Posted on: Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
A few days ago was International Self-Care Day (ISD) which is celebrated every year on July 24. This day serves to promote the importance of self-care, a practice which encompasses everything an individual does for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and is comprised of seven pillars which include: Health Literacy, Self Awareness, Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Risk Avoidance, Good Hygiene, and Optimal Use of Products and Services.
An important aspect of self-care is taking care of one’s mental health. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in mental health concerns among the general population. One specific group of people that have been at risk of psychological problems during the pandemic are healthcare professionals. Whether it be nurses, psychologists, or medical doctors, they have all been selfless since the beginning of the pandemic, continuing to work in stressful situations. Multiple studies have demonstrated that frontline healthcare workers are at an increased risk of acquiring trauma or stress-related disorders, depression, and anxiety. Some contributing factors to this risk include exposure to high infection risks, death, and extra workloads. Healthcare workers are also experiencing compassion fatigue, which occurs due to a lack of balance between compassion and work quality of life (may include burnout, trauma, and frustration), as well as the feeling of hopelessness.
It can be very easy for healthcare workers to neglect themselves while taking care of others, which emphasises the importance of self-care for them. As COVID-19 restrictions ease and life starts to go back to normal, it is important for healthcare professionals to practice self-care in order to remain physically and mentally healthy. There are many simple ways in which self-care can be practiced by healthcare workers, such as setting realistic expectations and getting quality sleep. There are also multiple resources available for healthcare professionals during COVID-19, including professional support groups, telemental health, and self-care tools.
As quoted by Eleanor Brown, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot flow from an empty vessel”.