The coronavirus pandemic affected the entire nation’s mental health, and even healthcare professionals weren’t spared the onslaught of this global crisis. A 2020 survey showed that more than 40% of RNs had described their mental health as “bad,” indicating a 10% rise in mental health decline. Research has also revealed increasing cases of burnout among nurses that threaten the productivity of primary caregivers in the United States. There’s now a growing concern among nursing managers to educate RNs about the importance of mental health and different methods of coping with burnout. So, we’ll explain some ways to enhance your psychological well-being and deal with anxiety/depression during this pandemic.
Helping Nurses Who Suffer From Burnout
While the country faces an increasing shortage of nurses, burnout has caused many RNs to quit. A study shows that over 30% of nurses in 2018 reported leaving because of burnout. So, what causes nurses to suffer from burnout anyway? There are several reasons behind the declining mental well-being, including insomnia, high-stress workplaces, inflexible schedules, and rising mortality rates. So, these factors may contribute to the worsening mental stability among RNs today. How can nurses deal with the emotional trauma of working in a high-stress environment while maintaining their psychological well-being? We’ve explained some coping mechanisms for RNs who wish to continue working during this health crisis:
1. Get yourself a mentor:
It’s essential to have someone to mentor you during an ongoing pandemic. You’ll need to track down a senior nurse who is ready to share their knowledge. This mentor can teach you some coping strategies not covered in any article online. Today, several RNs have professional degrees like dnp degree that have enhanced their skills, educated and resolved problems affecting nurses’ productivity. So, you can leverage a well-educated mentor’s instructions to discover healthy ways for preventing burnout.
2. Find your “happy place”:
Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotions, control yourself by using this quick method. It begins with taking a break. Seclude yourself from others by telling them you’re going to catch your breath. In seclusion, take some deep breaths and count to ten before coming out of the room. It will calm your nerves and stay fine while enduring the feeling of stress. Use this method for coping with burnout in emergencies. It can help recover your mind quickly when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
3. Count your stressors:
What triggers a feeling of burnout in your mind? Every person has unique triggers that cause anxiety and contribute to declining mental health. So, we recommend nurses take inventory of every factor that makes them stressed and leads to burnout. This strategy can enable them to brainstorm ideas for removing these stressors or controlling their influence. Write down things, people, or situations you find stressful. Then ask your seniors to help you stay away from these stressful things/events.
4. Acquire new hobbies:
Engaging yourself in interesting hobbies can help you prevent burnout. We recommend nurses sleep properly, consume nutritious food, and acquire some hobbies to distract themselves. For instance, it seems proper to adopt gardening, cooking, photography, dancing, drawing, or another activity that soothes you. Studies have shown that people engaged in such pastimes are less vulnerable to stress. On the other hand, you must avoid harmful activities (e.g., smoking/drinking) to prevent burnout.
5. Set some boundaries:
During the pandemic, nurses have found themselves overworked and exhausted, thereby suffering from burnout. To avoid stress, remember to create/maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s essential to set clear boundaries between these aspects of your life. Leave for home when your shift has ended. Don’t stay away late at night watching the television when you’re supposed to be at work tomorrow. Thus, make sure that these two aspects of your life don’t undermine each other.
6. Get a whiff of nature:
Research has revealed that proximity to natural surroundings can relieve your muscles, decrease the production of stress-inducing hormones, and cause your heartbeats to stabilize. So, nurses must “get out” more often and calm their nerves by sitting/walking in nature. You can play golf, walk the dog, or engage in sports activities. Hobbies such as gardening also enable you to spend some time in nature and relax a little! A natural habitat serves as an excellent distraction for your worried mind.
7. Make non-work friends:
Restricting yourself to the company of colleagues and coworkers may contribute to stress/anxiety since work-related friends tend to discuss work-related problems even outside of the workplace. So, we suggest making non-work friends who don’t remind you of the emotional trauma you face at the hospital. It can help you leave thoughts about patients behind and focus on other affairs of your life. Thus, hang out with people you may discuss calming topics that don’t stress you out!
8. Exercise regularly:
Exercise doesn’t just strengthen you physically but also induces the release of endorphins that cause a feeling of pleasure in your mind. So, we recommend working out at least thirty minutes daily. You can also engage in soul healing practices to improve your mental well-being. It enables you to lose those mental burdens that are causing this feeling of burnout. Meditation has helped many control stress/anxiety and move on to a healthy lifestyle. So, practice self-healing exercises frequently.
9. Seek professional assistance:
Finally, seeking therapy/counseling can also help you overcome your depression and prevent mental stress. Thus, we recommend nurses dealing with burnout contact a licensed professional to manage their declining mental well-being. This well-experienced counselor can suggest strategies well-suited to your specific condition. You can find several highly-educated and positively-reviewed therapists online now. So, don’t hesitate to contact experts when other coping methods fail to deliver.
An article published in January shows that 40% of nurses suffered from burnout before the pandemic. Now, this number has increased to 70%, indicating the necessity of education among primary caregivers. Learning correct coping methods can significantly reduce anxiety/depression among nurses while observing a betterment in mental well-being. These methods include sleeping properly, eating nutritious meals, meditating frequently, and establishing a flexible work schedule. Create boundaries to separate your work life from private affairs. Perform breathing exercises to calm your nerves and engage in some interesting activities as well. These techniques help regulate your mental health and prevent burnout.