The requirement that you be at your worksite, combined with the changes in education and the availability of care options, makes an already challenging time even more difficult for you. Strategizing, arranging, and constantly thinking about how to manage life during COVID-19 can be fatiguing and cause burnout.
Front-line workers are at high-risk of experiencing burnout. Emotional burnout is an experience when a person feels exhausted because of accumulated stress in their occupation. The range of negative effects of burnout include a weakened immune system, physical ailments, impaired relationships, and decreased productivity, motivation and enjoyment at work. This experience is normal but detrimental to someone’s functioning. Awareness is a crucial step toward lessening burnout.
There is hope… Recognition is vital to the prevention and management of burnout. If you are seeing warning signs in yourself, consider taking the time to practice strategies that may help you cope. Pulling yourself out of burnout takes time. Create the space to take care of yourself and try these coping strategies:
- Self-Compassion. Front-line workers have increased exposure to the difficult circumstances that are part of the Coronavirus pandemic. Often you are working closely with individuals that are feeling anxious, afraid, and grief stricken. The kindness and compassion you show day-to-day is one reason you need to pay attention to yourself with both compassion and kindness. Watch this Ted Talk to start your journey toward self-compassion.
- Resilience Building. Look at your situation as a temporary challenge that will help you increase strength. There’s not one universal method to achieving resiliency; however, you can practice through your own chosen outlet, whether this be spiritual, physical, or psychological.
- Stay Present. Doing what you can to remain in the present will not only help you improve emotional strength long term, but it’s likely to immediately decrease stress. This prevents excessive worrying about the past and concerns for the future. Breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and journaling are just a few ways to remain present.
- Practice Gratitude. Try taking a moment every day to direct your attention toward what you are grateful for. Here are thirteen different gratitude building exercises that you can practice today.
- Get Support. It’s normal to feel alone – especially if you are feeling burned out. Developing your support system and talking about how you are feeling is a strength and will help you cope. It is common for front-line workers to carry the burden of being “the helper.” This can make it difficult to disclose any challenging emotional experiences. Develop your natural support system by reaching out to coworkers, friends and/or family. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone you don’t know. In that case, try these two resources:
Frontline workers in need of emotional support can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741
NYS Emotional Support Helpline: 1-844-863-9314 7 Days/Week 8am-10pm
A childcare resource…New York State’s Office of Child and Family Services is a great place to obtain support toward finding childcare.