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5 Ways to Deal with a Pandemic as a Front-Line Healthcare Worker

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unforeseen and difficult times for all of us. It is common at such times for all of us to experience increased levels of stress and anxiety resulted from fear and social isolation. While we are all facing unique and precedented challenges because of COVID-19, this pandemic has been especially difficult for those who are on the front line, and their mental health is at risk. While providing care for others and striving to balance their own well-being, these individuals become even more vulnerable to the negative effects this crisis has on our mental health. Being in the healthcare field, it is important for all of us to support each other and remind ourselves to take care of our mental health and well-being, while also caring for others during this pandemic.

Long hours and changes in workload may make it difficult to find time to focus on your mental health; however, the strategies below can bring you one step closer to putting your mental health first in order to provide optimal care to both your patients and yourself:

  1. Engage in Self-Care 
    • In order to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself, too. Try to be mindful of your stress and anxiety levels, and take breaks whenever possible and/or needed. Remember to make resting a priority when you’re not working, and try to get some fresh air when you can. If you’re well-rested, partake in activities you enjoy at home to boost your mood so you can go into your next shift with a healthier, happier mindset! 
  2. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Health
    • It’s difficult right now to motivate ourselves to stay active, especially with our health clubs and gyms closed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find new workouts to enjoy and keep us active.
    • Try a new workout video, engage in virtual yoga classes, do the yard work you keep putting off or dive into some much-needed spring cleaning. Whatever your preferred activity may be, make sure you’re doing things to keep your physical health in check.
    • It may be difficult to maintain a healthy diet with the long hours on the job or difficulty getting to the grocery store, but remember to still practice healthy eating habits. Don’t worry about going on diets or obsess over how many calories you are consuming, just focus on getting the nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and working.
  3. Physically Distance, not Socially
    • While we can’t be physically together, remember to maintain connections with others during this time. Do not socially isolate yourself, and remember to check in with family and friends regularly. Thanks to FaceTime, Zoom and video chat, we can all stay connected during social distancing. Plan a group virtual meeting with family and friends and help support each other in times of stress.
  4. Exercise Self-Compassion
    • Recognize that we all are experiencing psychological distress at this time and you are not alone, nor is it an indication of weakness. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    • Whether you have to request a day off to reset and take care of yourself, seek out a friend to listen, or contact a mental health professional, remember that it is ok to ask for help. We all have increased stress and anxiety right now, and it is ok for us to acknowledge it and treat it accordingly. We are all in this together, and we will get through it together. Whether you need someone to talk to for 15 minutes or a full hour, we have therapists available and ready to support you in this time of crisis.

About the author:

Pallavi Sharma is a counselor in Cedar Hill, TXPallavi Sharma, LPC works with individuals struggling with depressionanxiety, relationship conflicts and roadblocks, adults facing life changes, children and adolescents dealing with adjustment and anxiety, trauma, and stress. She is currently an EMDR trained therapist who has experience working with trauma as well as unresolved emotional experiences. No matter your age or past experiences, it’s never too late to take control of your life and grow into a better you. Get a counselor who can be your advocate during your next phase of life by making an appointment with Pallavi today!