As a health care professional, news about the progression of Ebola may cause you to feel stress, fear and a general anxiety about your personal health. That’s to be expected — who wouldn’t be apprehensive when there’s a medical emergency and your vocation puts right in the middle of it.
Ebola is cloaked in mystery, uncertainty, and the often dire prognosis for many who have been diagnosed with it doesn’t help to calm nerves. However seriously we must take the threat of this disease, none of us — especially nurses — can afford to let your worry about it control our lives.
Here are some simple ways to allay your fears and anxieties about Ebola, and at the same time boost all aspects of your health and well-being for life.
Take a media fast.
Of course you want to keep up to date on events in the unfolding Ebola story, but that doesn’t mean watching the news 24/7, which it is now too easy to do, what with round-the clock cable TV, Twitter, Facebook, and online coverage. Set aside a time to check in on new developments and stick to it, resisting the temptation to check social media, say. When driving to work or home, don’t tune in to a news station because you won’t be able to switch it off when Ebola updates come on. Instead, head off that prospect by listening to a relaxing or energizing music stream.
Tune in to crucial, credible information.
Tune out most every voice but that of your hospital, nursing association, or other reliable sources such as the World Health Organization for updates. You’ll want to know what precautions to take to
avoid contracting Ebola and you can find that out directly from those who are charged with protecting you.
Worry and anxiety are counter-productive but concrete action, such as learning the correct way to wear your employer-supplied protective gear, can save your life. Arm yourself with practical, logistical, and action-able information.
Take care of yourself and your health.
It goes without saying that eating well, exercising, limiting alcohol, and avoiding cigarettes goes a long way towards keeping you at your physical best. It also helps your emotional and psychological well-being. That and good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently, will ensure that you
don’t contract common diseases.
Now is also a good time to get your flu vacination. Not only is catching flu a miserable experience, it lowers your resistance to more serious diseases, such as Ebola.
Get social and psychologica support.
You’ll feel a sense of normalcy when you keep getting together with friends, family, and co-workers in spite of any “un-sociable” inclinations during stressful periods. That way you can “tend and befriend” as a way of lowering tension and anxiety. Another excellent to join and become active in a nursing organization!
Can’t seem to shake off a feeling of overwhelm, sadness, or anxiety? Access trained mental health professionals, possibly through your workplace’s employee assistance program, who can help you lessen severe stress.
How about you and Ebola fears and anxiety? Do you have a way to allay anxiety? Please let us know!
Jebra Turner is a writer in Portland, Oregon who writes about health and the workplace at www.anthro.com.