Managing Stress as a Frontline Worker
15 Apr 2021 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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Are you a healthcare worker fighting COVID-19 on the frontline? Feel exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed? Yet proud to be a hero. Well, even superheroes get stressed, it’s the body’s response to a crisis and perfectly natural, but what happens when your feeling too stressed, can’t think straight, lack energy and just can’t focus?
Tips for minding your Mental Health as a frontline worker
We value our flexible healthcare workforce as a people-first staffing solutions organisation, supporting our NHS, and so we will support people like you through the pressure of these uncertain times in your lives. We’ve put together some tips healthcare workers might follow when you are feeling overwhelmed.
It’s essential to provide headspace for yourself, time for reflection, relaxation for your mind. It’s especially paramount to exercise the following rituals during times of immense pressure and turmoil.
Healthcare workers can benefit from practising:
- Self-monitoring and pace yourself – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Working in partnerships or teams- collaborative teamwork to share the load.
- Brief relaxation/stress management breaks- take breaks regularly to de-stress.
- Regular peer consultation and supervision- guidance and support is required; crisis can throw up new procedures, and unfamiliar policies – seek supervision, work within your scope of practice.
- Keep hydrated and eat properly as best you can.
- Regularly seeking out accurate information and mentoring to assist in making decisions.
- Keeping anxieties relevant and don’t subscribe to over-analytical fears.
- Doing your best to maintain helpful self-talk and avoid overgeneralizing fears.
- Accept what is, do your best, work as best you can, safely under the supportive guidance of seniors.
- Be patient, calm, and always have hope 1
- Stay connected- call your family and friends and keep in contact. Talk things out; talking helps lighten the load.
- Exercise daily- it’s paramount that we all stay fit and well, so we can fight off fatigue. Exercise releases endorphins that are always a good feel factor.
- Don’t feel guilty- social media is brilliant, but it can create problems with self-esteem. It’s easy to feel bad about yourself if your lounging on the sofa on Friday nights in PJs with your miniature puppy wrapped around you, and you pick up Facebook, or Instagram and see all the happy faces out in clubs all dressed up and living life to the full. Well don’t feel guilty, people only put up their best pics. I bet they won’t have the hang-over pic up in the morning!
- Try Yoga or mindfulness- take up anything you like, you have time for, and you want. Don’t take it up because everyone else is because it won’t last then. It should be a positive and relaxing hobby. Mindfulness is particularly helpful for nurses and doctors that are stressed from work.
- Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine as much as you can.
- Learn to say no. You can’t be everything to everyone, and sometimes you just need to know your limits. Saying no is necessary at times.
It’s hard to work in a crisis and be mindful of your mental health. You are trained to think about others and not you. However, coping with a crisis is traumatic and minding your mental wellbeing is more important than you might believe. You can’t mind others if you don’t first mind yourself.
In summary, it’s all about accepting that you can only do your best, seek support when you need it, stay in touch with loved ones as its always people first, take care of your thoughts-journal them if it helps, relax when you can, exercise and take lots of drinks-non-alcoholic of course, although the odd glass of red to unwind at the end of a long week might well have its benefits!
Do whatever works for you, whether it’s a bubble bath, a glass of wine, or a long walk, whatever works for your mental health. These are exceptional times, go easy on yourself. You are already a superhero, so you need some downtime. Relax, rewind, and reward yourself often.
If you want to join our team of flexible workforce professionals, register today for a stress-free chat with one of our dedicated consultants.
Further Reading: A guide on minding your mental health from the UK Government