Mental Health Tips for Healthcare Workers - Blog - Infectious Clothing

Did you know that 21% of Australian doctors have depression, and 20% suffer from anxiety? 

As we know, managing mental health with a full-time job that requires you to be present and alert to your patients can be extremely tough.

But, coping with stress and learning self-care tips can help healthcare workers immensely. It doesn't need to be difficult to introduce moments of calm and relaxation into your day.

As well as this, it is important to have fun with it! That is why inventions like Fun Friday Scrub Club were created by the clothing company Infectious. 

They make wearing medical scrubs colourful and expressive so you can feel that little bit brighter going to work.

Your wellbeing and happiness should be a top priority, which is why we believe you should invest in your mental health through simple acts of kindness to yourself. It can make a huge difference. 

Read on to find out effective and easy mental health tips that will leave you feeling less stressed and more energised, so you can continue giving your best at work!

Why Mental Health Is Important

We all have responsibilities in life to pay bills, look after our family, and in the case of healthcare workers, provide excellent care to patients. It can be tiring looking after everyone whilst still trying to smile and be thankful. 

It's okay not to feel your best all the time. In fact, we all feel like that sometimes.

So, why is mental health important? And, how can you find time for it?

Without proper self-care time and investing in your mental health, you cannot lead a full and balanced life.

Emotional health is just as important as physical health, as we need a happy brain to function and continue doing the things we love. Taking time for yourself can help you be more productive at work. 

When life gets busy, we all forget to prioritise our mental health. There are a number of reasons why someone may neglect their emotional health.

For instance: 

  • Not enough time
  • Society avoids talking about feelings 
  • No support system
  • Mental healthcare is expensive

No matter the reason, most of us forget to make time for mental health activities because we are simply not taught to do so. Instead, when you enter adulthood, there is pressure to work, raise a family, and provide.

However, times are changing, and after we have all experienced a global pandemic, mental health for healthcare workers has become even more important. 

Mental Health for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, veterinarians, dentists, aged care workers, and beauty and laser therapists all need to take time to look after themselves.

With a job focused on helping and providing for someone else, it is vital that you feel your best when working, and when relaxing at home. So, what are some tips for healthcare workers?

Schedule Self-Care Moments at Work

Perhaps the biggest misconception about taking a self-care day is that you need to wait until your day off. Because of social media, we all compare our mental health days to someone else's.

Maybe you see a photo of someone visiting a luxurious wellness spa, but not everyone can live in that world. And, most of us don't. 

Making room for moments of calm and improving your mental health doesn't need to be glamourous or impressive. It just needs to make you feel good! 

The most effective way to improve your self-care is to implement small changes into your daily routine. For example, treating yourself to a nice cup of tea, baking a treat for a snack, or taking a book to read at lunch.

You can also schedule a five-minute mediation if you have the time or even do some quick yoga. It doesn't need to take up your whole break; it just has to provide you with a moment of relief. 

Sometimes, even taking a couple of minutes for yourself can lift your mood and boost your energy. Of course, on your days off you should make lots of time for being in nature and going on long walks.

Anything that takes you away from work and allows you to switch off will help you unwind.

Healthy Eating

Leading a healthy life is not only about taking enough self-care time, it is also about eating healthy and making sure you are getting enough nutrients. 

A great way to ensure that you are eating healthy is to bring your own food to work. We all know how tempting it can be to get a chocolate bar from the vending machine or buy a soft drink to give you more energy.

To avoid these cravings, you should get in the habit of preparing fresh and healthy meals to take with you. That way, you can choose what to put in them and you can keep an eye on your calorie intake. 

To make this easy, you can dedicate a day to preparing your lunches for the week. This will give you enough time to do other activities and also eat healthy during the week. 

Some good ways to store and transport your food is with a zipper bag or a decorative lunchbox. Why not make lunch fun with your own unique lunch bag?

Examples of healthy lunches:

  • Tuna salad
  • Potato salad
  • Soup 
  • Pasta salad 
  • Avocado toast

To make it even better, you could start a group with other healthcare workers.

For instance, you can each bring a different healthy dish or start a chat group to support each other with staying healthy. Here are some great healthy snacks:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Granola 
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Fruit
  • Roasted chickpeas

Any one of the options are brilliant for busy schedules and will improve the mental health of all healthcare professionals. Especially mental health for doctors, mental health for vets, and mental health for dentists.

It works for everyone!

Stay Hydrated

If you become dehydrated at work, this could cause other problems such as headaches, fatigue, and tight muscles. This is particularly important for healthcare workers who are on their feet all day. 

But, how do you keep hydrated throughout the day?

The best way to get enough water in your body is to drink 10 glasses of water a day. This is a great way to keep track of how much water you are drinking throughout your shift. 

Another way to do this is buying a water bottle with 1-litre marks so you can see exactly how much you are drinking. You should drink between 2-3 litres of water a day.

You could also try setting reminders on your phone, using post-it notes, or telling a friend to remind you every so often. By making sure you have enough water in your system, you will find it easier to relax.

Keep Moving

A simple way to ensure you are getting enough movement at work is to keep walking. You should avoid staying seated for too long and take breaks to get up and walk around.

Also, you can add a walk into your lunch break, or ask a colleague to have walking meetings when you can discuss work topics and also get some exercise. Sounds great, right?

Did you know that having at least 20 minutes of walking a day can increase your health significantly? Well, it can! 

As well as adding movement into your daily routine, it is also essential that you keep exercising outside of work. However, some people avoid exercising because they haven't found something they like.

Not everyone enjoys doing the same exercises. It is worth researching some different activities so you can find the one you like the most. No matter what exercise you pick, it will have amazing mental health effects. 

Why?

Because, exercise can improve self-esteem, lower depression, and make you feel happier. There are so many magical benefits!

Although, after a long day, you might also want to do something restorative.

Yoga is wonderful for this. You can combine a yoga session with a nice bubble bath for even more relaxation.

Plus, it will make sure you get a good night's sleep so you can get through the next workday with ease. 

Take Breaks

It can be easy to get so immersed in work that you forget to take a break. When you start to feel tired, nauseous or stressed, make sure to include a quick break to give yourself some time to centre yourself. 

You can also change the location of your breaks to get a change of scenery. Maybe go and sit by a window? Take a stroll outside? Or, ask a friend to go for a coffee?

This can really help you get some perspective if you feel that the walls are closing in on you. It might also be a good moment to write in a journal or have a healthy snack. 

Avoid Caffeine

Everyone struggles with getting energy in the morning, which is why we all tend to turn to our friend, coffee. It is undeniable that caffeine helps us get through the day and many of us need a cup of it before we start work. 

That being said, caffeine is also known to add to feelings of anxiety if consumed in high quantity. If you drink too much coffee, you may feel stressed and develop a headache. 

The average intake of coffee is 2 cups per day, but ideally, you should avoid caffeine altogether if you are struggling with anxiety. Thankfully, there are plenty of natural alternatives to coffee that can give you the boost you need!

So, what are the natural alternatives? 

  • Matcha tea
  • Green tea
  • Lemon water
  • Golden milk
  • Yerba mate
  • Chai tea
  • Kombucha

These are guaranteed to give you that energy kick that you crave without the negative emotional effects of caffeine. 

Holidays

After working all year, we all deserve a break. Having a holiday to look forward to can really help you get through the workweek and motivate you on the hard days.

We all need something to look forward to, and holidays are the perfect time to take some much-needed self-care time. But, that doesn't mean that you need an expensive trip.

You can plan a lovely holiday at home. For example, a picnic, a long weekend hike, an outdoor cinema, and a camping trip. These are all ideas you can do with a small budget but still give you a well-deserved break.

Fun Friday Scrub Club is also a great chance to break up the repetitiveness of work. Give it a go!

Although all these tips are effective for improving your mental health, sometimes people need more support from a professional.

If you feel like you are suffering from severe mental health issues, then you should seek help. This could mean reaching out to a mental health professional and going to counselling. 

Ignoring your mental health is not the solution if you are experiencing a difficult time or suffering from extreme stress. There is no shame in asking for help and admitting that you are struggling. 

As well as going to counselling, there are also peer support groups for healthcare professionals where you can share and give advice to each other. 

There is no need to suffer in silence; there is always help out there and someone you can turn to in times of need. These tips are ideal for helping you carve small moments for yourself and therefore, improve your wellbeing.

Fun Friday Scrub Club for Everyone

Fun Friday Scrub Club is an amazing opportunity to change up your routine, add some colour to your wardrobe, and increase team morale at healthcare facilities. 

Being a healthcare worker is a challenging as well as rewarding job, but everyone needs some alone time to recharge and relax. That is why practising frequent self-care moments is so vital.

Whether that be wearing printed scrubs, doing yoga, or making a nice lunch for yourself.

it's the little things that matter. And, they add up.

Treat yourself to an Infectious scrub today!