Self Care for Healthcare Workers

At Clove, we recognize that healthcare workers are are ordinary people with extraordinary responsibilities. Tasked with working tirelessly to care for the sick and the injured, who rely on their expertise and compassion. Self care for healthcare workers is essential, seeing how demanding this industry is physically, emotionally, and mentally. At Clove, it’s our priority to support healthcare workers as they navigate the challenges of their long shifts and demanding industry.

However, we know that it’s all too common for healthcare workers to forget about their own needs as they prioritize the care of others. We’ve compiled a list of tips for self care, geared specifically toward helping healthcare workers. By implementing these steps, healthcare workers can increase their resilience, prevent burnout, and maintain their well-being, ultimately allowing them to provide the best care possible for their patients

Self Care for Healthcare workers to avoid burnout and fatigue

Symptoms of Stress and Healthcare Worker Burnout

Recognizing the common telltale signs of burnout, stress, and anxiety is the first step in developing a routine that includes self care for healthcare workers. Being aware of the common feelings that accompany stress and burnout allows healthcare workers to recognize when it might be a good time to pause, and take a moment to care for yourself. Caring for others is your profession as a healthcare worker, but ensuring that you are in top shape will allow you to go the extra mile without depleting yourself in the process. 

Common Symptoms of Healthcare Worker Burnout Include:

  • Emotional Exhaustion: Often associated with feelings of depletion in a mental, emotional, or physical sense. 

  • Depersonalization: A sense of detachment from patients, loved ones, or your work environment. This is often accompanied by negative feelings about your work, cynicism, and chronic negative feelings. 

  • Physical Symptoms: Gastrointestinal issues, muscle fatigue, headaches, and insomnia. 

  • Mental Symptoms: Feelings of uncertainty, anxiousness, or debilitating stress, lack of motivation, or feeling hopeless or depressed. 
  • What Can I Do to Practice Self Care and Increase My Resiliency as a Healthcare Worker?

    To open up the conversation around self care for healthcare workers, we first want to recognize that witnessing life threatening or traumatic events impacts every healthcare worker differently. There is no playbook for perfect coping, but these tools can help cope with chronic workplace stress and traumatic exposure in healthcare settings. 

  • Prioritize Sleep. We know your hours are long, and sometimes irregular– which is why prioritizing sleep is so important to your overall stamina. Sleep is a foundational element in any self care routine, but especially for healthcare workers. 
  • Take Breaks. Taking regular breaks is a crucial part of a self care routine for healthcare workers. It allows you to properly rest, and return to your work rejuvenated. Even a short break can have positive effects on your stress levels and overall well being. 
  • Practice Gratitude. A powerful tool in any self care routine– gratitude can help to shift things into perspective, and remind you of all of the positive things you have in your life. 
  • Communication + Connection. Community in the healthcare industry is enormously important for your overall well being and self care routine. Talking with others and making meaningful connections will have positive effects on your mental health, and help you to de-load some of that stress and anxiety that can build up throughout your shift. 
  • Keep a Consistent Daily Routine. While your day-to-day at work might be unpredictable, creating a regular routine for yourself outside of work is an excellent self care tip for healthcare workers. Reliability and consistency in your routine are beneficial to your overall well being. 
  • Time Outside. Getting vitamin D as a part of your routine is enormously important. Breathing fresh air, and spending time in nature are fantastic ways to destress and process. 
  • Take Breaks from Social Media & News. Putting the phone down is a great way to detach from the noise of the world. Your workday is consuming enough; taking time to detach from social media can be a great step in your self care routine to decrease stress and anxiety. 
  • Exercise. You’re on your feet for much of your shift, but exercising when you can is a great self care practice for de-stressing and reducing anxiety. 
  • Engage in Mindfulness Techniques. It’s easy to detach or dissociate when we experience extremely stressful situations like the ones you might encounter during your workday. Practicing mindfulness to help stay in the present moment is a healthy self care practice for healthcare workers. 
  • Seek Support. Below we list resources for those in need of extra assistance. 

    If you’re concerned that you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else:

    If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety:

    More resources on coping with stress and building resilience:

    At Clove, our mission is simple: to take care of those who take care of others. Learn more about our Clove Cares initiatives, and the current actions we’re undertaking to continue to positively impact the healthcare community and support positive change. You support them, we support you.