The stress that COVID-19 has placed on our health care workers is immense. Exhaustion, frustration and feeling overwhelmed has become a daily norm for many of our beloved medical professionals who are on the frontlines fighting COVID-19. Hospitals struggle to find space to help those with the virus while at the same time continuing to care for all their other patients too. “All hands on deck” is not just a term used for a crew of a ship but can now also be used for a crew of a hospital.
During this very difficult time, it’s more important than ever that we take care of our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals as we battle this pandemic. Since these are unprecedented times, typical stress management techniques are not enough to help these caring professionals deal with their stressful jobs. They need an emotional first aid kit to promote a resilient mindset as they battle this devastating virus.
Here are some emotional first aid tips to help those on the front-lines battling COVID-19:
You are not alone.
At times, it can feel like a lonely and uphill battle fighting COVID-19, especially after a long and grueling shift. Remember you are not alone; you are part of a medical team and system fighting this pandemic and can also feel confident that your loved ones and your community are behind you in this fight. The duty to care and to protect others is probably part of what drives you to get up and go to work every day, but just remember you are not doing it alone. You are part of a band of brothers and sisters combatting this virus. We are truly all in this together.
Compassion for Yourself
It’s more important than ever to remember to be kind to yourself during this challenging time. You are dealing with frustration and grief everyday especially as we continue to understand and get ahead of this virus.
You are probably surrounded by the virus every moment of your day as you care for your patients at work and then come home where your loved ones are talking about it as well. You may not even be able to escape it as the media inundates us with information about COVID-19 throughout the day. The ultimate compassion you can show yourself is to soothe your stress in whatever way that works best for you.
Find moments throughout your day where you take a mental break and decompress. Self-care is key! Sleep, hydrate, exercise, connect with family/friends, play vide games, watch Netflix. Pamper yourself. Don’t forget to enjoy your pets, they miss and love you too.
Know Your Worth
You may already know that you do a very important job but now more than ever, you will be a part of history as we battle this epic virus. You are brave and courageous. You persevere even when you’re so exhausted both mentally and physically. Be proud of the work you do each day and who you are. Society salutes you and stands behind you and let this be the motivation that helps keep you going.
Know that this is not going to last forever.
There are so many unknowns related to COVID-19 which is what instills a lot of collective anxiety but do know that this pandemic will end. There will be a point when we will be able to breathe easier and slow down. We will have learned so much not just about COVID-19 but about ourselves and our resilience as a species on this planet. We may only initially remember the dire effects of the pandemic, such as the grief and loss it brought to us, the loss life as well as the limits to our freedom as we abided by the safety measures to contain the virus. But do believe that ultimately, we will prevail as we always do to overcome hardship as a collective human spirit.
Please use this emotional first aid kit as a tool for yourself as you care for those with COVID-19. Please remember to be grateful for your team as you are not alone in this fight, to be compassionate and gentle with yourself as you are such an important soldier in this battle that will not last forever because we will win the war. Thank you for all that you do.