Taking care of yourself

Taking care of yourself

During the Covid-19 response period, you may experience periods of intense stress and burnout. Some of the information below, extracted from the CDC website, may be helpful:

Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself

Responding to disasters is both rewarding and challenging work. Sources of stress for emergency responders may include witnessing human suffering, risk of personal harm, intense workloads, life-and-death decisions, and separation from family. Stress prevention and management is critical for responders to stay well and to continue to help in the situation. There are important steps responders should take before, during, and after an event. To take care of others, responders must be feeling well and thinking clearly.

  • Try to learn as much as possible about what your role would be in a response.
  • If you will be traveling or working long hours during a response, explain this to loved ones who may want to contact you.
  • Limit your time working alone by trying to work in teams.
  • Responders experience stress during a crisis. When stress builds up it can cause:

    • Burnout – feelings of extreme exhaustion and being overwhelmed.
    • Secondary traumatic stress – stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experiences, rather than from exposure directly to a traumatic event.
  • Get support from team members: Develop a Buddy System
  • Limit working hours to no longer than 12-hour shifts.
  • Work in teams and limit amount of time working alone.
  • It is not selfish to take breaks.
  • The needs of survivors are not more important than your own needs and well-being.

Extracted from the CDC website. Read more at: https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/responders.asp


For responders

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:

  • Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

Extracted from the CDC website. Read more at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html


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