6 Ways to De-stress After Your Shift During Coronavirus
You don’t have to go through this alone! It is okay to reach out for support right now. Allowing yourself some space to feel your feelings and process what you are experiencing can help you improve your ability to take care of others. You have to be able to put your own oxygen mask on first in order to be there for others. When you attended medical school or nursing school you had no idea a pandemic was going to happen and you would be having to risk your life to care for others. It is okay to feel scared, angry, sad, and confused. This isn’t what you signed up for and yet you are putting your life at risk every shift to do what you were trained to do.
There is no easy way to cope with a pandemic. There is no quick way to resolve the grief, anger, fear, and despair you may be feeling right now. This is a traumatic experience for all healthcare providers. However, we do know that there are some things we can do to help us through traumatic times.
Tips to help
- Reach out to colleagues and others who can relate to the experiences you are going through.
- Practice yoga, meditations, mindfulness, or EFT tapping. You can also identify 5 senses or use apps like Insight Timer or Headspace or Down Dog.
- Identify 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each shift.
- Make time to feel your feelings and let them go. Sometimes our feelings can overwhelm us. If this happens, ask that feeling to take a step back so you can speak with that feeling. Approach the feeling from a place of curiosity and compassion. What is the feeling trying to protect you from? What does this feeling need from you in this moment to feel a little better? Sometimes all that feeling part needs is to be heard and validated. Maybe that feeling part needs to find a safe place to be for a while and you can agree to go back and check on this feeling part at a later time. All feeling parts are okay to experience.
- Try to disconnect from work when you get home by engaging in an activity to cause separation. Ideas may include going for a walk, taking a shower and imaging all of the difficulties from this shift washing off of you and down the drain, journaling, or processing the shift with a colleague.
- Practice self-care (hiking, fishing, reading, movies, etc) for at least 20 minutes after your shift ends.
Please don’t forget to recognize yourself for everything you are doing to help your community. Individuals go into healthcare professions because they want to help others. But please remember, if you don’t put your oxygen mask on first, you won’t be able to help very many people before you burn out. This pandemic isn’t going to be resolved in a few weeks, so please a find a way to ration your resources and take care of yourself first.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. We can get through this together. https://trustedtherapy.com
Tonya McFarland, PsyD, CEDS Psychologist in Colorado 303-709-5897