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HomeminewsMental Health and Wellbeing: It Needs to Come First

Mental Health and Wellbeing: It Needs to Come First

The last two years have been trying for the eye health profession to say the least.

The pandemic has necessitated significant and diverse changes to meet the needs of patients, staff, and health and safety compliance. Not to mention the financial pressures of running a business through unprecedented change.

Frustratingly, it’s not over yet. To give yourself and your practice the best chance of coming through the pandemic ‘right side up’, so that you can continue to practice to the best of your ability, you need to put yourself first!

Yes, it’s a major step to decide to invest and prioritise yourself – whether you’re just beginning your career or have been working for several years. Yet, while it can be overwhelming and confronting, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to set yourself up with the right skills and resources. Crucially, taking action via setting up habits and establishing a trusted network will enable you to better manage any negative, darker moments that come your way.

Acknowledge and Reframe Your Mindset

Here’s a list that can help with acknowledging and reframing your mindset, ensuring you are meeting your basic needs and finding ways to introduce self-care:

  • Acknowledge your achievements. You are showing up day in and day out and that is already a huge accomplishment. Find moments in your day where you had a small win or positive feedback and savour the success,
  • Be kind to yourself. Understand you are human, you have personal challenges and therefore experience stress just like anybody else. Replace negative self-talk with positive words and encouragement, as you would speak to a friend,
  • Take time to ensure you eat, exercise, rest and relax, even if it’s for a short period,
  • Minimise or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and drug intake,
  • Breathe. During moments of stress or anxiousness, stop and take a moment to do five deep breaths – with a hand on your belly breathe in through your nose, then allow full exhalation through your mouth and feel your hand move in to help push the air out. Diaphragmatic breathing enables more airflow into your body and helps calm nerves,
  • Stay connected to family and friends. Whether it’s via phone calls, texts, WhatsApp or Instagram messages, social connection can lower anxiety and depression, increase happiness and motivation for self-care,
  • Acknowledge feelings of distress or sadness. Talk about your experiences with a manager, colleague or trusted family and friends,
  • Build your own support network. We often feel a little better once we’ve shared or vented to someone so ensure you have this in place. In return, you can be their support person and notice the little signs if they are not checking in. Asking if they are okay can be a life-saving conversation,
  • Assess your working hours. Especially if you have been stretched far beyond your limits with overtime and/or unreasonable hours, speak to your manager about how you’ve been feeling and how changes can be made to your work schedule,
  • Leverage technology. Look into meditation, breathing, better sleep and yoga apps and other wellness resources, such as Headspace. YouTube has a plethora of free videos you can follow along or listen to, such as meditation playlists,
  • Make self-care work for you. While most professionals will say they’re too busy or can’t find the time, as you would with a work meeting, make a point of carving out the time in your phone calendar when you clock off or on your day off. Some ideas could be: having a relaxing bath, creating a ritual with a scented candle for a five-minute meditation, a daily morning mantra for gratitude, no mobile phone or TV two hours before bed, regular journaling to keep track of your mental state, try a new recipe in the kitchen, commit to a long run or walk at a scenic trail or track, have a ‘beauty night’ with facemasks and hair treatments at a friend’s place,
  • Seek further professional help. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, panic, insomnia and/or sadness, the organisations mentioned below can be a great starting point. You may also want to speak to your GP about getting a referral for counselling or therapy sessions, or you can research this yourself.

taking action via setting up habits and establishing a trusted network will enable you to better manage any negative, darker moments that come your way

Set Yourself Up Now

We hope 2022 is a year during which you can truly prioritise yourself. Arming yourself with some of the advice and strategies above can help you manage stress, build your mental resilience, courage and focus, and give you the confidence you need to perform to your best ability as an eye health professional.

If you need assistance to get your financial situation under control or grow your wealth, contact Credabl. Our team is here to answer all your questions and provide options relevant to your personal situation. Live chat to a team member on the Credabl website or call anytime on (AUS) 1300 27 33 22.

Need Extra Help?

Lifeline

If you or someone you know is struggling or experiencing emotional distress, confidential crisis counselling and suicide prevention services are available at Lifeline 13 11 14. Their trained professionals will be there to listen and support you 24/7.

Beyond Blue

Trained counsellors are also available for support and advice at Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348. But sometimes you may not feel like talking on the phone. They have an online chat support service, as well as online forums, all available 24/7.

Headspace

If you need support for your mental health and wellbeing, Headspace provides information and resources, online and phone services with a qualified professional, as well as career mentoring.