As frontline members of the healthcare system, you spend much of your time looking after others, and not enough time looking after yourself. During these unprecedented times, it is important to protect your own mental health and wellbeing. Although it might be difficult to think about yourself during this period of uncertainty and stress, it is crucial.
In light of this, we have created some pointers on how you can best look after yourself during these difficult and challenging times. Please share this with you colleagues, be it, other members of the healthcare sector or people within your own Pharmacy. It is important that we all keep connected and compassionate so that together, we can fight to overcome these overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
5 Tips for Safeguarding your Mental Health
Look After Number 1
Looking after yourself should be your number one priority. What use would you be if you didn’t take care of yourself? You cannot help anyone if you don’t look after yourself first.
1. SWITCHING OFF - Sometimes the pressure and emotional upset of the day can interrupt your sleep and cause you to be irritated and stressed. This is why it is so important to TAKE A STEP BACK & UNWIND. Do something you enjoy before bed to take your mind off it. Go for a walk, read a book or even avail of some hard earned Netflix and Chill time.
2. EATING HEALTHY - Your food is your mood! No seriously. By eating healthy and building up your immune system, you’ll not only make yourself less likely to catch the virus but you’ll also put yourself in a much better form.
3. EXERCISE - I mean, what else are you going to do during a lockdown? Get outside and get some fresh air. Even as much as a walk will be enough to clear your head of the thoughts you are harbouring and give you the positive endorphins that you need to lift your mood and judgement skills.
You can't control everything
You can’t control everything that comes to you, but you can control how it makes you feel. Understand that sometimes things happen and you have to just let it be. Don’t beat yourself up.
1. Acceptance: Accept the things you can control and let go of what you can’t and be okay with things not being perfect.. They won’t be for a while.
2. Prioritise: Put the most important and urgent tasks first. Everything else can wait.
3. Self Care: Be kind to yourself. Understand that there is only so much that you can do.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because, when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Practicing these in the workplace will help you to relieve stress, reduce tension and relax.
At the height of stress or where you just feel pushed to the limit, take yourself out of the dispensary and do this:
- Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and breath out for 4 seconds and repeat.
- Try the Headspace App to keep you focussed on the present - guided meditations start from 3 minutes.
Your health is your wealth
Your health is your wealth, especially when it comes to your mental health. Try to LIMIT your news and social media intake. Set a time where you will stop working and stick to it, be sure to build in some downtime to enjoy doing activities and exercise regularly.
It will be OK. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Make a point of increasing phone calls, texts and facetime video chats to friends near and far. Take this opportunity to connect with people on a 1:1 basis, instead of always catching up through social media posts.
Finally, Look after eachother. It's easy to hunker down and concentrate on all the negatives but this only builds on your anxiety and stress.
That's all from us for now, so stay safe, stay positive — and stay COVID-negative!