6 Self-care Tips and Resources for Healthcare Providers
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were starting to realize that the Coronavirus and quarantine would last longer than we originally thought. And even though there has been a lot of progress with the Covid-19 vaccine and a decline in cases, we know that for many of you, this virus is still taking a toll on your mental, physical and emotional health.
Today, we’re encouraging you to take some much-needed time for yourself. Although those of us who work in healthcare are trained to put our patients first, it’s important to also practice what we preach, which means looking out for your health, too.
Here are 6 self-care tips for healthcare professionals, including a few contributed by ERC and Pathlight clinicians:
Check in on yourself
When is the last time you took a breath, found your center and paid attention to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing? This can be a challenge for busy healthcare workers who simply have no time for themselves throughout the day. But it’s vital.
During your next break or when you get home after a long day, sit in silence or with comforting music and look within. Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge how you’re feeling.
Turn off the noise
When the pandemic first started rolling out last year, many of us were glued to our phones and televisions trying to learn everything we could about what was happening. For many of us, this hasn’t stopped.
“Set boundaries with yourself. Understand that you cannot do it all in this moment and check-in with yourself throughout the day. Take breaks to disconnect and clear your mind. It is okay to do this outdoors, in a fresh space that is not your work space. You can use this time to gather your thoughts, ideas and solutions.”
-Tatum Carter, MA Alumni &Family Liaison, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston & The Woodlands
Communicate with your loved ones
Although life is becoming a little more “normal” than it was this time last year, many of us still don’t see our friends and family as much as we are used to. But connecting can help reduce stress and remind us all that we’re not alone.
"My top value that is being threatened the most during social distancing is my value of community. To stay connected, I am making more of an effort to schedule weekly video calls with my friends and family. While virtual might not be my preferred method of feeling connected, I am grateful that it is an option.
Healing does not have to happen alone if you are struggling, reach out to a friend, family member, and/or join a virtual support group!”
-Niki DuBois, LMSW, Alumni & Family Liaison, San Antonio, Austin and Virtual Programs
Join a support group for clinicians
One of the most important things to remember throughout all of this is that you’re not alone. Healthcare providers offer care to patients, but there are also ways for professionals to receive care as well.
Every Wednesday afternoon, ERC Pathlight offers the Clinician Connection Support Group. At noon MT, you can connect with other clinicians to ask questions, share your feelings, and discuss challenges that everyone is facing during these difficult times.
We know that clinicians may need a little extra support right now, and we are proud to facilitate this support group dedicated to you, from the courtesy of your home or office.
Find a soothing activity you enjoy
Hobbies and fun activities were, for the most part, put on the backburner during Covid. But if you aren’t participating in the activities that bring you joy, it could make life more stressful and even depressing.
“Take time to notice the simplest of pleasures: a moment of laughter, a comforting bite or drink, the sound of the birds at sunrise or sunset, the comfort of your bed. Whatever it is that gives you a moment of peace and serenity, it is fleeting and must be captured and enjoyed. These moments still exist, even during the most stressful times of our lives.”
-Lara Schuster Effland, LICSW, Regional Clinical Director, West
Go back to your routine
When the world feels heavy and we simply don’t have time in the day, oftentimes the first thing to go is our routine. As this “new normal” is rolling out, try to find your routine once again or create one.
“Find ways to create routine in your days. During all of this social distancing time, it can feel hard to differentiate one day from the next. One way to create some stability in your daily life is to create a few small elements of routine and structure. Try waking up at the same time every morning or going for a mid-afternoon walk around lunchtime. Maybe you can have a regular call set up with your best friend on the same day and time each week. You’d be surprised how grounding it can feel to have a little bit of structure in your day.”
-Samantha Lach, MA, LCPC Alumni &Family Liaison, Chicago & Ohio