COVID-19 has brought heaps of challenges, and our healthcare workers have stuck it out through thick and thin to continue to care for our community.
From cleaners to call centre workers, social workers to schedulers, security guards to nurses, whatever your role in the health system, we want you to know your mahi matters and we appreciate every sacrifice you’re making.
It’s important to acknowledge the incredible pressure you’ve been under and the challenges you’ll continue to face as Omicron spreads throughout the community. You might be feeling all sorts of emotions, and not knowing exactly what to expect over the coming months might be making you feel out of sorts. Remember, those feelings are normal and expected.
As a healthcare worker, you might find yourself in a position where you’re giving lots of advice out to others about how to look after themselves right now, and, we know – it's often really hard to follow that advice ourselves. Believe us – we know, we’re in the same waka.
Try to keep in mind it’s the small things you can do more often that will make the biggest difference to your mental health right now. Even though those small things might feel too small to really help with the big things going on all around you, and the big feelings you might have inside you, they truly will make a big difference.
Here are some tried and tested things you can do to look after your mental health:
Stay connected to your friends and whānau - people who make you feel good.
It might be hard to find time to do this, but connection makes us feel good, especially during tough times. It can be as simple as calling or texting a friend or checking in with a family member.
“Look after yourself so you can look after others. Simple things like making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, moving your body and staying connected with others really help.” Janine, medical student and volunteer vaccinator.
Try getting outside for a walk when you can. Take notice of what you see and hear around you. Think about what makes you feel good – self-care is different for everyone – and make time to do something small just for you, every day.
Acknowledge your feelings
“It’s important to acknowledge how difficult this situation is for everyone, including you. Let go of what you can. Understand it’s natural to feel what you’re feeling – worry, joy, hope, anxiety and sadness. Check in with yourself. With so much happening at work, take time to listen to what your body and mind need! Allow yourself to check out on a regular basis physically, mentally and emotionally. Intentionally create ‘shutdown’ time in your schedule.” Janine, medical student and volunteer vaccinator.
Seek support if you need it
Being a healthcare worker doesn’t make you immune to the mental health impacts of this pandemic and feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness – it's a sign you're human. Have a kōrero about your feelings with someone you trust, or call 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor.
“Remember, regardless of what you’re going through, there’s always someone you could talk to if you're feeling down. Don’t bottle it up - let it out.” Pita, hospital security guard.