Health Care Workers Cope With Mental Toll of Pandemic – NBC4 Washington

Health Care Workers Cope With Mental Toll of Pandemic – NBC4 Washington
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As the pandemic has strained hospitals with doctors and nurses working around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients, healthcare workers say the new year brings new hope and an opportunity for change.

Like many people, Doctors start 2022 by turning the page and making resolutions after a few difficult years, many turning in on themselves in the hope of making meaningful changes in the coming year.

“It has been very difficult for the caregivers,” said Dr Aronica Cotton, mother and psychiatrist at MedStar Health.

Healthcare workers have been hit hard by the pandemic and many are struggling to leave the stress and sadness of their job at work.

“I used to keep everything inside because I didn’t want to take it all home to my family, my safe space,” Cotton said.

“It spread even further in the interactions I had with my loved ones because I was more distant,” she said.

Even healthcare professionals can benefit from the start of a New Year by shifting their focus to healthy changes, Cotton said.

In 2022, many are looking inward. MedStar Health has surveyed doctors nationwide and found that 71% of doctors say their New Year’s resolution is to focus on their mental health.

“Before, you know, weight loss was probably at the top of that list,” Cotton said. “Now more and more doctors are looking to spend more time on their mental health and focus on their relationships.

Turning any resolution into reality starts with setting a specific, achievable goal, Cotton said.

“Breaking down the goal into smaller goals, once you’ve really identified why you’re trying to achieve that goal and your true motivation, can be helpful in supporting long-term change,” she said. “And writing it down or having someone who can help you take responsibility for achieving that goal can also be helpful.”

Even as the number of COVID cases increases, there is still so much uncertainty and anxiety. Instead, focus on the things that can be controlled, Cotton said. She encourages people to practice mindfulness to help them heal.

“Let this mindfulness practice actually be meditation, be it a prayer, be it a journal, but take the time to check with yourself,” she said.

“Other healthcare workers, even considering starting a support group for people in your hospital, can be of benefit,” she said.

Doctors have some of the highest burnout rates in the country, and the pandemic has only added to that.


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