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How Healthcare Professionals Can Care for Themselves During a Pandemic

How Healthcare Professionals Can Care for Themselves During a Pandemic
Written by Guest Author

Selfcare has become, over the last five years, common vocabulary in the home and the workplace.  As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the world, selfcare has become a movement.

Being a healthcare professional during the pandemic is a tall order indeed. Exposure to the Covid-19 virus for healthcare professionals is non-negotiable.  It is essential that healthcare professionals then stay in their best form and keep their immune systems functioning at their highest levels to keep any sickness at bay. 

Our top 5 ways for healthcare professionals exercise selfcare are: 

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Our bodies are our temples and our machines, even though sometimes we can forget to treat ourselves with mechanical precision.  The Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect reason to become more conscious of diet and food intake for healthcare professionals in order to boost the immune system. 

Taking a daily multivitamin for either men or women as may be needed is a great first step.  There are a wide range of pre-formulated multivitamins on the market at your local pharmacy or online pharmacy. 

Buy a multivitamin that, at a minimum, ensures the recommended daily intake of: 

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Zinc, and
  • Iron.

Busy schedules can sometimes make for inadequate daily nutrition through food intake, and for healthcare professionals, making sure to chew a gummy or take a gel coated multivitamin each day is essential.

Keeping nerve and blood cells healthy, maintaining energy levels, combating inflammation, regulating bone density, balancing blood sugar, and fighting depression are just some of the benefits of taking a multivitamin.  This is definitely the most efficient use of 5 seconds we can think of for practicing selfcare during the pandemic.

It is important that healthcare professionals stay in their best form and keep their immune systems functioning at their highest levels to keep any sickness at bay.

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In keeping with maintaining a healthy diet, healthcare professionals should also aim to eat balanced meals without a significant amount of saturated fats to ensure heart health and also drink plenty of water (nearly a gallon a day for an average sized adult).

To eat your best, try to pack snacks ahead of time and choose fruits and vegetables to supplement meals.  Also, don’t forget your water bottle!

2. De-stress at Work

De-stress at work you say?  Is that even possible? 

Yes! In today’s sometimes hectic healthcare environments, stress is inevitable.  To help smooth out the workweek, have all of your work gear ready before your shifts begin

Once you get to work, make it a habit to include time to de-stress during the workday. Taking adequate daily breaks during the workday is a requirement. 

Taking a few 10-minute to 15-minute breaks during the workday to go outside and take a walk or sit down with a pair of noise canceling headphones to retreat from the workplace make all of the difference. 

Having a short time to clear our heads, stretch, meditate, and even take a short walk outside is an easy way to help keep our bodies feeling less stressed!

Downloading a short meditative recording and listening to it using your favorite ear pods or noise canceling headphones is a great way to take a short break anyplace – even at your desk. Simply close your eyes, press play, and breathe.

3. Rest and Exercise

We can’t be at our best without enough sleep. When we are working long hours in sometimes stressful environments, it can be hard to wind down and fall asleep in order to get plenty of rest before the next shift. 

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Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule should be a focus for busy healthcare professionals during the pandemic.  Getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night is the recommended amount of sleep for adults. Ensuring there is enough time to get home, wind down, and rest can be challenging for healthcare workers who are working long hours. 

Pay attention to your body’s internal rhythm and make an effort to relax before bed.  Taking a warm shower or bath, drinking a sleepytime tea, meditating, and reading are all great activities to engage in before bed. 

Exercise and sleep go hand-in-hand.  Although it isn’t recommended to exercise directly before bedtime, maintaining a regular schedule of physical activity will also help to regulate sleep. 

Try to make an exercise schedule that fits with your weekly work schedule and personal life. Take walks or short runs, use in-home exercise equipment, or take a quick visit to the gym if you can in order to give your muscles (and brain) the physical movement they need.

Taking sleep and exercise into consideration are part of the selfcare plan for busy healthcare professionals.

4. Stay Connected

We all need friends.  No matter how busy we are, staying connected to our circles of friends and family is an important aspect of selfcare. 

Busy healthcare professionals may have to make a concerted effort to keep in contact with friends and family while shouldering work responsibilities.

It is important to take time to text, call, video chat, give gifts to your loved ones, meet your friends and family for social time outside of the workplace. Although it is easy to forget to take time out to keep in touch, making the effort to stay connected is a great way to stay healthy!

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Be sure to say a quick thank you to your besties the next time you all meet up for helping you be your best.  

If you’ve found that your work life has intruded into your social life and has left you wanting for friends and connectivity, try to take time to communicate with your network and schedule an activity.  

5. Take Time Away

No matter how much attention we pay to our bodies and our minds, busy healthcare professionals have to take time away from work to decompress, de-stress, and refresh. 

Having a few days off each week may not be enough time to get all of the errands complete before starting another shift.  Making an effort during weekly breaks for personal time is a great way to practice selfcare.  

Whether scheduling a visit to the nail salon, masseuse, or taking part in a hobby, a few hours of personal time can go a long way in personal health.  

Scheduling an annual (or more often as can be managed) getaway to a new locale is also a must for selfcare.  Traveling and taking vacations promote both physical and mental health and should be planned for. 

Being a busy healthcare professional during the Covid-19 pandemic is a tall order.  Staying in great physical and mental health and providing essential services can be a tricky balance.  Follow these steps to be at your best and feeling great, even in trying times. 

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