As we head into the fall, shorter days, less sunlight and cooler temperatures can create a less-than-optimal environment for safeguarding our mental, physical and emotional health. To help prioritize wellness, we’re sharing 10 clinician wellness tips to help fight burnout, improve mental and physical health and sustain resiliency.
Clinician Wellness Tips
Take some time for yourself. Clinicians are often so busy caring for others that they forget to take time to care for themselves. Set aside time on your calendar to do something you find restorative—whether that’s yoga, exercise, walking your dog or even watching your favorite TV show. You can’t take care of others without first caring for yourself!
Get your COVID and flu shot and yearly check-up. Clinicians know the importance of vaccination and annual exams but may struggle to prioritize the same good habits they recommend to their patients for themselves. Be sure to schedule out any overdue annual examinations, vaccinations and booster shots to keep yourself healthy this fall.
Treat yourself to delicious in-season foods. Take advantage of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that reach their peak in the autumn. Apples, bananas, beets, brussels sprouts, cranberries, kale, pears, pumpkins, rutabagas and winter squash are just a few. Find some creative and delicious recipes to make and enjoy alongside family and friends this season!
Stay healthy by boosting your immune system. Your immune system needs all the help it can get during the changing seasons to fight off seasonal colds, the flu and other illnesses. By washing your hands, drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious foods, you can give your immune system the help it needs to support your well-being throughout the season.
Curl up with a good book to improve your health. Reading is not only a great activity for the fall, it can improve your well-being. Studies have shown that reading as little as 6 minutes per day can improve your quality of sleep, reduce stress, sharpen mental acuity and even lower your blood pressure. What’s more, research finds that people who read fiction consistently demonstrate a heightened ability to empathize with others, which may help clinicians prevent or decrease compassion fatigue—a significant symptom of burnout.
Don’t let Daylight Savings Time catch you off guard. Daylight Savings Time (DST) can be incredibly troublesome for our sleep schedules and patterns, leading to sleeplessness and stress. Prepare ahead by making note of when DST ends. The week or so before, begin gradually adjusting your sleep schedule to make the change less disruptive.
Keep your skin moisturized. Autumn brings with it drier and colder air that can be harsh on skin. The increased handwashing that comes with the season only makes matters worse. Invest in a good moisturizer to prevent painful cracking and itchy, dry skin.
Find creative ways to stay active. The fall can present new challenges for staying active. Harsher weather and fewer daylight hours make outdoor running, walks and even trips to the gym less appealing. Thankfully, there are many great options for staying active indoors. Find an at-home fitness regimen that appeals to your interests. Dance classes, boxing, yoga and body weight exercises are all great options. You can also start a small home gym with just a few hand weights, a yoga mat, resistance bands or an exercise ball.
Prepare your home for changing weather conditions. Depending on where you live, autumn can bring with it challenging weather conditions. Make sure you have all the equipment you need for snow or check your existing equipment, like snow blowers and generators, to ensure they are still working properly. Finally, be sure to get your heating system serviced to prepare your home for the cooler weather.
“Spring cleaning” is also appropriate for the fall. Just as spring can be a transitional time for reorganizing and clearing out clutter, so can fall. As the holiday season approaches, take a weekend to clean out your closet, garage or spare bedroom. Donate or throw away clothing and other items that aren’t being worn or utilized. Organizing your space and getting rid of clutter can help simplify your life and help reset your home and your mind for the coming season.
It’s been a challenging year for clinicians. By taking the time to ensure your own mental health and well-being are prioritized, you can safeguard your resiliency this fall. This will allow you to provide patients with the compassionate care they need.
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