The COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot our communities months after its initial outbreak and spread. As we move into a cautious summer, the discussion around the physical and social impacts has steadily been making room for talk about a subtler kind of health issue: the psychological effects that the disease has brought. The anxiety, stress, and trauma associated with the novel coronavirus is affecting mental health across the world, and front-line healthcare workers are some of the most vulnerable.
Practical nurses are used to being those that help increase others’ comfort and well-being, but even those in the role of a caretaker require care and support. The stresses of practical nurses’ usual fast-paced and highly emotional working environments have been amplified by the current pandemic. Fortunately, there are a few methods that can contribute to a healthier psychological state during these unprecedented times.
Limit Your Engagement with the News
The desire to know is fundamental to being human, and having instantaneous and constant access to an endless stream of information can fulfill these needs. But occasionally, our quest for knowledge leans into toxicity rather than helpfulness. Though the news is always being updated with new information on the different outbreaks of the coronavirus throughout the world, and government’s efforts to contain them, it’s unnecessary to try and consume every piece of news.
The fact that the news is so accessible to us can feed into obsessive scrolling for new information. Though it’s good to stay updated, be careful that it doesn’t become an anxious fixation. Set some ground rules to limit your engagement: once or twice a day is sufficient time to keep yourself in the know. At the very least, keep the news away from your bedroom or other places of rest and comfort.
Those in a Practical Nursing Career Must Care for their Bodies
Just because you may be busy caring for other people’s bodies during your practical nursing career, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also take care of yourself. Physical and mental health are connected, and one often affects the other. For this reason, healthy habits can also benefit your mental health as well.
There are some simple ways that your body can get the care it needs. Make sure to maintain a healthy diet by eating well-balanced and nutritious meals. Try to get enough sleep every night, which can be helped by banning stimulating electronic devices from your place of rest. Avoid alcohol and other substances, and take time each day to practice deep breathing, stretching, and/or meditation.
Tend to Your Social Needs
Though the combination of social distancing measures and the burden of the healthcare system may make taking time for socializing feel impossible, it’s still necessary. Taking the time to genuinely connect with others and talk about your feelings and concerns can make all the difference in your day to day life. Try to talk to your fellow front-line workers or fellow practical nursing college graduates, who will have a more intimate understanding of your stresses and anxieties. Scheduling calls and video chats with friends and family can also help.
Speaking to a mental health professional is another way to boost your resilience during this time of stress. The Canadian Psychological Association, for example, is donating time to offer free phone sessions to front-line healthcare providers. Taking advantage of mental health services could be beneficial to your mental health.
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