COVID-19: Taking Care of Your Mental Health

COVID-19: Taking Care of Your Mental Health

User Profile By Haley Burress   United States

Found In: Activities Articles Coronavirus: Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is downright stressful and overwhelming. Taking care of yourself is probably low on your priority list right now, but you won’t be able to take care of your residents if you are struggling. Here are a few easy ways to be gentle with yourself and focus on self-care during these trying times
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The COVID-19 pandemic is downright stressful and overwhelming. 

You likely feel exhausted with trying to keep up with changing recommendations while still giving your residents an engaging and happy atmosphere. Taking care of yourself is probably low on your priority list right now, but you won’t be able to take care of your residents if you are struggling. Here are a few easy ways to be gentle with yourself and focus on self-care during these trying times. 

Recharge at Home

Your time away from work is perhaps the most important, as it gives you the chance to put down work responsibilities and recharge at home. However, this pandemic has created new challenges you have to face at home, like helping your child with distance learning, heading out to the grocery store to see what is available, checking in on vulnerable family members, and more.

It feels impossible to relax at home, which is why you need to make it as easy as possible to do. Here are a few ideas to help you decompress at home and get ready for the work ahead of you:

  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Walk around the block
  • Sit outside on your porch or patio
  • Water your plants
  • Have a dance party with your family (or by yourself)
  • Put off a household chore and instead just sit down
  • Watch a comedy
  • Turn off the television
  • Log off social media

Find Calm Moments at Work

Your workplace is stressful right now, and that’s okay. You are there to give your all to your residents and your team, but changing recommendations and constant updates can make anyone feel tense. 

Give yourself and your team the gift of calm moments without adding extra work to your already busy day:

  • Schedule time for each team member for breaks; make sure everyone is taking time away from their duties for at least 15 minutes twice per shift
  • Clean off your office desks; less cluttered spaces lead to increased creativity and decreased stress
  • Diffuse lavender essential oils in your activity office
  • Have flameless candles in your activity office
  • Plan morning and afternoon check-in meetings as a team; everyone says how they are feeling, what they are worried about, what they are thankful for
  • Write encouraging phrases on post-it notes and put them on the office door so the staff sees the phrase before heading out into the hallway (a simple “we’ve got this” or “I’m thankful for you” works wonders)
  • Remind yourself and your staff of simple stress relief actions: unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath
  • Encourage everyone to stay off the internet and spread only reliable information when needed
  • Have the phone number or contact information for your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) readily available for yourself and your team members. Not sure if you have access to an EAP through your community? Talk to your Human Resources department.
  • Go on walks during your lunch break, together or separately
  • Encourage everyone to drink plenty of water (perhaps start a hydration challenge?)

Delegate When You Can

You are the Director of your department, but you have very capable staff and a team of volunteers who can take some duties off of your busy to-do list. Now is the time for smart delegation. You may have to teach your team how to do the duty you are delegating, but it is well worth the time. Besides, everyone is ready to learn and help out in any way right now.

Consider sharing some of these responsibilities with others and remember, delegate wisely but don’t be afraid to let your team try something new right now:

  • Develop new activity ideas
  • Create 1:1 schedules
  • Create and copy activity packets with independent leisure materials
  • Update care plans
  • Disinfect and wipe down equipment or supplies
  • Create new activities or craft projects using materials you have in your supply closet
  • Research new ways to use technology in your program
  • Update your social media feed

Your mental and emotional health is deeply connected with your physical health. While it can seem daunting to have one more thing to think about, your brain and emotions can benefit greatly when you implement even just a few of our recommendations.

So, tell me: how are you doing lately? I’m thinking of you every day, and sending all my good vibes your way. How are you holding up? What mental health hacks are you using to get you through this time?

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Haley Burress

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Comments   Post a Comment

Kemi 14th May 2021 Engagement Lead
Hi everyone, It feels so good to be here!
My name is kemi, I am the engagement lead at St Catherines Nursing Home in Letchworth garden city.
I enjoyed reading this article Taking care of your mental health. Thank you Haley for your thoughtfulness though I have always practised most of the stuff mentioned especially putting off house chores to watch the television or just do nothing. lol.
Talita 14th May 2021
Thank you so much for your feedback Kemi, and welcome to our community!
Karen 19th Oct 2020 Activity Professional
Hello to all. I’m new to Golden Carers and thankful for many new activity ideas. This Karen is from New Jersey. I work in Pennsylvania. When I logged in before it said Michigan.
Talita 19th Oct 2020
Thanks Karen and welcome to the community! This issue has now been resolved.
Karen 13th Oct 2020 Activity Professional
Hello to all dedicated Activity Professionals. In my personal self-care program, I practice taking my work ‘one day at a time’, and I add to that flexibility, patience and positive mindset. Not easy some days! Following strict guidelines put in place because of Covid is presenting challenges. Adapting to changes can be frustrating. I am grateful to be of service to my residents, families and co-workers. Never lose hope and faith that we will get through this challenge! Carpe diem
Gemma 6th Oct 2020 VC
Thank you for this...Like so many others I feel exhausted, and am now getting ready for the winter onslaught....residents not been able to see families at this time adds an extra burden to our day. That's why this site is so important to provide stimulation and interesting and fun activities..
Very much appreciated.
Talita 11th Oct 2020
Thank you so much for your feedback Gemma. it's certainly been a challenging year for everyone. All the best to you, take some time out when you can to rest and recharge x
Karen 13th Sep 2020 Activity Professional
Self care is extremely important especially during these days of lockdowns with new rules and regulations in place. Practice self-care daily. Use all the tools we use with our residents: music, art, meditation and prayer. It works.
Susan 14th Sep 2020 Activity Director
Hi Karen
Thank you for sharing this
Emily 31st Mar 2020 Activity Director
i needed this! Thank you
Talita 6th Apr 2020
All the best to you Emily in these difficult times. x
AJ 31st Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thanks for the reminders. I think most of us are caregivers by nature and forget to take care of ourselves!
I would say the biggest thing for me is having several FaceBook groups that are supportive, giving each other ideas and lets us know that we ARE NOT ALONE. Its great to see the Activity Professionals supporting each other during this difficult time.
Thank you Golden Carers for all you do for our peeps!
Peace and health from California!
Talita 6th Apr 2020
Thanks so much for your feedback AJ. Yes a sense of community makes all the difference. All the best to you. Keep safe x
Airinne Ryan 30th Mar 2020
Keep well and follow good advice....
Talita 6th Apr 2020
All the best to you too Airinne
Haley 19th Mar 2020 Recreation Therapist And Writer
Haley has submitted a new article: COVID-19: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health
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