Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Welcome to Rose-Minded, a mental health blog and self-care brand supporting others through their journey. We love to encourage journaling, self-care, and sharing your story to promote healing and recovery. Continue reading below for guest writer Ruth's 5 simple self-care tips for workers in the healthcare field!
Do you work in the healthcare industry? Are you finding it more and more challenging to make time for yourself? I’m here to tell you that it is vital to try. Healthcare workers are very vulnerable to suicide. Even if an adverse outcome was inevitable for the patient, in the long run, seeing so much pain can cause depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, death rates have risen drastically all over the world, and healthcare workers are under a lot of pressure. That is why making time for some self-care is so important. Not only do you deserve it, but it’s a fine line between good and poor mental health.
1. Stay Healthy
When you are working through a long shift, it is easy to forget about healthy eating. If anything, you are more likely to crave sugar to get more energy running through your body. Healthcare work can be incredibly tiring.
However, it is still vital that you stick to a healthy diet. Eat a proper lunch during your break with all the types of food and vitamins that your body needs. Not enough will make you feel worse and isn't worth it if you want to keep on looking after people to a high standard. It's difficult to care for others if you don't care for yourself.
Drink Plenty Of Water
The best way to stay healthy throughout the workday is to drink plenty of water. It is a crucial part of self-care.
The National Academy Of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that the required amount of water for a woman is 2.7 liters, and a man needs a higher 3.7 liters. Not drinking enough water can make you feel awful. It can affect concentration levels and your mental health as a whole, causing mood swings and fatigue.
Don't let this get the better of you. It may get too busy to remember all the time but at least try to take a sip of water every 10 minutes. Doing this only takes a few seconds and is worth it for the sake of your mental health. I recommend getting a water bottle which shows how much you should have drunk by a specific time. This way, you know where you are at, even if things get overwhelming at work.
2. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Another person recommending plenty of sleep? Yes. Rest is an essential part of our lives and is especially necessary within the healthcare field when you need to be "on the ball" at all times.
Before my full-time job, I would go to sleep at 3 am every night. I would wake up late, feeling extremely sick, and my day wouldn’t start properly until the late afternoon. When you work in the healthcare industry, your day begins when your shift starts. There is nothing worse than working on only a few hours of sleep, especially in such a demanding job.
Benefits Of Sleep
Not only is sleep an excellent and straightforward form of self-care, but it also has many other great benefits. The benefits include:
Stress and depression reduction
Makes you more alert
These advantages can help you to shine as a healthcare worker. Don’t let something so simple get in the way of your potential. Sleep, take naps and let your brain and body rest. It’s worth it once you get into the habit and your mental health will improve so much.
3. Keep In Contact
When you work in the healthcare industry, it is easy to let your amount of social interaction slip. You may get a message from a friend and forget to reply after your shift. It’s understandable. However, keeping in contact with friends and maintaining a social life is essential when trying to stay “sane”. They can make sure you enjoy yourself in between shifts and take your mind off many bad experiences during the pandemic.
Depending on where you are, it may not be possible to meet up with friends right now, but you can still call or message them. If you are feeling stressed, pick up the phone and avert your mind.
Self-Care With Friends
Seeing friends can be a part of your self-care routine and they can also help you to complete them on your days off. Invite them out for walks with you, go to the gym, make a healthy meal, watch a film together. Anything. As long as it will make you feel good or it’s something you genuinely enjoy. Doing these activities with a friend could make them even more enjoyable, and you more willing to do them more often. Your friend will help you to keep your mind off work and focus on the now.
Working in healthcare can get intense, and you could be rushing around all over the place. Remember to stop and breathe whenever you need too. There are many breathing exercises that you can do during your breaks or on your days off also. Start practicing and get into the habit.
Deep Breathing For Self-Care
My favorite exercise that you can practice is deep breathing. It is quick, simple, and doesn’t involve any yoga poses. Therefore you can do it anywhere even during your breaks at work. Your colleagues will be none the wiser if you are embarrassed. The process is straightforward and as follows:
Place your hand over your belly button and take a big breath inward. Doing this will expand your stomach.
When you breathe out, pull your belly towards your spine. Make sure to exhale for longer than you inhaled.
Repeat this 5-10 times.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
As a healthcare worker, you may have to witness or deal with a lot. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over things you can’t control. Remember to be kind and not put yourself or your abilities down. It may be hard to do at times, especially right now, but reminding yourself you are working during a pandemic may help you feel stronger.
Positive Affirmations For Self-Care
If you struggle with positive thinking, I recommend using positive affirmations. The word affirm means to state something as real. A positive affirmation is a beautiful statement that we say out loud or in our heads about ourselves. These are the complete opposite of negative thoughts and a fantastic way of fighting them off. Give them a try and get into the habit of using them. Even if you just write them down at first.
Wrapping It Up
Self-Care can be tough when you work in healthcare. It may seem that you don’t have time for it. However, most forms of self-care are incredibly simple and something you can easily make a permanent part of your life. You have worked so hard looking after people throughout the pandemic and risking your lives daily. You deserve to be happy after all this stress and self-care is the way to do it.
If you want more self-care ideas, you can check out my posts:
About the Author
Ruth Shapter is a Mental Health Blogger and Freelance Writer from the United Kingdom. She crafts her writing from research and personal experience and speaks from the heart.
Writers Website: https://ruthshapterwrites.com