Since the onset of the pandemic, healthcare providers have encountered unprecedented challenges. As a result, their mental health has been impacted during the prolonged pandemic.
“As we moved toward the end of 2020, the impact on healthcare professionals was becoming clear, ranging from sleep disturbance, fatigue, nightmares, mood disruptions, people were showing signs of burnout. We are not meant to stay in a stress response state for extended periods of time and we need additional resources in order to maintain resilience in the face of this unrelenting demand,” said Ryan Van Wyk, PsyD, LP, psychologist at North Memorial Health specializing in the treatment of trauma, PTSD and dissociative disorders.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic and the demands it places on us, personally and professionally, here are some simple ways to help us manage stress, according to Dr. Van Wyk:
- Take time every day to do a pulse check, recognize what is happening in the moment and identify and acknowledge the state of your emotions and physiology.
- Identify ways that you personally experience restoration. This can include using tools (like Heart Math or meditation apps) to settle your system, listening to music, spending time outside, enjoying hobbies or simply taking a walk.
- Build intentional transition practices between work and home. This can be physical, like working out; relational, such as connecting with a co-worker, friend or loved one; or taking time for stillness through a practice such as meditation.
- Schedule opportunities to connect with others. Relationships are a vital resource in the face of stress and can uniquely settle our nervous system. Take time to reach out to a co-worker when you’re struggling or schedule regular times to connect with friends, whether in person or virtually. We need each other to get through these challenging times.