COVID-19 has caused unprecedented levels of change to general practice at great speed. These changes and the overarching threat to our health, and the health of our families and patients, make fatigue, stress and burnout real concerns.
Practices have to confront constant change at the best of times, but this has been even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic and sudden shifts to services such as telehealth and complexities with billing. Practice managers are telling us that they are seeing change fatigue and maybe signs of burnout among staff.
Mental and physical fatigue can’t be underestimated. Ongoing stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, being overwhelmed, and occupational burnout. Healthcare workers are more at risk than many in these unprecedented times.
To avoid workplace stress and foster resilience, some practical strategies that may help are:
- provide clear and realistic expectations for all employees
- employees should feel empowered to speak up when at capacity
- consider leadership approaches and how they impact employees
- recognise the contributions of other team members
- maintain healthy attitudes towards diet, sleep, physical activity & alcohol consumption
- encourage work/life balance, separating personal and professional time as much as possible
- connect with energy-giving positive influences outside of work
- try to focus on the positives
- seek help if you need it – there are dedicated support services for healthcare workers.
For more on chronic stress and burnout, visit myDr’s Mental Health Section