Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, working in healthcare presented a greater risk for developing mental health concerns and disorders. With the start of COVID-19 and the continuation for almost two years, the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression has skyrocketed, especially in healthcare workers who feel burnt out, exhausted, angry, and traumatized.
Nursing Stress and the Effect on Patient Care
According to research, reported cases of anxiety and depression in healthcare workers was as high as 35% during the COVID-19 pandemic, but those who exhibited symptoms of both were as high as 80%. With the stigma that still follows mental health disorders, the number of healthcare providers struggling with them is likely much closer to that 80% statistic.
Nurses who experience anxiety are more likely to give imbalanced care and struggle with things like empathy. This can in turn cause more issues including compassion fatigue for the nurse and poor outcomes for the patient.
How to Deal with Anxiety as a Nurse
With no end in sight of the pandemic and the continued rise of depression and anxiety in nursing, what can be done to protect ourselves and our colleagues? Here are some tips to start implementing now and spread them to your coworkers and friends so that we can all start to recover.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is the first step to truly calm your mind and body. Anytime you feel stressed, or anytime during the day, start by taking 10 deep breaths. You can eventually move on to more in depth and complicated breathing exercises called breath work.
This was my first step into the mindfulness world. There are apps and guided meditations all over YouTube and Spotify that can help you start. Take five minutes when feeling anxious to meditate and feel your body, mind, and soul relax.
3. Practice Self Care
Self care can look different for everyone which I have discussed at length so I won’t beat you over the head with it, but it truly makes a difference.
Simply put, take care of yourself, first and always, so you can take care of others.
Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Alison Shely is a nurse practitioner, nurse coach, and nurse content writer who specializes in articles, guest blogger, and healthcare worker wellness.
Visit her website for coaching details and other writing samples.
Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.