Frontline Mental Health: Avoiding Burnout

How Frontline Workers Can Take Care of Their Mental Health, Avoid Burnout

Introduction:

Frontline workers face unique challenges that can impact their mental health. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into practical strategies for maintaining mental well-being, avoiding burnout, and thriving in demanding roles. From self-care techniques to fostering resilience, this article equips frontline heroes with the tools they need to prioritize their mental health.

Frontline workers discussing mental health strategies during a team meeting.

Frontline workers discussing mental health strategies during a team meeting.

Strategies for Self-Care and Resilience

Recognizing Stressors and Triggers

Frontline workers often encounter high-stress situations. It’s crucial to identify stressors and triggers to effectively manage them. By translating these insights into behaviors, individuals can develop coping mechanisms and seek support when needed.

Practicing Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are powerful tools for managing stress. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can help frontline workers cultivate a sense of calm amidst chaos.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining work-life balance. Frontline workers must establish clear boundaries between work responsibilities and personal time to prevent burnout. Learning to say no when necessary and prioritizing self-care are key aspects of boundary setting.

Seeking Social Support

Building a strong support network is vital for frontline workers. Whether it’s connecting with colleagues, friends, or family members, having a support system in place can provide emotional validation and encouragement during challenging times.

Engaging in Physical Activity

Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also plays a crucial role in managing stress and improving mood. Frontline workers should prioritize physical activity as part of their self-care routine, even if it means incorporating short bursts of exercise into busy schedules.

Practicing Gratitude

Cultivating a mindset of gratitude can significantly impact mental well-being. Frontline workers can benefit from regularly reflecting on what they’re thankful for, even amidst difficult circumstances. Expressing gratitude can foster resilience and perspective.

Embracing Creativity and Hobbies

Engaging in creative pursuits and hobbies can serve as a therapeutic outlet for frontline workers. Whether it’s painting, writing, gardening, or playing music, finding activities that bring joy and relaxation is essential for mental health.

Prioritizing Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for cognitive function, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. Frontline workers should prioritize adequate rest by establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing their sleep environment.

Balancing Workload and Responsibilities

Finding balance in workload and responsibilities is crucial for preventing burnout. Frontline workers should prioritize tasks, delegate when possible, and communicate openly with supervisors about workload concerns.

Staying Informed Without Overwhelm

While staying informed is important, constant exposure to negative news can take a toll on mental health. Frontline workers should limit their media consumption, seek reputable sources, and take breaks from news updates to prevent information overload.

Fostering Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity stronger than before. Frontline workers can cultivate resilience by reframing challenges as opportunities for growth, maintaining a positive outlook, and adapting to change with flexibility and optimism.

Addressing Mental Health Challenges Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

TEMPLE, Texas — Medical professionals have been on the front lines to fight COVID-19 for almost a year. According to multiple studies, it has taken a toll on people’s mental health. In this week’s “Your Best Life,” 6 News Anchor Leslie Draffin spoke with a Dallas-based clinical psychologist about how to combat burnout and stress, especially if you’re a frontline worker.

A frontline worker practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques during a break.

A frontline worker practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques during a break.

The Toll on Frontline Workers’ Mental Health

  • Stress: A mental health survey of healthcare workers reveals staggering statistics, with 93% reporting stress.
  • Anxiety: 86% of frontline workers are experiencing anxiety, contributing to the overall burden on mental well-being.
  • Frustration: 77% of healthcare workers report feelings of frustration, highlighting the challenges they face in their roles.
  • Exhaustion and Burnout: 76% of frontline workers are experiencing exhaustion and burnout, underscoring the toll of prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences.
  • Overwhelm: 75% of healthcare workers feel overwhelmed by the demands of their work, further exacerbating their mental health struggles.

FAQs

How can frontline workers manage stress on the job?

Frontline workers can manage stress by practicing mindfulness, setting boundaries, seeking social support, and engaging in self-care activities.

What are some effective relaxation techniques for frontline workers?

Effective relaxation techniques for frontline workers include deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.

How important is it for frontline workers to prioritize self-care?

Prioritizing self-care is crucial for frontline workers to maintain their mental health, prevent burnout, and sustain their ability to provide quality care to others.

What role does social support play in the mental health of frontline workers?

Social support plays a significant role in the mental health of frontline workers by providing emotional validation, encouragement, and a sense of belonging during challenging times.

How can frontline workers foster resilience in the face of adversity?

Frontline workers can foster resilience by reframing challenges as opportunities for growth, maintaining a positive outlook, and adapting to change with flexibility and optimism.

What are some signs of burnout that frontline workers should be aware of?

Signs of burnout in frontline workers may include feelings of exhaustion, cynicism or detachment from work, and reduced effectiveness in job performance.

“We’re not usually part of the story,” said Dr. Kevin Gilliland, a Dallas-based clinical psychologist. “There are times in our life that we’re going through something similar to our patients. But now, everybody that comes in, we’re all part of the same stories. We’re all wrestling with some of the same issues and so that really starts to take a toll on us because those are the conversations that we have every day at work, and then we go home and have the same conversation so it’s like we don’t get away from it.”

Dr. Gilliland has helped clients battle burnout during thexd He said, “It’s always physical and it’s always psychological. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. The symptoms look the same.”

Watch the video.

Mental Health Daily Checklist

Optimize Your Mental Health with a Comprehensive Checklist

 

Welcome to a journey toward better mental health! a comprehensive checklist designed to optimize your mental well-being.

By following this checklist, you will be equipped with valuable tools and strategies to enhance your overall mental health and cultivate a greater sense of well-being.

Understanding Mental Health

Embarking on the journey to improved mental health begins with understanding what mental health truly encompasses. Mental health refers to your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how you think, feel, and act, influencing every aspect of your life.

Defining Mental Health

Before we dive into the checklist, let’s clarify what mental health entails. It encompasses a range of factors, including emotional resilience, stress management, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships.

The Mental Health Checklist

 

mental health daily checklist with items such as 'practice gratitude,' 'get moving,' and 'connect with loved ones.'"

Caring for your mental health is a daily commitment. Here’s a checklist to guide you in prioritizing self-care every day.

Now, let’s explore the comprehensive checklist designed to optimize your mental health. Each item on this list is carefully crafted to address different facets of well-being, providing you with a holistic approach to mental health maintenance.

Checklist Item Description
Identify Stress Triggers Recognize the factors that contribute to your stress levels, whether they’re work-related, personal, or environmental.
Practice Mindfulness Cultivate present-moment awareness through mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and body scans.
Nurture Supportive Relationships Surround yourself with positive, nurturing relationships that provide emotional support and encouragement.
Prioritize Self-Care Dedicate time to activities that rejuvenate and replenish your mind, body, and spirit, such as exercise, hobbies, and relaxation techniques.
Set Realistic Goals Establish achievable goals that align with your values and aspirations, fostering a sense of purpose and motivation.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle Embrace habits that promote physical health, including nutritious eating, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.
Seek Professional Help Don’t hesitate to reach out to mental health professionals if you’re struggling to cope or experiencing persistent symptoms.
Practice Gratitude Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by reflecting on the things you’re thankful for, fostering positivity and resilience.
Establish Boundaries Set clear boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being, ensuring that you prioritize self-care and avoid burnout.
Engage in Leisure Activities Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whether it’s pursuing a hobby, spending time outdoors, or exploring new interests.
Develop Coping Strategies Equip yourself with effective coping mechanisms to manage stress and adversity, such as problem-solving skills and relaxation techniques.
Monitor Your Thoughts Pay attention to your thought patterns and challenge negative or distorted thinking, replacing it with more balanced and rational perspectives.
Practice Self-Compassion Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, acknowledging your imperfections and embracing self-compassion.
Foster a Sense of Belonging Cultivate connections with your community or social groups, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Embrace Learning and Growth View challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, adopting a growth mindset that values resilience and perseverance.

Navigating Your Mental Health Journey

Embarking on the path to improved mental health requires dedication, perseverance, and self-compassion. By incorporating the strategies outlined in this checklist into your daily life, you’ll gradually cultivate greater resilience, well-being, and fulfillment.

Seeking Professional Guidance

While this checklist provides valuable tools for self-care and well-being, it’s essential to recognize when professional support is needed. If you’re struggling with persistent symptoms or finding it challenging to cope, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified mental health professional for guidance and support.

Mental Health Checklist FAQs

What is the importance of a mental health checklist?

A mental health checklist serves as a comprehensive guide for optimizing your mental well-being. It provides structured guidance and actionable strategies for cultivating resilience, managing stress, and enhancing overall well-being.

How often should I refer to the mental health checklist?

It’s beneficial to incorporate the items on the mental health checklist into your daily routine. Consistency is key to reaping the long-term benefits of these practices, so aim to integrate them into your daily life as much as possible.

Can I customize the mental health checklist to suit my individual needs?

Absolutely! The mental health checklist is designed to be adaptable to individual preferences and circumstances. Feel free to tailor the strategies and activities to align with your unique needs and preferences.

What should I do if I’m struggling to implement items on the checklist?

If you encounter challenges or resistance while implementing items on the checklist, don’t be discouraged. Start with small, manageable steps and gradually build upon your efforts over time. Additionally, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if needed.

Is it normal to experience setbacks on my mental health journey?

Yes, setbacks are a natural part of the mental health journey. It’s important to approach setbacks with self-compassion and resilience, recognizing them as opportunities for growth and learning rather than failures.

How can I track my progress with the mental health checklist?

Consider keeping a journal or utilizing digital tools to track your progress with the mental health checklist. Reflect on your experiences, challenges, and successes regularly to maintain awareness of your mental health journey.

Conclusion

In conclusion, prioritizing your mental health is essential for overall well-being and quality of life. By incorporating the strategies outlined in this checklist into your daily routine, you will empower yourself to navigate life’s challenges with resilience, optimism, and self-care.

Remember, your mental health matters, and you deserve to prioritize self-care and well-being. Start your journey toward optimized mental health today by embracing the power of this comprehensive checklist.

Quarantine can be tough on your mental and physical health. Dr. Kevin Gilliland joined us with a mental health checklist you can run through to keep yourself healthy and happy during these times.

Watch the video here.

The ‘Coronasomnia’ Effect Leading to Increase in Sleep Disorders

Dr. Kevin Gilliland, clinical psychologist and Executive Director at Innovation360, joined Wake Up With Cheddar to break down the spike in insomnia occurring all over the world due to uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Gilliland discusses the mental and physical consequences of a lack of sleep, and gives tips for how we can put ourselves in the best position to get a good night’s rest.

Watch the video

3 tools to remain mentally, physically healthy | Your Best Life

DALLAS — In this week’s “Your Best Life,” 6 News Anchor Leslie Draffin spoke with a Dallas-based clinical psychologist about the three tools we all can use to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Dr. Kevin Gilliland is a Dallas-based clinical psychologist with over 20-years-experience managing mental health.

“This is not an event for us to get through. This is a change in life that we have to adjust to. We have to be creative and we have to be willing to do some things that are outside our normal routine.” Gilliland said.

He said there are three keys to remaining healthy right now.

“Sleep is power, food is fuel and movement is medicine.”

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America said roughly 40 million Americans over age 18 suffer from anxiety. According to Dr. Gilliland, the first thing that might help is better sleep.

 

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The Pandemic Has Worsened the Opioid Epidemic—Here’s How Resources Are Adapting To Save Lives

“When it comes to alcohol and substance [misuse], isolation, broadly speaking, is the most savage symptom [people] struggle with psychologically,” says Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and the executive director of Innovation360, an outpatient counseling service that works with people living with substance use disorder. This is one major reason he says there’s been such a spike in opioid use and opioid-related deaths during the pandemic. “Isolation is terrible for humans, for our mood, for anxiety, and for substance [misuse] or dependence.”

Dr. Gilliland says that for those in recovery, human interaction is vital for maintaining sobriety. “[During the pandemic,] so many people have become disconnected to things in their life that were just good medicine, such as seeing familiar faces in their neighborhoods at the store, going to the gym, and attending religious services,” he says.

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Meet Kevin Gilliland | Business Owner, Psychologist & Author

We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Gilliland and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kevin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was really basic, the healthcare system for mental health issues simply doesn’t offer us the services that many people need. I’ve been fortunate to work for and with some great people and organizations in various roles of healthcare, from UT Southwestern to Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas and seen some of the good things about our system and some of the tremendous needs. There were really only two options for people, go to a hospital or a residential program for up to 30 days or seeing a counselor one time a week. While that addresses some of the needs, it also leaves out a lot of people that don’t need that much or need a little more. We help people that are stuck and either need a little more than talking once a week or a lot less than leaving a job or family for 30 days.

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Why Talking About Drug and Alcohol Addiction is Crucial During the Pandemic

Drug and alcohol-related overdoses have been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic. Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Gilliland joins LX News to explain why talking about addiction is so important to help understand the root of the problem.

Watch the video here.

The Stigma Around Psychiatric Medication Is Forcing People to Suffer In Silence

Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in Dallas, believes some of this shame and misinformation exists because “not all diagnoses are equal.” There’s a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to how we look at different conditions. “People are more than willing to talk about their high blood pressure, but a lot less willing to talk about their STD; similarly, people have become more willing to talk about anxiety or mood issues but less likely to talk about addiction issues. That has to do with perception, bias, fear, experience, and at some level, stigma.”

This stigma not only prevents people from seeking the mental health care and treatment they need in the first place, but also stops them from talking to their doctor about (or even considering) prescription meds, keeps them from filling that prescription, and stops them from taking it continually as prescribed.

There’s more than just anecdotal evidence, either: Surveys (shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Psychological Association (APA) and published in The Mental Health Clinician — just to cite a few) find the majority of people have witnessed biased and negative views regarding mental health-related issues, or feel that way themselves. At the same time, if we actually treated these issues, our entire world (literally and figuratively) would improve, says Gilliland.

Where did this stigma come from, and why are we still dealing with it in 2020, when diagnoses (and prescriptions) for mental health conditions have increased exponentially? Because stigma, shame, and misinformation at large serve as massive barriers between patients and fundamental healthcare, we need to address this head-on to figure out what we can do about it.

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Many Americans Aren’t Quite Sure What an Opioid Is—Here’s What You Should Know

Despite being in the midst of an opioid epidemic that continues to get worse, many Americans, it turns out, aren’t quite sure what the most common opioids actually are, as highlighted in a new survey of 1,000 people.

Conducted by health technology company DrFirst, which includes a network of over 300,000 health-care providers, the survey found that only one in five participants could name five of the seven most commonly prescribed opioids. (For the record, they are: Tramadol, Hydromorphone, Morphine sulfate, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone.)

The reason why being able to identify opioids is a big deal is because if you don’t know you’re being prescribed one, you won’t be aware of the side effects or risk factors. “[The health repercussions of not knowing if you’re being prescribed an opioid or not] are quite serious as opioids are associated with opioid-induced respiratory depression which can lead to overdose and death,”  says family medicine physician and pain management expert Robert Agnello, DO. “Overdose is not difficult. A patient could also take these with alcohol unaware and heighten the risk.”

“It’s important for people to understand the effects that opiates have on the body as well as the impact they can have on judgment and insight,” says Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D, a licensed clinical psychologist and the executive director of Innovation360, an outpatient counseling service that works with people struggling with substance abuse. Here, Dr. Gilliland and Dr. Agnello detail what it’s important to know about opioid medications.

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‘A New Way of Life’: Returning to College During COVID-19

As the fall semester quickly approaches, college students in the U.S. may feel a mix of emotions while trying to determine how to socialize, handle changing academic formats, and prioritize their mental health. College is already a demanding time for students, and the coronavirus pandemic has been a new and unexpected stressor since the spring.

According to a 2020 study, college students reported increased anxiety and depression during the onset of COVID-19 compared to similar time frames in past academic years.

“This is not an event to tweak, it’s a new way of life to create,” says Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation360, an outpatient counseling service in Dallas, TX. “Be mindful that there is a bug out there and you need to take appropriate precautions—socially distance, wash your hands, and sanitize the surfaces—but you absolutely can have friendships and experiences and learning opportunities that are wonderful.”

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