People often need a reminder not to work too hard. Many healthcare professionals put their patients and their job ahead of their own needs, so they often fall victim to burnout. You should know how to maintain your mental health, but it can be challenging if you don’t know how to manage it.
Learning to care for yourself is as simple as recognising problems and how to treat them.
Mental health management for health workers
Burnout isn’t fun. Sometimes, if you work too hard, it can be challenging to tell when you’re approaching burnout. Those in the health care field often don’t have the opportunity to check in with themselves because they’re busy saving lives. Still, if you recognize any of these signs in yourself, you should begin making moves to protect your mental health.
You feel irritable
Irritability can be expected when you feel overworked. Since you’ve been dealing with so much, you may notice that you have a shorter temper or have a lower threshold of things you can handle. If you find yourself snapping at loved ones or co-workers more than usual, you may take that as a sign that your mental health is declining.
Your sleep is suffering
One of the reasons you may experience a disturbance in your sleep is because of your hardworking lifestyle, one that may lead you to drink too much caffeine or eat meals irregularly. Try to adhere to a regular sleep schedule as best as possible, including doing things like setting down your phone before bed. You may see an improvement in your sleep, which could help decrease your stress and the likelihood of burnout.
Nothing holds your interest
Have you lost interest in the things you used to love? Feeling deflated about your passions might be a symptom of burnout. If you’re too tired to do anything when you leave work, even the things that make you happy, you may be dangerously close to a decline in your mental health.
Mental health tips for health care professionals
Knowing how to maintain your mental health as a health care worker is key to keeping yourself from burning out. If you feel yourself starting to reach your stress threshold, consider implementing one of these mental health tips for health care professionals – that way, you can successfully avoid burnout and get back to saving lives.
Take a step back
Sometimes the best way to care for yourself is to step back and let someone else tackle an issue. Managing your tasks and everyone else can be challenging, especially when part or all of a team works remotely. Those who oversee a group should consider implementing remote solutions to streamline work activity when you may not be feeling your best.
You deserve a break. Nobody could blame anyone for advocating mental health management for health workers, especially after the rough years you’ve had recently. Try talking to one of your higher-ups about the problems you’re having and why you feel concerned. They should implement solutions that will help you feel more at ease.
Get a massage
Getting a massage is a great way to relieve the tension you carry in your body and relieve stress. The places where you hold the most tension tend to be the shoulders and neck. See a massage therapist to rid yourself of that pain and teach you ways to avoid it in the future.
Sometimes it’s best to just let everything out. Turn to a journal — the blank pages are welcoming and invite you to write all your thoughts down. Simply getting them out of your head may be enough to put your mind at ease. Having your thoughts on paper can make you feel validated and understood, even if it’s only by yourself.
Start a hobby
Hobbies can be a great way to destress after a long day. Usually, people employ creative strategies to help them unwind. Some translate this creativity into music, while others choose to turn it into a tangible product, like a baked good they can eat or a painting they can look at.
Hobbies can help you build life skills that can work in your professional life, too. Knowing how to bake can help you better follow instructions, for example. This might help you lower workplace stress in the future.
Ask for help
Asking for help can be tricky, mainly if you’re used to shouldering everything alone. Your loved ones want to hear from you, though, and they will often try to take any burden off your shoulders that they can. Opening up makes you vulnerable and builds relationships with your loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – you never know which responsibilities you might be able to delegate to make life feel more manageable.
How to maintain your mental health as a healthcare worker
Health care is a challenging field with several benefits. You can find mental health tips for health care professionals wherever you look, and expressing yourself creatively or checking in with your emotions regularly can help you avoid severe burnout. Just remember that you’re making a difference, even when you don’t feel like you are.
Ginger Abbot has written for The National Alliance for Mental Illness, HerCampus, Motherly, and more. When she’s not freelancing, she works as chief editor for the learning publication Classrooms, where you can read more of her work.