May is Mental Health Awareness month, so we wanted to take a moment to talk about how important it is, especially for the health care workers around us. While your work may be very rewarding, working in healthcare can be filled with long, stressful days. So let’s talk a little bit about self-care.

Thank you doctors and nursesIt can be hard to prioritize our own self-care, especially when you are a nurse or a doctor. Your primary focus may be your patients. In order to avoid burn-out and give yourself a little down time, it’s more important than ever to put yourself first. Some of these you may already know or even prescribe to your patients, but may need a reminder to use them on yourself. 

Here are a few tips that you can do to lower your stress and mitigate burn-out:

  1. Practice Meditation. Mediation can be as simple as sitting quietly, breathing deeply. You can also take it to a deeper level with guided meditation. Mediation can help wipe away the day’s stress, calm your mind, and bring inner peace. Even practicing 10-20 minutes per day (or when you can) can help. If you aren’t sure where to start, we found this great 7 minute meditation to start your day. 
  2. Breathing Deeply. Meditation is a start, but there are many breathing techniques that help bring calm to your life. Breathing techniques can help you get to sleep if you’re having trouble, stop anxiety from getting worse, and shift your perspective. Here is a great technique for 4-7-8 breathing
  3. Get some exercise! If your schedule is packed, exercise may not be on your agenda, but we all know how important it is. Exercise releases endorphins which promotes sleep and helps maintain mental health. It just makes you feel good. So if you can get out there and go for a walk, take a quick yoga class, or lift some weights for even 30 minutes, we know it will help reduce your stress.
  4. SLEEP. This one is important, but if you are working over time or juggling work and life, it can be hard to keep up on. We realize most nurses sleep about an hour and a half less than what is recommended and probably need it the most. You can help yourself when it comes time to sleep by limiting screen time at least an hour before bed, keeping the temperature of your room lower, and limiting exposure to bright light before sleeping. If you’re still having trouble, check out this link for additional help. 
  5. Make time to have a little fun. We know, you’re busy working… keeping all of us well, but downtime is important. When you’re constantly working, it can be hard to think about anything else. Make time to schedule fun things like dinner out with friends, a massage for yourself, or even a weekend away if time allows. No matter the activity, the key is it allows you to forget your troubles for a little bit. 

As we celebrate EMS Week we sincerely want to extend our appreciation for everyone who makes up EMS. We hope these tips are a helpful reminder to take some time for yourself because we know how hard you work. We appreciate you!