Tips for Managing Stress as a Healthcare Worker During COVID-19

tired healthcare worker

In a world that could desperately use some saving, society has placed the role of superhero on healthcare workers. But nobody is perfect, and even the strongest superheroes have weaknesses. This time, the kryptonite isn’t a stray rock from a faraway planet; it’s something much more personal—unchecked stress and anxiety. 

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the weight of the world has shifted onto the shoulders of healthcare workers who are doing the impossible on the frontlines to fight against the same battle as the rest of society. As a result, stress and anxiety for healthcare workers are rising to alarmingly high levels. What’s worse, it’s not always being dealt with in the healthiest way. To help those in the healthcare industry cope with the burden of saving the world during COVID-19, we’ve curated some tools and strategies for managing stress and coping with anxiety. 

Building Stress Awareness

Physicians, nurses, and other frontline healthcare workers are experiencing a range of negative mental health effects as they strive to wholeheartedly care for patients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis while also battling concerns about the health of their family, friends, and their own well-being. So, how can healthcare workers manage this balancing act and the stress that follows during COVID-19? The first step is building stress awareness, recognizing when it’s time to step away and practice some self-calming techniques. Don’t block out or cage in feelings of stress; appreciate them as cues that signal when the mental and emotional self could benefit from a breather. By performing mental check-ins like this, you can wrap your head around the stressors of your anxiety and implement the best coping strategies for your needs. 

Coping Strategies for Healthcare Workers

When it comes to managing stress, coping strategies are a dime a dozen. Testing out these wide-ranging tactics will allow you to build a personalized arsenal of tools for different stressors and environments. Here are some of the best coping strategies we’ve found for healthcare workers:

  • Exercise regularly. Removing yourself from the work environment, spending time outside, and implementing low-impact exercises into your daily routine will help you wind down and release endorphins. 
  • Take breaks from social media and watching the news. As a healthcare worker, current events surround the bulk of your days. Watching the news and reading other current-event resources can reintroduce these stressors into your life, which is mentally exhausting.
  • Stick to familiar routines. Routines help create a sense of control in what may feel like an out-of-control situation. Make sure that you carve out time to eat healthily, get enough sleep, and take breaks between shifts to check in with yourself. 
  • Communicate with coworkers, family, and friends. Asking for help is not burdensome. By communicating your feelings and talking about the stress of the job with friends, family, coworkers, and supervisors, you can find resources for managing mental health.  
  • Engage in mindfulness tools. Breathing techniques and meditation are among the most beneficial tools for calming the mind and resetting for the day. 

In times of great stress, it’s not always enough to simply recognize feelings of concern and anxiety. Healthcare workers also need to prioritize intentionally practicing and implementing coping strategies into their everyday routines. When you create habits out of an arsenal of self-care tools, the long-term benefits will promote better mental awareness down the road—aiding you when it comes to assessing your mental health needs and teaching you how to ask for help before stress consumes you.

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To learn about how DispatchHealth is responding to coronavirus (COVID-19), follow this link or feel free to reach out to us with your questions.

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/mental-health-healthcare.html
  3. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/managing-mental-health-during-covid-19
  4. https://www.aha.org/behavioralhealth/covid-19-stress-and-coping-resources
  5. https://compassionresiliencetoolkit.org/media/COVID19CompassionInAction_stress_awareness.pdf
  6. https://www.mindful.org/ 

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