Managing Health Care Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

Excerpt from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Providers should engage in these behaviors:

  • Self-monitoring and pacing
  • Regular check-ins with colleagues, family, and friends
  • Working in partnerships or in teams
  • Brief relaxation/stress-management breaks
  • Regular peer consultation and supervision
  • Time-outs for basic bodily care and refreshment
  • Regularly seeking out accurate information and mentoring to assist in making decisions
  • Keeping anxieties conscribed to actual threats
  • Doing their best to maintain helpful self-talk and avoid overgeneralizing fears
  • Focusing their efforts on what is within their power
  • Acceptance of situations they cannot change
  • Fostering a spirit of fortitude, patience, tolerance, and hope

At the same time, providers should avoid:

  • Working too long by themselves without checking in with colleagues
  • Working “round the clock” with few breaks
  • Feeling that they are not doing enough
  • Excessive intake of sweets and caffeine
  • Engaging in self-talk and attitudinal obstacles to self-care, such as:
    • "It would be selfish to take time to rest."
    • "Others are working around the clock, so should I."
    • "The needs of survivors are more important than the needs of helpers."
    • "I can contribute the most by working all the time."
    • "Only I can do..."