Caring for the future of healthcare starts with caring for the future of nursing and nurses. Nursing under the best of circumstances can be a strain on mental health, but with the pandemic, reports of nurse burnout are increasing. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that almost half of health workers said they were burned out amid Covid-191. Burnout can lead to missed work, reduced patient outcomes, and nurses leaving the field.
While caring for patients, you must care for yourself as well. Stay hydrated, eat healthy snacks, and keep a check on your mental health.
Knowing the symptoms of too much stress is the first step towards caring for your mental health. The Well-Being Initiative put together a guide to six signs that you are having excessive stress2. Those symptoms are:
- Physical Changes: headaches, muscle aches, nausea, exhaustion, etc.
- Sleep Troubles: Insomnia, nightmares, difficulty falling asleep
- Emotional Changes: sadness, irritability, anxiety, etc.
- Trouble Thinking Clearly: difficulty concentrating or making decisions, confusion, etc.
- Risk Taking: over-use of alcohol, unnecessary risks, drug use, etc.
- Social Difficulties: conflicts, withdrawal, blaming others, etc.
The guide (found here) goes into each of these symptoms in greater detail, but if you’re noticing these signs in your life, it may be time to take steps to help your mental health.
The American Nurses Association put together some resources for little things you can do to help relieve stress3. Some of their tips are:
- Make Handwashing Your Time – At work, use your 20 seconds of handwashing to relax, think positive thoughts, or just sing your favorite song.
- Take a Lap – Focus on your breathing while taking a lap around your department.
- Prioritize Sleep – Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Enjoy Nature – Spend time outside when possible
- Stay Positive – Have morning affirmations, focus on what you can control, meditate, and catch negative thoughts and turn them positive.
We only summarized just a few. We urge you to read the full guide here. We know that sometimes making positive changes in your life won’t be enough. If you still find that you are overly stressed, then it may be time to reach out for help.
If you’re a Davin Healthcare nurse, one of the best resources is our telehealth system, which features mental health services. Reach out to your recruiter to learn more about this service.
If you’re not a Davin nurse, there are many resources available to help you. The first place you can start is your healthcare provider. Speak about your symptoms and they can provide a referral to seek the care that you need.
You can also check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (https://www.nami.org/Home). Not only does their site offer education and resources, but they also have a toll-free helpline for those with questions and support.
Another excellent resource is Mental Health America (https://mhanational.org/). Similar to NAMI, MHA provides education, tools for better mental health, and aids in finding help.
And last, if you are having any thoughts about harming yourself or taking your life, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Chat is also available on their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
In times of crisis, you must take time to take care of yourself. Listen to your body and monitor your mental health. If you see symptoms, it’s best not to act or put off self-care. And don’t ever feel ashamed for asking for help. You are there to help others. It’s okay to have help for yourself.