Suffice to say that the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on the mental health of nurses everywhere. According to a recent survey in Nursing Times, almost two-thirds of nurses feel their mental health has deteriorated since the pandemic hit its initial peak last spring. Even as more people are praising the work of our nursing community, it’s still not enough.
While it’s our collective hope that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, we all know that nursing can be a stressful, emotionally difficult profession no matter what. So it’s more important than ever that nurses have the tools to maintain their ongoing mental health in a post-pandemic society. Here are some tips that our team at Eminent have found useful:
Professional Support is More Convenient, Affordable, and Discreet Than Ever
Mental health issues are not nearly as taboo as they once were. Even still, the notion that we need to pull up our bootstraps and deal with our issues in solitude is a deep-seated fallacy and extraordinarily difficult to dispel.
This, combined with the misconception that seeking professional help is difficult, expensive and could expose someone to the scrutiny of others can put people in real need in a dangerous situation.
So it’s more important than ever to recognize these two crucial facts:
- You are not alone. More people than ever are opening up about their struggles and they’re finding incredibly supportive communities who can offer real help and support.
- There are several organizations committed to making professional help more convenient, affordable and discreet than ever before.
Professional support is out there. Finding a therapist to speak with can make a real difference for our nurses who need help understanding and coping with job related stress and trauma the pandemic has created in their workplace.
Give yourself a pass
Although many nurses strive for it, no one is perfect all the time. Please be sure to give yourself a pass. Mistakes will happen and we all know things rarely go according to plan. That’s OK. Lingering on what “could, would, and should” won’t benefit anyone in the long run. Be ready to move on.
Have a safety net in place
According to one of the Nursing Times survey respondents, “There is no safety net. We are all tired and exhausted as there’s no let-up.”
Chances are most nurses can relate to this sentiment. So consider what type of safety net you can create for yourself. Perhaps you can find support from current or former colleagues. Sometimes a friend or family member who works in a different industry can provide an outsider’s perspective.
Consider participating in virtual support groups and/or chats from your state nurses’ associations, organizations or Facebook groups.
What’s most important is to assemble a group of friends and professionals you can rely on to support you through this difficult time, and beyond.
Take time for self-care
One of the top factors to increased stress levels and anxiety among nurses was a failure to self-care at work. This is no mystery, given the incredibly busy schedules and long hours nurses often work.
That is why it’s so important to take the time to ensure you’re getting breaks throughout the day. Even if it’s to get outside and take a short walk. Any time you can take away from work and clear your mind can help you relax and rejuvenate and positively impact both your physical and mental health.
Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
There’s no doubt about it. During the past year we’ve collectively faced a great deal of negativity and nurses have unfairly bore the brunt of it. All the more reason to, quoting the famous Bing Crosby song, accentuate the positive. Looking at the positive aspects of situations can greatly improve your mental health and carry over to your interactions with patients and co-workers.
Contact Us and Let’s Get to Work
We know how difficult it can be to be a nurse. That’s why we are committed to supporting our nursing candidates any way we can. We are actively hiring registered nurses, and we want to help you find a position that’s right for you. Contact us and let’s get to work.