The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a series of changes in everyone’s lives during its wake. Many find themselves dealing with challenges that can take their toll on our mental, physical, financial, and even spiritual health. While the government has implemented lockdowns and social distancing laws necessary for limiting the spread of the virus, the stress and isolation can increase stress and anxiety.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about its own sets of challenges and threats, especially in young doctors, says a study by the Cambridge University Press. The study says that four themes were present during their analysis, namely anxiety in the pandemic, lack of organizational readiness for change, impact on relationships, and commitment to service.
According to the study, the young doctors exhibited signs of mental distress and vulnerability because of the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Factors such as shortage of protective equipment, concern for their own personal safety, direct contact with the disease, and long working hours altered the quality of life for many of these doctors. Those who received appreciation and support from their families reported having felt closer to their families.
Professor Mamas of Keele University said that the challenges brought about by the pandemic would have a huge impact on the training of these young doctors. Mamas, based in the United Kingdom, said that junior doctors comprise the largest clinical doctors in the NHS.
The positive outlet feedback from both the family and community affirmed studies that showed a correlation between the demands brought about by profession and the feeling of empowerment and resiliency of load through a tangible show of affection.
In a hospital setting, junior doctors receive their training using outpatient clinics and elective admissions for investigations. However, it has become a necessity to restructure hospital services to gain capacity and deal with the pandemic.
Many of these junior doctors find themselves to be deployed in areas that are not their specialties or unfamiliar situations. The sudden shift can prove to be overwhelming. Because of this, many of these trainees are being put at great risk.
So how do these doctors manage to keep their head above water amidst these trying times? Giving them the term “heroes” will not prevent the psychological trauma, and according to experts, a mental health crisis among health workers can be well underway.
Fear of the unknown will always put people on edge. Meeting the pressure and demands of the coronavirus will be like running a marathon and not a sprint. The best way to keep up with these demands is to support each other because there is strength in numbers.
Like everyone, medical doctors can fall under the pressures of fatigue, which is why consistent and regular breaks are always encouraged. Much like runners in a marathon, they need the appropriate breaks.
Psychologists have dictated that these things somehow alleviate the sombre tone of any given situation:
a. Bright and colorful lighting.
A well-lighted room provides more than just pleasant and marketable aesthetics. Research posted by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, hypothesized that affective ambiences (including lighting) improve the mood of elderly people. Elderlies observed by the medical staff to be of a sad disposition. They were frequently exposed to the positive and highly arousing ambience, and lighting had positive physiological cues than those immersed in neutral lighting.
The anxious, moreover, similarly could be effectively calmed with the same environment. In addition to doctors being exposed to tremendous medical and surgical lighting, perhaps their quarters could complement with a balance of soothing and cheerful lights.
Certain foods promote a feeling of happiness because they stimulate serotonin production, responsible for that feeling. Among these foods are chocolate, bananas, and green leafy vegetables. When eaten, these foods trigger serotonin release in the brain and thereby elevate mood similar to the feeling of satisfaction during sex, or of being full, or of being elated.
c. Surround yourself with people.
Be sociable, and don’t allow yourself to be isolated. Common psychology suggests that the more the person restricts contact and interaction, the more likely the person would indulge in negative and destructive coping such as repression and lowering of self-image. Having a strong support system is a crucial survival tool in an emotional human existence. A strong support system gives the person access to a group of people that one can go to for assistance with everyday issues of daily living, from as simple as venting off problems to as large as financial and life or death scenarios.
Stress is not something to be taken lightly. Even in the midst of the job demands, always take time for yourself, especially when the flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak.