With each passing day of the global pandemic, it’s apparent that nurses caring for patients with COVID-19, along with those providing daily care under strained circumstances, need as much mental health and well-being support as possible. The ANA Enterprise is committed to providing tools and resources to help nurses focus on their own well-being while caring for others.
Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation offers community, tips, and resources
Nurses experience stress during every shift, but the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic have added increased levels of worry, anxiety, and grief.
Recent blog posts on Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) at hnhn.org have focused on actions, both big and small, that nurses can take to have a large impact on improving mood and overall mental health. For example:
• Use handwashing time as a short “breather.” During that 20 seconds of scrubbing, recite positive affirmations, pray, sing a song to yourself, or indulge in some positive self-talk.
• Take a lap around your unit or department and incorporate a simple breathing exercise. While walking, breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7, and breathe out for 8. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, breaking the stress cycle.
• Connect with family and friends while maintaining physical distancing. It’s especially refreshing if you can see their faces via an electronic device.
• Take time for yourself, doing something you really enjoy every day. Read a magazine, watch an old sports program, power nap, or do some baking, scrapbooking, or letter writing.
• Make extra efforts to eat well, get enough rest, and exercise.
• Spend a few minutes to read or listen to something positive. Don’t feel obligated to follow every bit of pandemic news.
One of the most important things you can do for your mental health is to express your feelings. Talk to a friend, family member, or trusted colleague. Keep a journal to record your thoughts and experiences.
Remember, help is available, and you’re not alone. If stress, anxiety, or depressed mood is interfering with your functioning, reach out. Contact your organization’s employee assistance program, explore tele-mental health options, and/or contact your healthcare provider. If you have thoughts about suicide or you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
HNHN’s Strength through Resiliency Committee has been examining, developing, and collecting mental health resources for nurses, including those for suicide prevention and a mental health-focused webinar planned for later in the year.
HNHN has more in-depth resources and tips here. It’s free to join, and all are welcome.
American Nurses Foundation collaborates to create virtual support program
Recognizing the critical necessity to support the mental health, well-being, and resilience of nurses, the American Nurses Foundation, through its Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses, created a multitiered virtual support system and digital toolkit. This comprehensive Well-Being Initiative, developed in partnership with the American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Emergency Nurses Association, and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, will support the near and long-term needs of America’s nurses.
The Foundation and its partners designed the virtual programs to support nurses who process stress and trauma alone or in groups, verbally, or through writing. Activities and tools include peer-to-peer conversation and support through facilitated Zoom calls, Written Exposure Therapy, and a mental well-being self-assessment tool. The digital toolkit will curate and share the best and most relevant video, audio, and visual content related to the clinical management of COVID-19 and its impact on nurse well-being. A select list of hotlines and providers will include guidance for finding a mental health provider.
For more information, visit the COVID-19 Resource Center here.