Self-Care for Medical Professionals: 4 Simple Practices That Can Help
As a healthcare worker, you are constantly putting the needs of others above your own. You must put your own safety at stake in order to keep others safe and healthy during the COVID-19 epidemic. It’s not simply your competence or broad understanding of science and medicine that makes you an indispensable employee; it’s the way you treat people as a whole.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to forget about yourself when you’re so focused on the needs of others. Health workers must also practice holistic self-care. Ignoring self-care can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue, which is a condition caused by repeated exposure to stress or trauma.
As you continue to offer so much of yourself to others, it’s critical that you recharge and reconnect with what makes you happy at least on a regular basis. Taking care of yourself isn’t self-indulgent; it’s necessary!
Through so-called “micro-caring” methods, you can take modest steps toward appropriate self-care. To assist you in prioritizing your health, we’ve identified four simple and doable practices that can help.
#1 – Set Boundaries
Knowing your boundaries and intelligently planning your time commitments are the first steps in self-care for medical professionals. This is true in both your professional and personal lives.
Aside from your hospital job, you probably have a lot of other duties that weigh heavily on your mind. Make sure to schedule time for your most fundamental and vital requirements. Eat healthy, spend time with your family, and get plenty of rest. To avoid burnout, make it a point to actively convey your demands to your leaders and team members.
#2 – Nourish Your Physical Health
Most medical staff spend a considerable portion of each day on their feet, delivering patient care and making key decisions regarding diagnosis and treatments, which requires a high level of physical vitality and mental clarity. Nurses should be persistent in their exercise and intentional in their food choices to maintain the highest degree of stamina and energy. A healthy lifestyle can help them not only improve their physical abilities, but also provide a positive example for their patients.
- Eat with Wellness in Mind
In a medical profession, your body is your livelihood, and it is critical that you take care of it. If you work in a fast-paced atmosphere, you may frequently run out of time.
This can provide issues for you in terms of healthy eating, as shift work, office food selections, and limited access to meal breaks may drive you to rely on a diet heavy in fat, sodium, sugar, and additives. Remember that your body is a machine that requires you to make decisions about what foods to feed it.
The advantages are numerous, including keeping you energized for extended periods of time, assisting you in maintaining a healthy weight, assisting your body’s ability to battle sicknesses, lowering blood pressure, and many more. Spend 10 minutes each week planning a healthy lunch and snack to bring to your shift.
- Add Movement
We all know that exercise is important for self-care, and healthcare workers are no exception. Despite this, we frequently neglect to exercise due to more pressing obligations in our daily schedules. Allowing crucial commitments to physical self-care to take precedence over pressing items on your to-do list, on the other hand, could be a short- and long-term investment in your health.
Our bodies produce endorphins when we workout. Endorphins are natural pain relievers that also aid in sleep. They can also improve your mood and boost your self-esteem.
When exercise is done on a regular basis, it is most beneficial. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day can provide health benefits. Consider riding a stationary bike while watching TV or going for a short walk after dinner.
- Recharge Your Body with Good Sleep
The importance of sleep in the rejuvenation of the body cannot be overstated. Regular rest is an important aspect of caring for your health, as it strengthens the immune system and regulates hormone production. Mark Wu, M.D., Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins sleep expert and neurologist, says that “the brain is engaged in a number of tasks fundamental to life—which are directly tied to quality of life” during good sleep.
#3 – Make Room for Relationships
Human beings are social animals. Because medical workers are natural nurturers, connection and community can be quite important to you. Relational ties enable us to achieve your goals. Other individuals are required in the process of expanding your hearts, minds, and souls.
Identify the most important connections in your life and give them your undivided attention. You’ll find that spending time with the people who help you grow and live your best life once you’ve found the healthy, reciprocal connections in your life. Building healthy connections at work and outside of work takes time and effort, but the peace of mind is well worth it.
#4 – Nurture Your Spirit
Make a positive start to your day. Many of us experience unpleasant thoughts on a regular basis. When we are pessimistic, our self-esteem, mood, and attitude can all suffer. Make a conscious effort to develop positive daily habits, such as rising a few minutes earlier and spending time in prayer, meditation, self-reflection, or journaling. Do it on a regular basis, whatever that looks like for you.
Positive self-talk can also help you improve your self-esteem, reduce stress, and manage unpleasant emotions. Changing your self-talk to be affirming and positive takes practice, but it’s a useful tool for how you see yourself and react to circumstances.
Perhaps it’s also time to take up a new activity or pursue a hidden love outside of work. Take a lesson or join a group to boost your creativity. If you’re an extrovert, being part of a group may energize you even more.
However, you go about it, be sure to take some time to take care of you.