Medical professionals are charged with great responsibilities. Many work long hours and undergo severe mental and physical stress.
When COVID hit, the world branded doctors and nurses frontliners – a term usually saved for the battlefield.
Yes, the act in itself is heroic, but if a hero wants to sustain their ability to improve patient health, they need to look at their own wellbeing, as well.
During COVID, some experienced secondary traumatic stress and others underwent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
So here is a shortlist of some effective tips that can help healthcare professionals manage both mental and physical stress even during such testing times.
Speak out. Talk. Don’t let anything hold you back. A lot of meds are already familiar with this on #MedTwitter. It’s a safe space for individuals to speak their minds. Speaking out about your problems takes the weight off your shoulders and helps you regain your composure. In addition to colleagues online, you can rely on friends and family to express your feelings. You will be amazed by their ability to patiently hear you, without judgment.
2. Enjoy your favorite things
With the holiday season just around the corner, you can plan some fun activities. But, you don’t need to wait for the holiday season to arrive to celebrate. Enjoy the small things. Get into a hobby like baking, plan a joyride in your favorite neighborhood, head to the movies or stay in and stream a favorite show. Set time aside for a coffee date with yourself. If you have the chance, take time off from work and go on a little vacation. Change of place and scene are sometimes all it takes to rejuvenate.
3. Social media detox
While we understand that social media and news update is an essential part of life that connects you with the outer world, you should also know how to filter the necessary information. Continuous bombarding of the news and negative social media interactions puts you under tremendous stress. You can take a short break from social media and stay offline to be stress-free. But, if you like being connected and shudder at the thought of leaving your phone even for a few minutes, there are still other options. Use music, mediation, and movies.
You’re working with sleep debt. So, chances are, most of you are already catching Z’s when you get some free time. But if you’re not… what are you waiting for? Get cozy in your bed and let the healing begin. Sleep helps you de-stress, refocus, gain energy, and be fresh. Get some sleep!
5. Walk it out or work it out
Physical activity can turn into a major stress buster as it boosts the production of endorphins, a feel-good neurotransmitter. This puts a cap on the stress that you experience on a daily basis. You can pick up any activity of your choice perform it regularly. Boxing, walking, baseball, basketball, swimming, hiking, jogging – pick any.
Physical exercises are also known to keep lifestyle disorders like blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity in check!
6. Practice mindfulness
The amygdala plays a crucial role in the stress level you experience on a daily basis. Mindfulness helps in controlling hyperactivity in this part of the brain which in turn has a soothing effect on your overall mental health. Practicing mindfulness simply means staying with what you’re doing, when you’re doing it. If you’re driving, be mindful of the steering wheel, the view in front of you, your breath, the sensations and sounds associated with it. Just be in the present moment. This can even be done while you’re working.
Start with one or even part of one of the above tips to improve your overall health.