We won’t pretend it hasn’t been rough lately. A lot of you are hurting. You’re tired, and you are wondering if you can go on.
Nursing is a challenging profession even on the best of days, and it’s been a long time since the good days were upon us.
It may seem like there isn’t much you can do about what is happening in the world, the staffing holes all over your schedule, or the constant influx of patients. The truth is, there isn’t. You can advocate for healthy practices, be a source of valid scientific information, and give the best care possible under the circumstances you are working in. Still, none of that will change the trajectory of this pandemic.
We don’t want to bring you down, but the only thing you can manage is you, and right now, you may need a little more help than you are giving yourself credit for. You can’t be the best nurse on the outside if you are falling apart on the inside.
Here are some great resources to help you take care of yourself while caring for the rest of the world.
Responder Strong is an organization focused on first responders and health care professionals. They have evidence-based resources that will automatically populate based on your self-assessment. This resource is free and confidential (even though you need an email account to sign up, they promise to never sell or send your information to anyone). There are resources for mindfulness, self-care, depression, anxiety, physical needs, and even connection to crisis care. It will help you set attainable goals, not those lofty ones you see the bloggers who don’t work in healthcare talk about.
The American Nursing Association has also set aside a page filled with resources. This includes free access to the Moodfit app, which is an app to help you perform self-care, document your mood in an incorporated mood journal, and help recognize the things you are grateful for in a gratitude journal. While this may not seem like much, gratitude journals have been shown to improve sleep, decrease stress, and do many other great things. The ANA also has the Happy App, a 24/7 free text/phone line dedicated to being a listening, empathetic space for you. This connection is free as well.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a page dedicated to COVID frontline workers, with tons of confidential and free options for you to reach out to or learn more about coping mechanisms or how to deal with the emotions you may be experiencing. This includes peer-to-peer resources because nobody knows better what it’s like out there than your fellow nurses. In addition, you can find blogs, podcasts, and even virtual connection groups. Finally, if your family is taking the brunt of your stress, there are some helpful resources for them as well.
Of course, if you are in crisis, the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Your life is meaningful, and you are loved and needed.
We hope you have the resiliency to sail through this pandemic without any mental or emotional problems. Still, we also know how challenging being a nurse is, no matter what kind of nursing you do. So take a moment to build some skills to help yourself stay in (or get back to) top form. Again, we are thankful for all you do!