All over the world, healthcare workers have been working tirelessly to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Working on the front lines of a public health crisis can be difficult, exhausting, and stressful. While caring for patients is your number one priority as a healthcare worker, it is also important for medical professionals to be practicing good self-care habits. It is difficult to care for patients if you are burnt-out, so focusing on your mental, physical, and emotional health with healthy habits and self-care routines should always be prioritized. Here are five of the best habits every healthcare worker should have:
1) Schedule time for yourself. Whether it's relaxing with a book or completing a to-do list, every healthcare worker should allocate time in their week that is solely dedicated to themselves. Medical professionals have a career based around caring for others- it's okay to have “me time” to care for yourself. This ensures you are not neglecting your own wants and needs.
2) Slow down. There is a lot of urgency in the medical field, and it can become overwhelming to manage so many changing tasks. Slow down, find a way to prioritize your tasks in order of importance, and focus on one at a time. With organization, you can be confident in your ability to do everything you need to without becoming overwhelmed and frantic or forgetting something important.
3) Don’t neglect your sleep schedule. Sleep is needed for your body and mind to recharge for the next day, and getting enough sleep keeps our bodies physically healthy. It’s an essential function, so missing out on critical shut-eye can result in impaired functions and abilities, mood changes, and poor physical and mental health. Do not neglect the importance of regularly getting a good rest.
4) Make connections. Social distancing can have even the most introverted healthcare workers feeling isolated, so make sure to set time aside to (safely) genuinely connect with your co-workers, friends, and family. Even if it’s just a quick phone call, text, or video chat, reach out to the people who love and care about you.
5) Stick to your routines. COVID-19 has turned everyone’s routines upside down, and this can leave you feeling confused, upset, and flustered. Find out which routines (no matter how small) you still have control of and stick to them. Focus on the areas of life where you still have regularity and continuity, and you can establish a “new normal.”
Maintaining healthy habits and routines that focus on self-care can uplift, help, and encourage you as a healthcare worker. Taking control of your work-life balance by focusing on yourself can not only help you improve at your job as a medical professional but also become a better, less stressed, person overall.