Programme: Coping with Corona for healthcare professionals

2. Focus on your capacity

Reading time: 3 minutes

This is a very difficult and demanding situation, but we now know that many of the current circumstances lie outside our Circle of Influence. You are carrying a heavy load right now, and when our load is heavier than our capacity, we experience stress. The scales are no longer evenly balanced. In the short term, this is not a problem. But if the imbalance is ongoing, the impact of this situation can become greater. The question is: how can we increase our capacity so that we can bear this heavy load? 

Put down solid foundations

  • Make sure you take regular breaks, choose healthy food and drinks, get enough sleep and take plenty of exercise.
  • Some of us may be tempted to drink more or use drugs during stressful periods. This can be a way to temporarily shut down our emotions. These substances will not make our stress go away, they simply make us feel numb for a while. Once the drugs, alcohol or nicotine are out of our system, the stress will return. It may even return in a more intense form due to previously being suppressed. This can make us tempted to turn to substances once again in order to ‘escape’ from our stress. If you find yourself getting into this vicious cycle, get in touch with one of our psychologists - we will help you to find a way to break the cycle. 
  • After hard work, we need relaxation. Make sure you plan some free time for yourself. You need relaxation in order to recover. Everyone has their own preferred way to relax - some people like to get lost in a book, others prefer a run in the park. You need to find the best way to recover and recharge so that you can return to work feeling sharp and ready to work to your best abilities. 
  • Try to limit the amount of news you watch or read. Use reliable media sources to keep up to date on important developments.

Now answer these questions and share your answers with your online psychologist, a colleague or somebody close to you:

  • Have you got a good foundation in place? (nutrition, exercise and sleep?)
  • Are you managing to find ways to relax?
  • How much time are you spending looking at the news? 

You probably only have limited amounts of time for relaxation. Breathing exercises can be a very effective way to recover from a stressful day. Try doing the 4-7-8 breathing method developed by the American doctor Andrew Weil.

Watch this film if you would like to learn the technique and find out more about it from its developer, dr. Andrew Weil. Duration: 8.11.

If you decide to start doing the exercise regularly, you can count for yourself or use this film. You only need to do a few rounds of breathing to feel the benefits! Duration: 10:19 (but you can stop watching at any point)


Social Support

Research carried out by our colleagues in China has shown that social support helps to protect us in this time of crisis. We need our loved-ones, friends and colleagues more than ever right now. Sharing what you are going through and getting things off your chest are an important outlet for many of us. You may have some experiences which you do not feel comfortable sharing with people outside of the healthcare profession; if that is the case, try talking to a colleague instead.

Sharing your emotions is not always easy at the end of a long shift - the switch from work to home can feel enormous. This could be because you have faced big challenges at work which may have affected you mentally, but it could also be because there are new responsibilities waiting for you at home as you step into your other role as parent, carer, partner, or friend.

  • You may well have an assigned ‘buddy’ at work. You could ask your partner, friend or a family member to be your ‘home buddy’. Of course, home is different to work, but it helps to simply have someone there asking you how you are, whether you need anything, whether you have all the groceries you need etc. 
  • Have you got a family? Plan a ‘family check-in’ each day. You can use a simple traffic light system:
    • What colour are you today?
    • Green: I feel good because...
    • Orange: I feel so-so because...
    • Red: I feel bad because...
    • Do you need anything? / Can we help you?
  • Plan a weekly meeting with your partner and/or kids.
    • What is going well?
    • What are we finding difficult?
    • How can we help each other?

Reflect & connect

Which of these tools could help you in your current situation? Share your thoughts on this with your online psychologist, a colleague or somebody close to you.

Would you like professional advice?

Contact our psychologists today to discuss the effects of Corona on your mental health.

Plan your first consult
Call us at 020-2444888