As a travel nurse or allied healthcare provider, your main concern most days is the health and wellbeing of others, and, understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened that concern on multiple levels. In addition to caring for your patients, you now have the added worry about the health and well-being of your loved ones, friends and neighbors. People have lost jobs and businesses, kids have faced major disruptions in education and socialization, and social injustice and political disagreements have led to violence in the streets. Everyone has suffered from at least some form of isolation. It’s very likely that the caring nature that steered you into a healthcare career has made you a shoulder, or in light of these socially distant times, an ear for a number of people trying to cope with all the chaos. There’s one person you may have forgotten to check on as you stretch yourself ever thinner caring for those in need around you: you.
Hospitals Recognize and Address the Impact of COVID-19 Stress on Healthcare Workers
Thousands of travel nurses and allied healthcare providers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, and that in itself has caused increased stress, anxiety and depression in many of them. Being overwhelmed with patients and their families experiencing pain and loss, longer than usual working hours, seeing coworkers battle the virus and of course their own increased risk and exposure have all taken a toll. One hospital system found that 40% of their healthcare workers experience pandemic-induced problems such as anxiety, depression, family conflict, irritability, exhaustion, trouble eating and sleeping and increased substance use. The hospital system created a number of virtual peer support groups to help employees deal with all of these issues, and hundreds of them have participated.
Self-Care Routine Critical for Healthcare Workers Experiencing Stress Caused by Covid-19
Travel nurses and allied healthcare providers are often caring to a fault when it comes to their own health and well-being. You get so used to helping others feel better, both physically and mentally, that you may even feel guilty spending any of that nurturing energy on yourself. It is critical that you create some form of self-care routine, however, especially now. Create a daily appointment with yourself for “me time” and be vigilant about keeping it, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes at a time on some days. Go to a quiet place to meditate, take a walk in nature or just zone out to your favorite music or sitcom reruns. You owe it to yourself, you deserve it, and most importantly, it is vital for the optimization of your own physical and mental strength during these turbulent times. By the way, if you’ve never mediated and you want to give it a try, this popular guided meditation app is offering free access to healthcare workers through 2020.