Stress management is a balancing act. For the healthcare heroes, nurses, and caregivers serving in today’s COVID-19 world, this has never been truer. While it can be difficult to practice self-care, taking rest is essential – just like the essential roles that these healthcare heroes are serving in. May 2020 marks the start of Nurses Month and in 2020 The Year of the Nurse, we want to provide as much support as possible to all healthcare providers for their incredible service.
Below are some resources and recommendations to help manage stress, balance daily responsibilities, and continue fighting the good fight. To the healthcare heroes everywhere who may be reading this: Thank you for your continued dedication and service to care for others. You are essential. You are vital.
Focus on Happiness
While this may be easier said than done, there are some great resources out there to help us all focus more on the positive. Happify is an online resource offering helpful articles, daily tips, and stories of encouragement via their newsletter, "Happify Daily" and science-based activities and games to help us all focus on the positive. SoulPancake is another organization responsible for creating content that, “explores life’s big questions, celebrates humanity, and champions creativity… with integrity, heart, and humor”. Just check out their YouTube channel for laughs, encouragement, and happiness.
Relieve stress through Exercise
After boosting your mood levels with some encouraging news and stories, get the blood pumping with some in-home exercise. No need to hit the gym, or even leave the house. Right now, Planet Fitness is offering free live-streamed home “work-ins” from their Facebook page that are open to the public. If you’re more into walking or running, download the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. Right now, NTC Premium is free until further notice. What a great opportunity to get personalized fitness, nutrition, and on-demand workouts from the convenience of your phone. For more info on how exercise can help reduce stress, check out this helpful guide from the Mayo Clinic.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Are you practicing self-care and being mindful of what your body is telling you? How about checking out a podcast that can help you become more aware of how to balance stress and stay mentally healthy? Visit Mindful.org to find helpful resources and recommended podcasts that can help your overall mental state. Their top podcasts of 2019 list is a great place to start. If meditation is a practice that you would like to explore, check out this 7-minute meditation that helps when dealing with difficult emotions during this challenging time.
Well-Balanced Nutrition and Stress Management
Although it is normal to feel as though we don’t have time to eat well, it is critical to eat a well-balanced diet to help manage stress and support both mind and body. Harvard Medical School recommends green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, and berries as 5 Foods Linked to Better Brainpower. “Incorporating many of these foods into a healthy diet on a regular basis can improve the health of your brain, which could translate into better mental function.”
Create not Consume
Technology is great - I mean, who doesn’t love Facebook and Netflix? But there comes a time, usually after watching a full season - or two - of The Office in a single day, when we sit up, look around and say, “hmmm, it’s already dark out.” Try limiting the amount of time spent consuming content and instead connect with others virtually (for family caregivers, contact us for more information on our virtual support groups, or chat with us via website’s live chat feature), read a good book, or get creative and teach yourself a new skill. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this makes in your attitude, energy levels, and time management. There are some incredible books on furthering your knowledge in healthcare and specifically around dementia education. Here is a great list of the top-50 reads ranked by SeniorLink. For a quick read on how to stop binge-watching and focus more on what matters, check out this article on Medium by Niklas Goke.
Get Enough Sleep
For Healthcare Heroes everywhere, getting enough sleep may be the most challenging component of stress management, especially right now. However, sleep is vital to our mental health and overall wellbeing. The SleepFoundation.org offers 11 healthy sleep tips to get enough rest consistently.
Connect with Others
Even in this time of physical distancing, it’s important to not become socially isolated. Mental Health America reports that social connections result in increased happiness, better health, and longer life. Whether connections are made via video chats, phone calls, or in-person with appropriate physical distancing, connecting with others, and finding support with friends, family, and colleagues help us all balance stress levels and feel more fulfilled.
We hope that these resources are helpful to you and that you’re able to find value and stress relief in this information. For the professional caregivers, nurses, and healthcare heroes out there, thank you for your service. To the family caregivers reading this as well, please keep up the great work. If you need additional resources, information, or even a virtual support group – please contact your local JEA Senior Living community. We look forward to serving you and your family.