Advice for Key Workers
by Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD
You are a Key Worker and make a difference with each patient and each kind word.
In tough times it is also common for your “little voice” to be quite active. It could be upset, angry, morbid, depressed, overwhelmed, at the volume of work and incompetence of the response. You may even notice guilt popping up when you care for yourself and your family in a free moment.
However, don’t stick your head in the sand, you need to realise that you’re not alone. I know it can be difficult for a perfectionist to admit that you’re not coping, but honestly at some hard times in your life, you can’t do it all, you don’t have to be Superwoman or Superman. You need to realise this in order to keep healthy.
Focus on these two key points:
1) When you are with your patients, take great care of them
2) When you are NOT with your patients –
Appreciate your team – those you work closest with – make sure you all eat healthy food and take a break.
Appreciate your family and loved ones.
Look in the mirror from time to time and check on how you are holding up.
Try the following methods to protect your physical and mental health at all times:
- Start your day by relaxing. Instead of pouncing out of bed like frightened rabbit, spend just a few minutes meditating, doing gentle stretches, reading inspiring words or practicing breathing techniques.
- Incorporate healthy eating, exercise and sleeping habits. Eating right, regular exercise and plenty of sleep will give you the energy to face a challenging day.
- Set personal boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to certain things. If spending more time with your family is important, then aim to leave work at a certain time.
- Take a break from technology. Set aside a few minutes a day where you completely disconnect from your laptop, phone and e-mail.
Rediscover the joy of practicing medicine. Take a moment to reconnect with the reason you got into medicine in the first place. Think back to a moment where you felt happy and appreciated. Write it down and strive to achieve that feeling at least once a day.
Remember to thank, protect, recharge, feed and nurture – you, your family and your team with any time and energy that is left each day.
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