While mental health is important all year round, Mental Health Week (Monday 18th - Sunday 24th May) gives us a chance to have open discussions and raise awareness of mental health.
This year, it's more important than ever for you to be kind to yourself as a nurse or carer. The coronavirus outbreak has turned everyone's daily lives upside down, but as workers on the frontline, nurses and carers are particularly likely to be affected by what's going on.
Indeed, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is kindness.
The Mental Health Foundation says: “Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity... it is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health”.
Following the Mental Health Foundation’s guidance, here's our advice for looking after your own mental health during this time...
1. Share your feelings
- Try to keep in touch with friends and family to stay connected.
- If you can, find someone you feel comfortable being open with, such as a family member, friend or colleague they’ll be able to support you through these challenging times.
- Working in a supportive environment is also key to maintaining your mental health, so if something is troubling you at work - share it. If you feel overwhelmed or uncertain, bring this up with a nurse in charge or manager.
2. Create a routine
- Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself.
- Separate your daytime schedule from your evening schedule and make time to unwind after your working day.
- Make an effort to maintain a consistent sleep pattern. If you are working night shifts, be sure to get enough sleep in the day - so you stay energised and alert during your working hours.
3. Keep active
- It is important to be active for at least 30 minutes of the day, this helps to let out tension from your body, which is helpful if you are feeling anxious.
- Although your daily work duties may keep you active, it is important to get fresh air regularly and take breaks outside of the workplace or your home.
- It’s a good idea to go outside for walks, runs or other exercise where safe and if possible, so that you are changing your environment. You can also complete at-home workouts to ensure you are staying active.
4. Eat well
- Your physical and mental health are intrinsically linked.
- So, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is also key to how you feel throughout your day and contributes to your overall well being.
- Ensure your diet is rich in vegetables and nutrients so that you are energised for the working day.
- Try to allow time for a healthy snack during your shift break, and stay hydrated throughout your shift.
For more guidance on looking after your mental health during this time you can access the Mental Health Foundation’s resources here.
We appreciate the incredible work you’re doing every day on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.
Florence is continuing to work to keep you, residents and care homes protected from the spread of infection. If you are unsure, please see our guidelines on what we are doing to help all Florence users, as well as see our policy for nurses and carers to follow during this time.