The contribution of frontline workers including our doctors, nurses and other medical staff amid the Covid-19 pandemic is unparalleled. Working tirelessly day and night till they dropped, they also had to deal with lack of essential items as they struggled to save lives and take care of Covid patients. What better day than to highlight the contribution of our nursing fraternity than International Nurses Day which is celebrated around the world every year on May 12 on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. (Also read: Ukraine nurse who lost her legs and some fingers in explosion gets married to partner)
ICN (International Council of Nurses) commemorates this important day each year with the production and distribution of the International Nurses’ Day (IND) resources and evidence. The theme for this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health, which focuses on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world. Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing.
The job of a nurse is not easy and it is important for them to take care of their mental health to deal with their all the pressure. If you too are part of this wonderful fraternity, Akanksha Pandey, Consultant Clinical Psychology, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road on International Nurses Day has some mental health tips for you.
“The covid-19 outbreak has left all sections of society with immense ‘pandemic fatigue’. One such significant section happens to be the nursing fraternity who has always played a pivotal role in healthcare systems. They have never failed to amaze us by their display of dedication, determination, selflessness, and courage. It is time to pay a closer look at the mental well-being of the nurses,” says Pandey.
Here are five simple yet effective steps for nurses to take care of their mental health.
Get adequate sleep: Nurses often stay up at hospitals during night shifts. Getting a good night’s sleep is primary mental health and it’s not just the quantity that matters but the quality as well. It recharges our minds and rejuvenates our souls for a new start. Sleep is a must for anyone – especially for nurses.
Express yourself: No one wishes to remain at the workplace for a long time but when it comes to healthcare workers especially nurses, longer working hours is inevitable. Nurses who are at health centres will often experience burnout and fatigue leading to feelings of resistance, indifference, and absenteeism.
However, the best way to fight it out is by sharing and opening one’s heart to someone close and who can be trusted. It could be your spouse, someone from the family, or a close friend or mental health professional. Take time to share and vent out your feelings. It helps in feeling lighter and creates space for new perspectives.
Create ‘me-time’ every day: Whenever some free time is available during the hectic hours, it is good to divert one’s mind from the regular tasks. It could be either by listening to music, doing mandala painting, playing with pets, or any other activity that eases one’s mind. Make sure to add a touch of creativity to the activities. Creativity has a strong impact on the happiness quotient as it takes you closer to your childhood and provides a healthy disassociation from all the worries and stress.
Maintain physical distance but not emotional distance: Staying emotionally connected with loved ones elevates your mood, instils a sense of belongingness, facilitates self-esteem, and reduces stress. It is a must for a nurse to get quality time with family and friends. It can be a small virtual get-together or a video/phone call. It does work wonders when we connect with our childhood friends, college friends, or families of a close bond.
Seek help: There is no harm in seeking help from an expert for mental health. When things go out of our hands, it is often prudent to seek professional help and proper medical advice. It could perhaps just be a step closer towards healing. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, rather it shows your strength, courage, and respect for your own self.