Healthcare Workers: How to Keep Your Head Up During Scary Times

 

Being a healthcare worker can be a stressful and tiring job at the best of times, but in the face of vast uncertainty and fear around the coronavirus, this profession has become even harder. If you are a healthcare worker on the front lines of the coronavirus, you are bravely dealing with an unprecedented situation — thank you. 

As you navigate this situation, these tips may help you keep your head up during these scary times. 

1. Protect Your Family from the Virus

As a healthcare worker, one of your biggest fears may be that you bring this virus home to your family. With the right precautions, you can manage this risk. Take care to clean all personal items such as phones, bags, or keys when you leave the hospital or clinic. 

At home, set up a changing area or a sanitization station to prevent the virus from coming into your home on your scrubs or your skin. For example, remove clothes in the garage and put them directly into the washing machine. Then, slip on a clean robe and shower immediately. 

2. Be Proactive About Preventing Burnout

During stressful times, you need to be easy on yourself and give yourself (and your family) lots of grace. To avoid burning out, give yourself ample time to practice self-care. Don't be hard on yourself. Recognize that you may need to watch extra TV, take more baths, indulge in an extra dessert, do longer workouts, have an extra glass of wine, or whatever helps you to deal with stress. 

Remember, therapy or just reaching out to a counselor can also be beneficial. You don't have to wait until your mental health symptoms get severe. A therapist can help with even mild symptoms of worry and anxiety. 

3. Find Ways to Reach Out to Others 

If you're just going to work and coming home, you may really miss your social outlets and support systems. Depending on your situation, you may be dealing with loneliness, or you may be living with children, spouses, or others who are dealing with their own stresses. Both can make the situation harder. 

Find ways to connect with other people. Set up a phone date with a friend one evening. Reach out to old friends and see if they're up for a virtual chat. If you like games, you may want to play a game virtually with family or friends. Human connection outside work can feel like a breath of fresh air and remind you of the simple joys in life. 

4. Don't Get Overwhelmed with the News 

The news can be very overwhelming, especially in times like these. Try to find ways to stay abreast with what's happening, without getting overwhelmed. Consider limiting how long you look at the news during the day, and if possible, look at stories about other topics so you don't hyperfocus on the coronavirus. 

5. Remember You Can't Control Everything

To get through stressful times, remember that you can only control a limited number of things. Once you make your efforts, you have to believe that you did the best you could, and everything else is out of your control. Simply accepting that fact can help reduce stress levels.