As the fall transitions into winter, the holidays can bring joy, but for many healthcare workers, it also ushers in anxiety, depression, and financial stress. Amidst the chaos of caring for others, AMT Board President Marty Hinkel, MLS(AMT) emphasizes the importance of prioritizing one's mental well-being.
Based on an article by Marty Hinkel, MLS(AMT) from the AMT Pulse.
No matter how much I love the fall, I know that winter is right around the corner, bringing with it the holidays, which can trigger anxiety, depression and financial stress. Because of holiday stress,
67% of Americans consider seeking out a mental health professional, according to a 2021 survey by healthcare company Sesame. With all the stress, 56% wish the holidays were canceled altogether.
As healthcare workers, we always try to take care of our patients and provide the highest quality service. Sometimes, we stay so focused on everyone else in our world that our own health gets lost
in the chaos.
With changes at work and changes in my personal life, I found myself slipping into a funk where I just wasn’t feeling like myself, and I needed to snap out of it. I said to myself, “You’re the president of our local mental health center board. You have resources at your fingertips—go use them.” Depression is real, and we all can suffer from it from time to time. You are not alone! I want to share some tips from mind.org, which I hope you find helpful:
- Talk to someone you trust. I found it easier to talk to someone I trusted but who was not in my close circle of friends/family. In talking with this person, I found that some changes at work had affected me more than I thought they did.
- Find peer support. Check to see if your community has a depression support group. If not, you can try calm.com for help.
- Try mindfulness. I thought this one was kind of hokey, but then I tried it, and it really does help. Our company has the Virgin Pulse program, and it has a mindfulness section. After I did a few sessions, I could see that it did help calm my mind. Give it a try. Search for mindfulness online, and there will be a lot of different options for you. There are also many apps for mindfulness.
- Take time to care for yourself. This is so important and encompasses a lot of areas, from sleep to diet to exercise. I found that taking a walk and watching the sunset really helped me. (A sunrise works, too, but who wants to get up that early?) Try closing your eyes and thinking back to the happiest sound you can remember, and concentrate on that. For me, it’s the laughter of my grandsons. Just focusing on that sound helps ground me and brings a smile.
- Try something new. This can be a great chance for you to volunteer for an organization in your community or to get involved with an AMT state society. This can also include things like singing, dancing, cooking, drawing—the list goes on and on.
- Keep a journal or diary. I had to do an exercise once where we grabbed a journal and were told to start writing. I thought, “Writing what? A procedure, policy, letter?” You know us technical types—I needed a subject! This was a hard exercise for me to start. But once I began and wrote about whatever popped into my mind (the room temperature, the weather, etc.), I had an entire page filled in no time. It may not be Pulitzer-worthy, but I did it.
Remember, as the holidays approach and you find yourself sinking into a funk, there is help for you. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give to your family and friends. If you need someone else to talk to, I’m always here, too.
Additional mental health resources: