With a new year upon us, it’s important to reflect upon our physical and psychological health. While May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, the month of January is dedicated to Mental Wellness. The focus of Mental Wellness Month is to encourage individuals to take preventive steps to ward off possible negative mental states and mental illnesses from developing.
While I enter my final months of graduate school, in addition to my involvement in the LEND program, the importance of mental wellness stood out to me. This past fall as a program, the topic of burnout among health care professionals was discussed. Professional burnout is defined as feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced professional achievement as a result of chronic stress in the work environment. While burnout is seen across all professions, an increase in prevalence has been seen among healthcare professionals. In an effort to deliver better care and services, changes are constantly occurring in the healthcare and education system to keep up with the growing population and demands. These changes have led to longer work hours, increased work-life imbalances, larger caseloads, and various other factors that can directly correlate to higher stress and frustration levels among individuals. Symptoms of burnout not only directly affect the health care provider themselves but may also affect patients related to the level/quality of service they receive. While it is not always an option to control the amount of work that needs to be done, it’s important to self-monitor and check in with yourself to ensure that your body is still getting what it needs.
Going into the future while entering and navigating through the workforce, it’s important to remember in the midst of it all that mental wellness is a crucial element of overall health and quality of life. I encourage my fellow LEND trainees as well as other professionals to find and utilize strategies that personally help them to lower stress and improve overall mental wellness.
Some tips for improved mental wellness, from Mental Health America:
- Reflect and meditate: Set aside time to relax and think about your personal goals and what you’re thankful for.
- Get plenty of sleep: Give your body the chance to rest and repair itself after stressful days.
- Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
- Do something you enjoy such as coloring, dancing, laughing, and enjoying the company of loved ones.
Disconnect from electronics to let your mind unwind.