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7 Days of Pandemic Self-Care for the Healthcare Professional

The life of a healthcare professional is filled with unexpected challenges under normal circumstances, and yet healthcare workers pride themselves on rolling with the changes. With the current coronavirus pandemic playing out around the world, however, life has gotten much harder for a large swath of the population.

In terms of jobs, healthcare employment alone declined by 43,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the coming months, the U.S. unemployment rate could hit 16%, White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett said April 26.

In terms of employees’ health, at least 9,000 healthcare workers may already be infected with COVID-19, and at least 27 have died treating patients. This places a huge burden on an industry already in serious need of new nurses and allied health professionals. On top of staffing concerns, employees who remain in good health are faced with shortfalls in supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), test and pharmaceutical shortages, and shifting policies and procedures.

The stress is coming from a variety of directions. As a dedicated healthcare professional, you may be working long, demanding shifts, and coming home to seclude yourself from your loved ones, while eating unhealthy foods or irregularly eating meals. Your partners may find themselves carrying more of the family responsibilities, and they may be trying to do so while working from home or looking for work, which causes additional stress and anxiety.

You and your family need some care and attention too right now. Self-care is a term that has been tossed about quite a lot lately. You’ll find lists upon lists of “ways to practice self-care” if you search for the term online. And, while a pedicure and face mask sound like a lovely way to relax, the suggestions may not completely translate to the current environment we’re living in.

At the root, self-care is about recognizing your own personal needs and how to fulfill them. It’s not about what your job needs from you, or what your family and friends need from you. It’s about what you need from and for you. We all know it’s not sustainable to take care of everyone else and not take care of yourself, at least not for long.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Read on for real concepts you can incorporate into each day to combat the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical fatigue you may be feeling in these difficult times.

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