4 Things Healthcare Professionals Can Do to Combat COVID-19 Burnout
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has led to stress and burnout for countless people. But healthcare workers have been uniquely affected. Healthcare professionals who have spent the past year caring for patients on the front lines of the pandemic are widely suffering from burnout. From long shifts in the hospital to dealing with their fears about bringing the virus home, they have been living under the burden of stress for months on end. As therapists, many of us have been feeling the stress of having the “hold space” for our clients, as we have been struggling with our own adjustment to this reality. It has been much more challenging to do that for all of us.
Yet many feel guilty for even acknowledging their own burnout. They may tell themselves to simply push through it. Some may feel that they don’t have the right to complain when some of their patients are dealing with bigger problems. But burnout in healthcare workers is a serious issue that deserves more attention. If you are a healthcare worker living with burnout day in and day out, these tips may help you navigate these trying times.
Care For Your Physical Health
First, it’s important to prioritize your physical health. When you’re working long hours, this can be challenging. But you do not have to cook elaborate meals, work out for hours on end, or take expensive supplements to be physically healthy.
Choose healthy meals and snacks that are quick and easy to prepare. Cut down on your caffeine intake by drinking water or decaf tea rather than a third cup of coffee. If you’re spending most of your time indoors and rarely get enough sun, try taking a mood-boosting supplement like Vitamin D. And while it can be tough on your schedule, strive to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Lean on Your Network
Your coworkers know what you’re going through. Opening up to your friends at work can certainly help you process your feelings. If you come together, you may be able to work with management to improve the environment and conditions at your workplace. And don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends outside of work for help, too.
Talk to everyone in your household about taking on some more errands and chores to ease up on your domestic workload. Call up your friends and let them know you need someone to lean on right now. Chances are, they’ll want to know what they can do to help.
Unplug Outside of Work
When you come home from work, how do you typically spend your time? You might be tempted to scroll through social media or check out the latest headlines. Yes, staying informed is important.
But there’s a high probability that you’re already aware of the most recent news regarding the pandemic and staying plugged in outside of work is only bringing down your mood. This could be a good time to take a break from social media usage and reduce your overall media consumption.
You may think that you’re too busy to go to therapy. Or you might assume that your problems aren’t serious enough. But therapy can provide real relief to people who are living with burnout. Plus, you can pursue options like virtual therapy, which you can easily fit into any schedule. Instead of commuting to an office, you can chat with your therapist on the phone or over video chat.
Your therapist will give you the space and time you need to express your feelings, open up about your burnout, and vent when you need to. Then, you can work together to brainstorm potential solutions for long-term improvement. Having my own therapist during these times have been a life saver and I cherish my weekly “me time” with her.
Are you a healthcare professional struggling with burnout as you work through the COVID-19 pandemic? Therapy can help even the busiest of healthcare workers. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.