Healthcare workers are the driving force of the healthcare system. They execute many duties, for example, taking care of patients, adjusting their medications, and managing administrative tasks. However, as we advance towards better healthcare facilities, the workload on healthcare workers is increasing rapidly, and workers are often failing to keep up with their health.
According to NCBI, healthcare workers show an increase in morbidity rate compared to the general population. It also tells that healthcare workers experience more stress because of increasing workload, long working hours, less staff, and high public expectations.
During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers fell ill, and some of them even lost their lives. According to WHO, one in four healthcare workers had depression and anxiety, and one in three had insomnia because of Covid-19. Therefore, ensuring that they stay safe and healthy is extremely important to keep the entire healthcare system from collapsing.
So if you are a healthcare worker who is falling into the web of endless hours and constant pressure, some of these tips might help you stay healthy.
1. Maintain a Work-life Balance
Healthcare is a field that requires long working hours, presence of mind, and constant learning for growth. From nurses, doctors, and surgeons to healthcare administrators, everyone needs to stay on top of their academic and professional life. However, this shouldn’t mean that you let them take over your entire life. Healthcare workers must create a healthy school-work-life balance. If you are pursuing higher education and have an administrative position at the hospital that requires your presence, try opting for a master of health administration online to save some time.
Incorporate healthy activities like exercising into your lifestyle. Regular training and exercise will help your body stay fit, improve blood circulation, and positively impact your mental health. You can join a gym, try home workouts or go for a run in a park near you during your free time. According to CDC, exercise prevents the chances of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers, for example, bladder, lungs, colon, kidneys, etc.
Exercise also improves your quality of life and physical fitness. In addition, it can play a significant role in making you feel more energized. According to Web MD, exercise releases endorphins, reducing pain perception and increasing happiness and positive feelings.
3. Eat Well:
Eating healthy and well is the key to staying active at work. Eat a balanced diet containing Omega 3 and 6, carbohydrates, and high protein. It will provide fuel for your mind and body and help you stay alert during your shift. In addition, according to the British Journal of Psychology, people consuming more fruits and vegetables were happy, engaged, and creative.
Food provides energy to the brain and body. Heavy calorie foods increase sustainable fuel for the body but produce a strain on the stomach and lead to less oxygen in the brain. According to a Harvard business review, such foods make you feel weak and unsteady. Therefore, to stay healthy, you should make eating decisions before getting hungry, replenish your blood glucose throughout the day, and eat small healthy portions or snacks.
4. Take care of your mental health:
Too much workload, long-hour shifts, or staying at work most of the time will make you feel stressed and burned out. In addition, according to NCBI, the emotional; workload in younger and lack of social support in older workers had a higher risk of mental health complaints. Therefore, it is crucial to take care of your physical and brain health.
Poor mental health causes several problems, for example, no work and personal life balance or low efficiency because of a mental illness. According to CDC, mental conditions like depression cause disability, sack, and reduce cognitive performance by about 35%. Therefore, to stay healthy with good mental health, you must manage your stress levels and get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 7-9 hours of sleep is necessary for healthy adults.
5. Stay hydrated:
Drinking water has many benefits. For example, it releases stress and keeps your body dehydrated. Staying well hydrated throughout the day is crucial to survival and work efficiency. According to Daily MBA, the more dehydrated you are, the more your capacity for work decreases. It further explains that staying 3-4% parched can decrease your work performance by 25-50%.
Eating fruits, drinking juices, and electrolyte water can help get rid of dehydration. According to the U.S National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average water intake is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. Therefore, you must stay hydrated all the time to maximize productivity and keep yourself healthy.
6. Take restorative breaks:
Sitting at a desk for long periods can cause stress and irritability. Instead, you can take frequent short breaks or do some stretching exercises to help you relax a bit. It will make you alert without burning out and help with your exhaustion. In addition, taking restorative breaks, for example, stretching or walking to the cafeteria with a colleague, will maintain balance and help you stay active all day.
Breathing exercises and meditation manage stress levels throughout the day. You can try some breathing exercises or meditation during your break time to calm your nerves and assist you in staying healthy.
7. Avoid infectious pathogens:
Healthcare settings are full of infectious viruses and bacteria. Therefore, healthcare workers need to be very careful and avoid catching infections to stay healthy. Healthcare providers must follow Standard Operating Procedures, company guidelines, and health safety policy standards to prevent these pathogens. In addition, according to WHO, healthcare workers must follow infection control standard procedures to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Therefore, healthcare workers should stay alert and cautious to avoid infections and stay healthy.
Healthcare workers work hard to save people and communities from fatal illnesses. However, it is difficult for them to focus on their health and mental well-being due to their busy schedule. Healthcare workers must stay healthy to be able to perform their duties well. Simple tips can help them stay active, healthy, and efficient in their work, for example, healthy foods, water, and vacation for rejuvenating themselves now and then.