COVID-19 has affected the lives of everyone, but it has had more of a dramatic impact on some groups more than others. Among the hardest-hit groups are health care workers. Even in ordinary times, health care workers have to deal with significant stressors, but the pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on most of them. For example, studies from China have found that initial health care responders have experienced major increases in depression, anxiety, insomnia and the fear of workplace violence.

The first line of defense is to use strategies to manage and lessen the stress health care workers face. Measures to take could include prioritizing sleep, eating a nutritious diet and exercising consistently. Physical activity is a stress-reducer and mood-enhancer. Avoid turning to alcohol or drugs for stress management. Try reframing by focusing on what you are grateful for or mindfulness techniques to help reset your mood and outlook.

It’s important to recognize that it’s not only acceptable — but healthy — to ask for help if you’re struggling with mental health issues. The accompanying resource provides additional statistics about mental health in health care workers and potentially effective management techniques.

Graphic created by Mozzaz.

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