Covid-19 continues to lessen its grip in the US, and many of us are venturing back into our lives. But how can our healthcare workers, who have cared for us and endured so many challenges these past 16 months, care for themselves in the days ahead? DOLAN Founder and CEO, Jodie Dolan, recently chatted with one of Carbon Health’s top mental health providers, Folake Ike, LCSW, and psychotherapist Alyssa Mancao, LCSW, about their experiences treating healthcare professionals and tips for practicing self-care.
Jodie: As caregivers yourselves, how do you prioritize your own mental health?
Alyssa: I have a morning routine that I try to stick to. I engage in some sort of movement, make sure I eat breakfast and set boundaries with work to make sure I’m done at a certain time. I’m also a big fan of support systems, and being connected and having friendships.
Folake: Yes—I make sure that I eat in the morning! I know this will significantly impact my functioning during the day. And I love my spa days—whether I’m doing them at home or out in the community.
Jodie: Self care is so critical for everyone, especially for those on the front lines. How can we all do a better job supporting our healthcare workers?
Alyssa: Check in with them. When they tell us what they need—like food in the break room—we need to listen. And acknowledge the work they are doing.
Folake: When people are gathered in a healthcare setting, like a break room, it’s a chance to ask them how they’re doing. The simplest check-in is important, and this is especially important in the hospital setting.
Jodie: As Covid rates decline, many people are talking about a reluctance to re-enter the world. What advice can you give for social anxiety as the world re-opens?
Alyssa: Start small! If you’re nervous about going out, don’t go to a big event. Do very do-able exposure, like hanging out with your best friend, or going to a park. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, and then add to it over time as you feel more confident.
Folake: Recognize that the community is not what it was before, and that there are factors out of your control. So think about what you can you do to feel safe and come up with a plan. When you go out, pack your essential items like your mask or hand sanitizer. If you start to feel anxious or panicky, is there someone you can call to help you process your emotions? And recognize that it will take a while for you to feel safe.
Jodie: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Folake: Honor and accept your emotions. Your emotions are valid and what we are all experiencing right now. Everyone is experiencing trauma on a variety of different levels, whether it's related to healthcare or other environmental stresses.
Alyssa: As caregivers, it’s so natural for us to want to take care of other people. Make sure you check in with yourself the way you check in with others, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember it’s not selfish to set boundaries and say “no,” because your mental health truly matters, particularly when so many people are depending on you.
Watch the full IGTV conversation with Jodie, Folake and Alyssa.WATCH THE IGTV
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