Today, life is not what we would call normal. Prior to 2020’s pandemic, we all went about our lives without much thought to what was happening in our country and the world. We handled the day-to-day stress of home and job in a much different way than we can right now.
Now, we no longer know what each day will bring. In our industry, there has been extra turmoil. People are angry. They are more easily upset. Patients are combative. Things that would have previously “rolled off our backs” no longer do so.
If you are feeling a sense of emotional overwhelm, you are not alone. A recent report from the American Psychological Association found that 84%—that’s more than 4 out of 5—of the people surveyed have been experiencing elevated levels of stress.
In addition, almost half of them reported having symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, as well as weight changes and problems with sleep—conditions that often accompany emotional overwhelm.
What can we do to make it better:
1 – Take time to just breath. Maybe that sounds strange, but deep breathing is an easy way to relax and let your worries go. This can be done pretty much anywhere, and it only takes a few minutes. For those who don’t know how to practice this, read this article that discusses several different ways: on Verywell Mind.
2 – Leave work at work. Sometimes this is easier said than done. But, before you enter your home, mentally take off work and leave it at that door. Take time to truly “be” with your family and friends. Relax with good music. Read a book. Disconnect from work and the stressors of life.
3 – Remain optimistic. When we allow ourselves to become pessimistic or to think negative thoughts, we actually become more overwhelmed. Did you know that allowing negativity to grow in your mind, not only makes you miserable, but it releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel emotionally and physically worse! So “cancel” out those negative thoughts.
4 – Notice the little things. Throughout the day, there are so many small things that can lift us up and make us feel better. It can be as simple as a patient whose eyes light up when you walk in the room. Or a hug from your child. We never know where those moments will come from, but don’t just run past them. They are there for you to enjoy and mentally savor. Unpack some of those memory moments when you need a lift!
5 – Connect with others. Remember the old song – “People, people who need people . . . are the luckiest people in the world.” It is true. What would we do without each other? The right family, friends, work associates, etc. can all change the way we feel or pull us up at just the right moment. We should never shut ourselves off when we are feeling down. Having family and friends to share with and lean on when the going gets tough is critical to our success and long-term welfare.
6 – Be patient with those around you. We have no idea what others are going through and what kind of stressors are impacting their lives. Don’t take it personally if they are less than kind and considerate. Just hang on to your positivity so you don’t give away your peace. When you are able to walk past all of this, you will feel stronger, more in control, and certainly less stressed.
It goes without saying how proud we are of all our team. You are working through unprecedented times and you are doing a fantastic job. Keep up the good work. There is sunshine every day – just remember to look for it!