare professional. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
- Take breaks. While working or at home, give yourself time to step away, particularly following challenging moments. Take a short walk or a few minutes of conscious breathing. Consciously building in just a few minutes helps you to collect your thoughts, recharge, and bounce back with a more positive outlook.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate, try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
- Turn off the news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Setting healthy limits to our media consumption can help us have a restorative rest and put the stressful news into perspective.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. While social distancing is imperative, social isolation is not.
- Remind yourself what you are grateful for. Try to spend time throughout the day – perhaps all those times you are washing your hands – to focus on some of the positive things in your life.
- Ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed and stress begins to get in the way of your daily activities on a consistent basis, call your own healthcare provider.