Coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the nation. The strain on our national (and even global) healthcare system is unprecedented. In many places, lockdown orders have returned. Day after day, the United States continues to break hospitalization records. Although vaccine headlines have some wondering if there is light at the end of the tunnel, others are forced to focus on the day to day. While the pandemic is having varying effects on the lives of the general public – these record-breaking hospital numbers are leaving many healthcare workers feeling overworked and under appreciated.
Recently, we came across this post on Reddit:
That post is just one of many highlighting the crisis fatigue facing our frontline workers. Twitter users have been sharing thoughts as well:
— June Diane Raphael (@MsJuneDiane) November 15, 2020
Those not in healthcare can stay home, see no one & their job to society is done.
I can make all the same sacrifices & yet I will still SEE & FEEL the consequences of others not doing their part.
Healthcare workers will still continually have to give MORE.
Today I’m angry.
— NurseKelsey (@nursekelsey) December 7, 2020
Crisis Fatigue is Real
An article from Psychology Today goes into detail about crisis fatigue and is certainly worth a read. Most of us are facing our own version of it. However, after 9+ months, healthcare employees, particularly, are finding themselves in either stage three (disillusionment) or stage four (fatigue).
Disillusionment Stage: Individuals begin to feel physically and emotionally exhausted. Hypervigilance now turns into irritation, rage, or despair.
Fatigue Stage: By design, our body cannot sustain high levels of cortisol and adrenal for long periods. This results in burnout. Burnout can cause a person to be easily triggered or completely withdrawn. It is also the stage when people are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that are detrimental to themselves or others.
How can we help our frontline workers?
The average person can not make governmental decisions about mandates, lockdowns, or even PPE distribution. However, we can be mindful of what our frontline workers are facing. More so, we should consider acts that can truly make a difference in the conditions they are facing. For example, are you a trained therapist that can offer complimentary counseling services? Are you currently at home on furlough? Why not call or email your city, state, and federal officials encouraging steps to stop the spread?
Even if there are no mandates in your area, you can make the personal choice to avoid going in public whenever possible. When out and about, wear a mask covering both your nose and mouth. Also, maintain social distancing wherever possible. Additionally, don’t forget to wash your hands, for a minimum of 20 seconds, and use hand sanitizer often. Are these all things that we’ve heard all year long? Absolutely. However, they truly are the things that each and every one of us can control. Lastly, if you have a frontline worker in your life, we recommend sharing our list of self-care musts for medical professionals. It’s imperative that they take the time to care for themselves as they work so tirelessly caring for others.