Research regarding fatigue and working from home/online/over the phone suggests that working remotely can increase fatigue and increase time spent on the job. So if you are feeling more tired you are not alone. Here are contributing factors to watch for:
1) There is an absence of verbal and nonverbal cues – think about it, when you are in your office you are “hearing” so much more than what the person is saying. In order to really be present with the person and understand what their needs are you expend more energy when on the phone with someone than when in person because you are not “reading” the room
2) Spotty technology – the call/video call going in and out – this is anxiety producing for both you and the patient
3) You lack your comforts – when you have an office space you set it up in a way that feels comfortable to you and your patient – most of us working from home have had to improvise and don’t have the comforts we have when in our regular office
4) Resources are not at your fingertips – in other words when you talk with someone about a skill/strategy/ect you can’t provide them (in the moment) with the material (you have to email it afterwards). When you are in your office you can open your drawer and pull out the needed paperwork to give to the patient and discuss it with them
5) Staring at a screen is much more tiring than meeting with someone face-to-face. You can easily get screen fatigue which increases your feelings of tiredness – and subsequently also can cause sleep problems, which leads to more fatigue (it is a vicious circle)
6) During a pandemic as healthcare workers we are trying to support others with their needs/fears while managing our own – this can take a toll and be difficult – which leads to more fatigue (this is where self-care comes in!)
7) During a pandemic we are juggling many things and every day is spent trying to prioritize what is most important that day – trying to balance work/personal life can be very challenging when working from home
If any of these apply to you it is important to remember to not overbook yourself and to take breaks when able. The recommendation is to take a short break between each patient in order to get up, stretch and rest your mind and eyes.
One of the things that can be impacted by stress and anxiety is your sleep. Sleep deprivation causes many things, like lack of focus, lower mood, higher anxiety and struggle with memory (just to name a few). If you are struggling to get good sleep here are some tips for you. Pick one or two to focus on in the next week (don’t try to do them all at the same time as you will likely get overwhelmed)
1) Setting yourself up for a good night sleep starts in the morning – when you get up avoid going on any social media device for at least ½ hour to 1 hour – instead take time to do a calm morning routine and step outside and soak up the sun for 15-20 minutes (this helps set your circadian rhythm – which helps you sleep better at night). If you can get out and soak up the sun for another 15-20 minutes sometime in the early afternoon.
2) Mindfulness/Gentle Yoga – these techniques before bed can be very relaxing and helpful as they help to calm the nervous system
3) Calm bedroom – Create your bedroom to be a calming place, your room should be for sleeping (for your kids that means no homework being done in the bedroom, for you that means no working in your bedroom)
4) Media/devices – avoid consuming media or being on your electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bed
5) Exercise – getting moving has proven benefits of better sleep – consider getting moving earlier on in the day (if you exercise too close to bedtime it can have negative impacts on your sleep)
6) Caffeine can impact your sleep – consider having your last caffeinated beverage between 12-2pm
7) Healthy Eating Habits – not eating too close to bedtime
8) Avoid nicotine and alcohol – both have negative impacts on your sleep
9) Routine – having a daily routine helps with better sleep. Also develop a calming sleep routine that you do each night before bed (taking a shower or bath during this time can be very helpful)
10) Mindfulness – If you are having trouble falling asleep, you have not fallen asleep in 20 minutes get up and do something calming (for example a mindfulness practice). Ensure you keep the lights low and do not use electronic devices during this time. When you feel sleepy go back to bed and try falling asleep again.
11) Avoid napping – if you really need a nap keep it to 20 minutes or less (set an alarm!)
12) Keep a worry journal – have a journal beside your bed where you can write down your worries/thoughts/to do’s before bed or during the night
13) A cooler room aids in better sleep
14) A dark(er) room is best indicated
15) Use ambient noise if needed (or if you need have a completely quiet room) – this one is up to what works best for you
The NFHT has a Clinical Nutrition Program that can provide evidence-based advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition.
Below are 5 great articles about the connections between food, diet and nutrition and mental health:
Click on the image to increase the size for readability.
Physical distancing can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, frustration and leave us anxious. Seniors without access to social media and video contact tools are particularly isolated at this time during the pandemic.
You don’t need to hold hands to touch someone’s life. #TogetherApart
During this stressful time, we may be struggling with difficult emotions or body sensations. Here are four different meditations that may help:
1. Here is a short (8 min.) meditation: https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mpeg/05_Working_with_Difficulties.mp3
2. Mindfulness Daily brings you a free 40-day training with two meditation teachers, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. Each daily 10–15 minute lesson includes a short talk and a guided meditation: https://www.soundstrue.com/products/mindfulness-daily
3. Remember to find time for you today – even if it is just 10-15 minutes. Try this Body Scan meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2yDmWk0vs
4. This walking meditation will help you connect with yourself and nature.
Go for a walk and expand your awareness like a floodlight to everything that you see and hear.
Feel your feet on the ground and take time to notice that you are connected with the world around you. Pause, really feel your feet connect to the earth. Take a few moments to sense your head rising up toward the sky, connect with the universe above.
Gently start strolling and take time to notice each foot fall and your muscles that are involved. Take note of everything around you as you walk (if you can stay with this for 5-10 minutes).