Being a nurse is difficult, even before COVID-19. It can be an ironic career, too, where nurses spend so much time taking of others, but never taking any care for themselves. Because of this, the importance of nurses practicing self-care is something that shouldn’t be stressed.
One of the best ways to have self-care is to admit that there is a problem. Nurses can be diagnosed with many issues, including:
Burnout is an issue that can happen with any career, but in a year where nurses are overworked, it’s more prevalent than ever. Burnout is when someone feels physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. It can happen when one feels overworked as well. With the nature of nursing, you can see how this can happen.
Quite often, nurses have burnout due to the nature of their job. With long hours, little sleep, and feeling like they have little in return, most nurses right now are feeling some form of burnout. Treating burnout can involve lifestyle changes as well as changes at work. Getting diagnosed can help a nurse figure out a treatment plan.
In addition, burnout can be a product of the nursing system itself. Many hospitals are overrun and understaffed. Because of the lack of staff, a nurse may have to take on three people’s jobs. This can burn them out much faster, especially if they feel like they aren’t cared for themselves.
This is a common issue that nurses are going to face. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why depression is so high with nurses right now. Even before the pandemic, this is a large issue that people do not speak much about.
A nurse going in every day to watch patients suffer can be one cause of depression. Another reason, which we will discuss in a bit, can be due to workplace harassment. Not to mention, the lack of sleep can trigger depression too.
Depression can make it difficult for a nurse to function. During their day, they may go from room to room on autopilot, but on a day off, it can be difficult to get out of bed. This is why depression is an issue that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
This issue goes hand in hand with depression. As we all know, anxiety and depression are quite linked. With that said, there are several ways that anxiety stands out. It can make the nurse have trouble falling asleep at night. Anxiety can affect performance, too. The nurse may be afraid of being fired, or be afraid of catching a disease. Not to mention, a nurse does need to have a cool head at most times.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is another issue that is frequent in nursing. Nurses are exposed to many traumatic events, especially if they are first-responders. Someone who isn’t a nurse may believe that nurses are desensitized to everything, but that is hardly the case. Instead, most nurses keep their trauma hidden until something comes to trigger it. Then, it can lead to intense anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Another issue that nurses face is being more at risk of abusing substances. From drinking too much alcohol to trying other hard drugs, this can lead down a dangerous path. Many nurses may drink too much to drown their stresses. Some nurses may abuse drugs to keep them going throughout the day. This can lead to financial, physical, and mental health consequences. If you are abusing substances, it’s important to seek help ASAP.
Nurses and Harassment
While not a mental health issue, this is something that affects many different nurses. Harassment can come in many forms as a nurse. Most of it does come from staff, including other nurses, administrators, and other members. However, a good chunk of it comes from patients.
Many patients, especially those who think nothing is wrong with them, may harass or bully nurses. This is something that some nurses need to learn how to be desensitized to, but many of them have an issue doing so. It’s an issue that is not addressed too often, and this can lead to all of the above.
If you’re a nurse, it’s important to speak up if you see another nurse be harassed. It’s an issue that is receiving the importance it deserves, but there is still work that needs to be done about it.
Self-Care is Important
As a nurse, it’s important to care about yourself as much as you care about your patients. Here are some ways to do so.
Nurses need to live as healthy as possible. Exercising before or after work can help you prepare or unwind, and it allows for better sleep. Not to mention, it releases helpful endorphins, which make you feel better.
Eating right is also important. Many nurses may just grab a snack from the vending machine or get some fast food, but the importance of eating as healthy as possible should be stressed. It can help with various health problem, so be aware of that.
Finally, nurses need to have at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Most do not get that. It’s difficult, and you may not get a perfect night’s sleep every time, but doing this can help you you throughout your day.
As a nurse, it’s important to seek help whenever you’re suffering from a mental health issue. Many nurses do not do this, and one reason may be due to their busy lifestyles.
Online therapy can be a valuable solution to this. It allows nurses to get help on their own hectic schedules, and they can speak to someone during a break. Websites such as Mind Diagnostics also allow nurses to see if they are suffering from a mental health issue.
Next year, we hope that nurses manage to be rewarded for all the hard work they do, and thrive while doing so.
This article was written by Marie Miguel who has been a writer and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
“My Philosophy on Mental Health & Wellness”
It takes passion for being an expert researcher and writer of mental health related topics. Having lived through traumatic experiences in the past, it has become easier to express my opinions and findings I’ve discovered while researching a variety of situations and subjects. I aim to inspire every person that reads mental health & wellness related articles to provide hope in every struggle; just as my experiences have taught me. Additionally, I strive to contribute to the continual progression of mental health awareness by providing helpful information and significant resources to understand further the importance of keeping a healthy mind and well-being.