Self-care for healthcare workers – looking after yourself 

In a time where the community is relying heavily on healthcare workers, it is normal to feel anxious or stressed. While we may be short on time, it is important to try to create opportunities to practise self-care as a way of ensuring you look after your physical and mental health. 

Dr Sika Turner, Senior Clinical Psychologist, spoke to the importance of practising self-care, particularly for healthcare workers, in last week’s Employee Forum. In her presentation, Self-care for Health Professionals, Dr Turner emphasised the importance of self-care, particularly as 13% of health workers are at risk of work-related mental health disorders.  

Dr Turner addressed the concept of resilience. She said it is not about removing the stress, rather it is finding ways to look after yourself during times of high stressWneed to be aware of some of our own signs that may demonstrate distress and identify small ways in which we can take control and start to change a situation. Dr Turner shared a small quote which encapsulates self-care: 

Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow” – Rumi 

A daily self-care plan can be a helpful tool during challenging times. Dr Turner suggested creating a daily self-care plan which incorporates the components of self-care: 

  • Professional/work 
  • Social 
  • Spiritual 
  • Psychological  
  • Physical/health 

As well as a daily self-care plan, Dr Turner suggested identifying three positive coping strategies and developing an emergency self-care plan. You can find a structure for these plans in Dr Turner’s presentation.  

Throughout the presentation, some of you sent in ideas about how you are practising self-care. Here are some great tips from Monash Health employees: 

  • “I spend 10 minutes doing a paintbynumbers each day – it shifts your mind away from everything happening around you.” 
  • “Exercise can be a nice reset.” 
  • “I sit to have my coffee and watch walking tours of overseas places that I wish to visit once all of this is over.” 
  • “I certainly like to get out in fresh air, and the dog loves it; helps clear the mind.” 
  • “I found a gratitude journal can be very beneficial.” 
  • “Knitting at home and starting a buddy system.”  
  • “Singing and dancing like no one is watching!” 

Small actions like these can make an impactful difference during times of high stress. It is important to identify small things you enjoy and take some time during your day to practise self-care. 

If you find you are in need of further help, there are a number of resources available to Monash Health employees, including health and wellbeing resources on the Monash Health COVID-19 siteCall a Psychologist and our EAPDr Turner’s presentation, as well as other helpful resources on how to look after yourself in challenging times can also be found on the Monash Health COVID-19 site. 

Each week we aim to bring our employees more health and wellbeing resources during our Thursday Employee Forum. You can watch past events and view listings for future events on the Monash Health COVID-19 site.   

Approved by Karen Lowe 

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