While many people returned to work re-energised for the new year, your demanding role as a healthcare professional means you probably worked over the holiday season. Facing January with strength can be tough, and we understand this. So, in this blog we’re looking at useful coping strategies that you can practice to beat Blue Monday – with tips and ideas that can help set you up stronger for the year ahead.
Taking care of others starts with looking after yourself and self-care is essential to protect your work-life balance. Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well, looking after your physical and mental health. It can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness and increase your energy. We know your time is limited and your schedule is tough, so the trick is to set up a simple self-care routine that works with your day. Think about how you can incorporate the following:
Better sleep – geting quality sleep is a ‘must,’ even though you’re working irregular hours. So, try to set up a schedule. There are many practical things you can do to improve your quality of sleep – including getting daily exercise and reducing your caffeine intake before your bed. And remember – exposing yourself to blue light from screens is notorious for making it harder to fall asleep – so try to stay off your phone or device before bedtime.
Regular exercise - Just 30 minutes of walking every day can really boost your mood, but don’t worry if you can’t manage this every day: small amounts add up, so do whatever you can. You might also consider an activity you enjoy – such as swimming, football or a spinning class.
Eating healthy – To sustain your energy during your shifts it’s vital that you eat a good balance of nutritious food. Planning your meals in advance each week makes this easier and will stop you reaching for fast food, ready-made meals or unhealthy snacks.
Useful tips include:
• Plan a weekly menu with easy meals you enjoy.
• Write a shopping list and use it when you shop.
• If you can, set time aside each week to batch cook/prepare food for each day.
• Make balanced but easy meals – with lean protein, carbohydrates for energy, cooked vegetables, and nuts and seeds as healthy snacks. Choose whole-grain pasta and rice to keep you fuller for longer and boost your protein by adding beans and lentils to soups and salads.
• Find simple but tasty recipes on sites such as https://www.choosetolivebetter.com/content/healthy-recipes and https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/healthy-eating-collections
Connect - Even though you’re around people all the time – it’s different from connecting with friends and family. Their love and support can really help with the blues – so don’t isolate yourself. The ‘little and often’ rule works well when you’re working a busy schedule. And try to have quick coffee meetups or a lunch break with a colleague.
Be Mindful - Your schedule is full, but it’s still possible to build in short meditation and mindfulness sessions when you’re on your break and before or after work. Mindfulness simply means paying attention to the here and now through meditation – and doing this for even one minute a day can help you slow down, find calm and de-stress.
Take advantage of our two free on-demand online wellness sessions by Sinead McKiernan from Move and Breathe Studio here:
A Meditation Class
A 10-minute class focusing on guided breath meditation, helping you feel calm and relaxed.
A Yoga Class
Stretch your way into the day with this 20-minute feel-good session.
Access Support - One of the many benefits of joining TTM as an agency worker is that you gain access to our Employee Assistance Programme. It’s there to give you the extra mental health support you might need - privately and independently, and you can call the support service phone number at any time - 24 hours a day, 7 days week, 365 days a year. Find out more here