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Self-Care Tips for Health Care Workers During COVID-19

If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.

Health care workers are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their lives at risk to care for patients who may have the coronavirus. They are facing long and tiring hours, the risk of inadequate personal protective equipment, and the fear of being exposed to the virus and bringing it home to family. Despite this, they are caring for and protecting the public every day across the country.

When facing stressful and traumatic situations in a health care facility, it can be hard to stop and think about self-care. There are simple tactics from the MHFA curriculum that can be vital in protecting your mental health and well-being.

Take a few minutes during your commute, before bed or even between patients to be the difference for yourself with self-care during this stressful time.

  1. Recognize the valuable role you and your colleagues play on the front lines of COVID-19. Remind yourself that despite challenges, you are making a difference and taking care of those most in need.
  2. Practice self-compassion. There is no road map. You are doing the best you can in a difficult situation. Take your situation day by day or hour by hour, if needed. Take breaks from work when you can.
  3. Validate any emotions you might be feeling. There is no right or wrong way to process the COVID-19 experience. It is normal to feel a range of emotions including being overwhelmed, frustrated or angry, worried, anxious, restless, agitated, sad or fatigued.
  4. Find ways to see the positive. It can be easy to get overwhelmed hearing about the growing number of confirmed cases, shortage of resources and loss of life. Try to find the hopeful stories about communities coming together to support local businesses, feed hungry children and families, donate money and critical supplies, and recognize front-line workers, like you, for their sacrifice.

These small changes to your routine can improve your overall mood and protect your mental health during this pandemic. If these are too hard to do, that’s ok too. Seek out support from family or friends and find other simple self-care tactics that help you.

Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference for so many people across the country! Please be the difference for yourself too.

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