A key area of concern in the past few months has been the prospect of healthcare worker burnout and the increase of instances of physical and mental stress.
The global healthcare system is suffering from the fallout of a sustained period of a viral pandemic. This has already placed intense pressure on industry personnel, with many typically facing periods of prolonged shifts and extended working hours, and it appears these pressures are not yet over.
Relaxation during off-duty periods
As well as increased workloads during rostered shifts, healthcare staff have also been restricted in off-duty activity due to social restrictions. As with many people, the internet has provided an alternative to outdoor activity. Doctors and healthcare workers can naturally de-stress and wind down with a multitude of relaxation activities online.
For some, music and relaxation are a preferred choice, particularly for those individuals who have needed to maintain a high level of visual work during the course of their duties.
Others may find suitable relaxation in passive visual pursuits such as streaming movies or perhaps gaming activity on sites such as luckynuggetcasino.com.
The use of essential oils or incense can stimulate the olfactory senses and accelerate relaxation during an off-duty wind-down period.
Breaks between tasks during duty times
For medical staff working unusually long or extended duty periods, the need to remain focused throughout that shift is typically crucial. However, for most, there are periods between consultations or patient assessments where a relaxed awareness is acceptable, and workers should make avail of these “lull times” to relax and re-charge.
Some suggestions include:
- Take a walk away from the work area. Removing oneself from the immediate work environment serves to ‘reset’ both body and mind for short relaxation periods. Often a short break of 5-10 minutes in the open or in the fresh air can provide a quick concentration boost.
- Do some stretching exercises. The physical act of tensing and releasing muscles alleviated built-up tension and calms the mind. It also serves to assist in maintaining extended periods of concentration when a long break is not available.
- Breathing exercises. For those engaged in precision work, like doctors and surgeons, there can be extended periods where the breath is being held. Often, with pressure and growing fatigue, the staff member can be unaware of just how prolonged these periods have become. Therefore, doing some deliberate deep breathing exercises between jobs serves to re-center both body and mind.
Hot showers and baths
Where staff facilities and time permits, these suggested activities can be enhanced by taking a hot shower. Heat is known to stimulate the natural production of the hormone oxytocin, which is associated with stress release and deeper relaxation.
For those workers spending significant periods on their feet, a hot shower also benefits soothing muscle discomfort and general tightness.
For off-duty hours, the same applies. Extended baths are likely possible and should be considered for the same reasons.
The current global climate has brought about unprecedented working conditions for those in the healthcare industry, and significant thought should be given by managers and employees alike to adopting relaxation methods both on- and off-duty.