Tips For Nurses To Manage Stress & Anxiety During the COVID-19
Nurses and other frontline healthcare workers should be active and thinking clearly during this pandemic time. As the COVID-19 has been with us for a long time, many nurses are finding themselves confronted with an overwhelmed feeling of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can suppress the immune system – and it will affect the patient’s care! That’s why stress and anxiety management is important for healthcare providers to stay well and continue their quality services! Focus on the below things to relieve your stress:
Proper COVID-19 Training
Proper COVID-19 training drills into you the effective measurements to take at the right moment. That’s the grounding you need at this very moment to adapt to the current situation. Because we haven’t found any vaccines yet, no one knows the proper health instructions to keep as the protocols change as we get to know more about COVID-19. As a nurse who works in direct contact with COVID-19 patients, you have to take extra precautions than everyone else. No one knows who will be the COVID-19 patient and who is not. The best you could do here is keep track of your patient data, and provide your best to ensure you are protecting yourself and others!
As a frontline nurse, you must be stressed about your risk of contracting COVID-19. Your training will teach you to plan for the unexpected. Having adequate knowledge of the precautions that you have to take will give you some relief. Talking more positive news with fellow nurses will help you in this situation.
Accept And Understand Your Emotions
You have to accept the fact that COVID-19 is here for a longer time, and continuing in this field you will have other emotions such as stress, anxiety, and grief to the continuing situation! The best way here is to accept and understand that you will have reflex reactions. Exercise self-compassion – work with a more supportive colleague! Recognize the fact that almost everyone who is going through this phase experiences these emotions! Having these emotions does not mean that you are weak! Understand that anyone who is continuously working in frontline healthcare is susceptible to trauma and stress. Know you will have to go through moral distress as you have to make more important decisions at this time.
When going through your busy shifts it’s possible to neglect self-care. Monitor your mental health for common signs of excessive stress. If you show symptoms of trauma and distress consider talking about your mental health with a superior and take adequate steps. Practicing breath exercises and eating healthy foods will somewhat help you to increase your productivity level.
Be In Touch With Your Friends And Family
While the world is hunkering down at home, nurses may have to continue work on their shifts dealing with their fear and anxiety around COVID-19 distress. While being there, they are forced to cut back their social interaction. Loneliness increases the impact of work-life stress. Being in the frontline of healthcare, you may be restricted to visit your loved ones also. There are still many options to get in touch with your friends and family in this pandemic time. If you are being too stressed about being lonely in this situation, get in touch with your family through Zoom, Facetime, or any other social media application! Studies show that face to face contact is more effective than a voice call. As many nurses are unable to visit their loved ones, connecting through social media is another option.
Spend Some Time With Nature
After your duty time – spend some alone time with nature. Many public areas might be still closed as the effects of the pandemic, but there are still places to go in your free time. You can take a walk or go hiking to a nearby area. It is possible to go hiking while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines – keep at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others. If you can you can also bring someone who is working on your same shift. A study by NCBI found that proper physical activity is able to reduce the impacts of stress, anxiety, and nursing burnout symptoms. Even though you may feel like taking some rest after your busy shifts, practicing mindfulness yoga will help you get active.
Watch Your Favorite Entertainment Programs
Laughing can help relieve stress and anxiety thoughts. It’s no joke when it comes to improving your mental health. Laughing has its own therapeutic benefits including reducing stress hormone levels, triggers the release of endorphins, calming the nervous system, and produces a general sense of well being. If you feel that anxiety is creeping up, spend some time watching your favorite entertainment programs. Just like, you are what you watch, take enough time to calm your mood by watching funny programs. Or you can simply engage yourself with your DIY projects.
Try Yoga And Mindfulness Meditation
The practice of yoga provides benefits such as stress reduction and a sense of well-being. Certain yoga poses can be done from anywhere and mindfulness meditation has become extremely popular in recent years. Rather than worrying about your future or past, regular meditation and yoga help you to concentrate on positive aspects of your life. They are considered as ancient methods to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. When you first start practicing your meditation you may find your mind wandering through all the states. Regular concentrated meditation will help you to achieve better results and mental satisfaction.
Have More Nutritious, Healthy Foods
Nurses are the great instructors on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with nutritious rich foods. Even though taking your own advice on stressful times may seem hard. But what works well for quality patient care also works well for nurses’ health. As you may have been going through COVID-19 stress and anxiety, your mental health and the immune system is interrelated. Boost your immunity by having more rich nutritious food in your diet. Some of the immune-boosting foods include ginger, turmeric, yogurt, garlic, leafy greens, and citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and grapefruits.
Talk To A Fellow Healthcare Staff Or Therapist
You may have taken proper decisions in your life till now, from choosing your nursing school to joining your healthcare facility. But you may not have been prepared for the uncertainty in the nursing field – nursing burnout, stress, anxiety, and the following long hour shifts. If you are feeling all the COVID-19 tension and stress on you, consider talking to a fellow healthcare staff or therapist. Practicing mindfulness and taking care of your health will help you at some point. But talking with your colleague who is going through the same phase will calm your stress. If you can’t make it to a therapist’s office at this time, explore telehealth options!
Being stressful in this situation is very common – especially among frontline healthcare workers. Selfcare for nurses is more important than ever as they don’t have any other choice but focus on providing quality care for their patients. We are all in this together!