In these unprecedented times of COVID-19, medical professionals are under stress more than ever.
This pandemic has not only put a strain on the medical systems but also on the medical professionals as well.
The impact of COVID-19 on medical professionals has been overwhelming, with high levels of stress and anxiety from seeing patients and other medical professionals get infected and even some deaths.
This has a significant impact on the general staff morale, quality of work they produce, and their mental health.
In addition to the pandemic, medical roles are stressful and demanding.
The nature of medical work may also be a stress-inducing factor.
Many medical professionals are at risk of depression due to the following reasons:
- Strenuous and lengthy shifts
- Complexity in the nature of the work
- Exposure to human pain and deaths
- High emotional labor towards patients
- Lack of social life
- Lack of adequate sleep and rest
Stress management mechanisms and mental health have been essential for most medical professionals to navigate their careers.
Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated while you save lives.
1. Get adequate rest and sleep between shifts
Most medical professionals struggle to have a healthy work-life balance due to a lack of quality sleep and rest.
Their demanding work and hectic shifts make it close to impossible to even have a life outside work.
With the little free time they have, it’s imperative to prioritize sleep and rest.
The impact of quality sleep and rest for medical professionals is understated, affecting their cognitive behavior.
Good quality sleep and rest help you reset and fuel your body.
2. Keep in touch with family and friends
While family and friends may be there to offer emotional support and help you navigate through some of the emotions you may be feeling, there is so much more they can assist with.
As a medical professional trying to save lives while trying to juggle a life at home may be close to impossible.
This is where your younger sister or your best friend comes in.
They can help meal prep your weekly meals and have them ready for you when you get home.
They can also watch over your kids when you get an unexpected emergency call.
Don’t shy away from asking for their help when you need it.
3. Eat a hearty meal
Having a hearty meal combined with a good night’s rest does wonders for your body.
Adopting a healthy diet as a medical professional can go a long way to keeping your body strong, which helps manage stress levels better and reduce the chances of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure.
Ensuring a healthy diet also helps build your immunity which is vital for survival as a health professional.
As a front-line professional in this pandemic, adopting healthy habits such as a good diet will help fuel and energize you.
4. Get physical
Physical activity has long been associated with healthy and good immunity.
It's also an effective way to reduce and sharpen your focus.
This is vital as lack of it can adversely affect your body and health.
Setting about 30 minutes of physical activity in a day can help you relax, boost your mood, and sleep better.
While gyms and other workout facilities may not be a viable option, there are plenty of other ways to stay active.
Most gyms now offer online courses, and fitness videos are generously scattered all over the internet.
5. Connect with other medical professionals
Human beings are social beings.
Sometimes exchanging experiences with those with similar ones can offer a sense of comfort and relief.
A simple check-in with fellow medical professionals or colleagues can help reduce stress and comfort us by knowing that we are not going through this alone.
You can also search in your community for programs that support medical professionals to connect with other professionals as well as get support.
6. Trust yourself
As a medical professional, it’s important that you are empowered with resources to help you identify your physical and psychological needs and how it impacts your wellbeing.
You are aware of what coping strategies can help you cope with stress and those that don’t.
Trust the strategies that have worked for you before and avoid negative habits that can worsen the situation.
Keep in mind that your mental health is as important as your physical health.
7. Seek therapy if need be
Medical professionals are trained that patients come first before them, however, in today’s world, that is impractical because you can not relieve someone of their suffering while you are in agony.
Self-care and therapy have not always been prioritized for medical professionals.
Practicing self-care, however, is imperative to cope with the stress and work-related challenges, and personal issues.
Working with a psychologist and therapist helps you navigate your own emotions and gives you an opportunity to build a coping mechanism to help you combat stress.
Knowing how to handle stressful situations and stress helps you create a more fulfilling career with a work-life balance.
Medical professionals should practice self-care, especially during these unprecedented times of COVID-19, which have led to a crisis and increased demands in medical care.
You can accomplish this by seeking assistance from your families and their community.
Be aware of your emotions and stress levels and seek emotional support from friends and professionals.
Practicing healthy habits such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising, or taking walks.
Getting adequate rest and sleep is especially imperative for reducing stress.
Finally, allow yourself to have an emotional outlet, whether it is through meditation, therapy, or journaling.
Creating time for yourself can also help you cope with stress; consider taking a certification at ProMed.
Embracing positive habits helps promote emotional resilience and mental well-being in the long run.