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The Nurses’ and CNAs’ Guide to Self-Care

Due to the current events, and most notably the epidemic of COVID-19, health care professionals are working harder than they ever have. Not to mention, there is the added stress of protecting yourself and keeping your loved ones safe. As a health care worker, it’s hard to be expected to constantly adjust to new rules and regulations and stress that the unknown can bring. 

Feeling a constant sense of urgency can make it hard to relax and decompress, leaving you vulnerable to stress-related illness and mental exhaustion. Take some time to rejuvenate your mind and body so that you can maintain your emotional health and remain sharp and focused at work. 

Follow Our List of Self-care Suggestions

Whether you are feeling the pressures of the job getting to you or not, check out our tips and tricks to help you stay refreshed and ready to take on the next day.

  1. Take a break from the media. Watching the news on TV too often can leave you feeling depressed or anxious, according to a study done by Psychology Today. This applies to social media as well, so it’s best to unplug or even delete news apps from your phone if they are triggering, or you’re in the habit of clicking on them out of habit.
  2. Reach out for emotional support. Friends and family can provide a lot of support and laughter. Nothing helps brighten your mood more than bonding with the people you love.
  3. Make sure you are practicing healthy habits. Maintain a balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods. Also, it’s important to get your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day to boost serotonin and endorphin levels.
  4. Sleep for eight hours each day/night. Make sure it’s uninterrupted sleep you’re getting. Sleep should be a priority and having healthy sleep habits is essential in helping regulate moods, and rejuvenate the body. Sleep disorders and poor sleep habits are linked to irritability and depression, a study from Harvard University shows.
  5. Get the support of your co-workers. If possible, organize a night to hang out with some co-workers. Nobody will be able to understand your situation as well as they can. Discussing stressful events and past experiences could leave you with suggestions about how to cope better in the future.
  6. Avoid alcohol and other substances. There is a common perception that having a drink can unwind you after a stressful day, but truthfully alcohol acts as a depressant, and relying on alcohol for the quick mood boost can actually be habit-forming. Consuming too much alcohol will eventually lead to problems with depression and anxiety.

Taking care of ourselves as health care workers needs to be put before caring for the needs of others. It’s like the airline industry enforces: Put your mask on first before attempting to help others. We need to apply that same theory to health care professionals and patient care. Having health care workers who advocate for self-care will carry over into the work we do with patients. 

Interested in picking up some extra shifts on a per diem basis? Connect with one of our Clipboard Health specialists or download the app today.