Emergency service and healthcare professionals bring high levels of commitment and dedication to their work. The COVID-19 pandemic is placing extraordinary demands to adapt, rapidly shift standard operating procedure and remain psychologically resilient. Here are some suggestions we’d like to pass along as ways to cope with the stressors of the pandemic response:
First, know your own personal signs of stress and monitor yourself. Know when you need to take some action to reduce stress. Unsure what action to take? Think about what stress reduction strategies have worked for you in the past, and try those things in this instance.
Second, try to focus on the people you are helping rather than what is not being done. Remind yourself that you and your team are making a significant contribution to the community through your skills and dedication.
Next, use your time off duty wisely – recharge and connect with people who support you. Do things that you enjoy when you can to maintain some balance in your life. And by all means, try to limit your exposure to media coverage when you are off shift – you need the mental break!
Also, make sure to follow healthy coping strategies such as eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, and getting moderate exercise. Avoid junk food, caffeine and alcohol, and try to get plenty of good sleep.
Finally, use any available peer support, including checking in with a “buddy” before and after each shift, or even during a shift as necessary. If your organization has access to a peer support team, remember they are there for you, so use them! And if you need to seek professional support, that’s okay too. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help if you need it.
For more details on any of these tips that we’ve briefly shared, please check out the series of articles that we have recently posted by clicking on the links below:
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Uncertainty – Part 1
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Uncertainty – Part 2
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Uncertainty – Part 3
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Uncertainty – Part 4
- Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Uncertainty – Part 5
If you have questions or concerns, or would like to chat with one of the peer support specialists at Call for Backup, you can contact them at m.me/callforbackup.org/. They’re here to help you!
– David Edwards