Providing Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic
What Are You Doing to Take Care of Yourself?
Following safety protocols
“Wearing a face mask, washing hands more, disinfecting everything at home, at work, and in my car, not going to stores or public places unless necessary.”
“Wearing masks, gloves, social distancing, washing hands, following company covid-19 protocols, hourly office cleanings and sanitization.”
“Following proper protocol procedures and praying to God that it is not an issue for my individual I care for, my family or myself!”
Following safety protocols from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), other health professionals, and their employers, was the most frequently reported way DSPs took care of themselves. Wearing masks and other personal protective gear, proper handwashing, and frequent sanitizing became routine for DSPs. Following handwashing and wearing a mask, social distancing was the third most reported way DSPs took care of themselves.
Easier said than done
“Very hard to take care of yourself when you’re so mentally exhausted after a long day.”
“It is very hard to care for yourself because I am working 70+ hours a week…. I love being where I am but, it is a lot. I try to eat right and get sleep but due to extended shifts and my distressed home life it is a little hard.”
But some DSPs noted that taking care of yourself is easier said than done.
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits
“I go for a walk with my dog when I return home. Eat well with my family and listening to music helps, too. Having some free time and private space helps, too.”
“Healthy meals. break away when it feels overwhelming, finding new activities that stimulate the well-being of the people I support and taking those activities and ideas home … Drinking plenty of tea and taking vitamins.”
Beyond following safety guidelines, many DSPs reported adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including preparing healthy meals, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly. Many reported taking vitamins and supplements in hopes of boosting their immune system.
Staying home, keeping away from others
“I am not going out. I only grocery shop once every two weeks.”
Staying home, keeping away from others after work, and limiting time in stores was another way DSPs took care of themselves, being careful not to expose themselves and others to the virus. Many said they shopped only twice each month to limit exposure.
Staying positive is difficult
“I intentionally practice gratitude throughout each day. I reduced the hours I work, only working five days a week. On my weekends, I allow myself the luxury of naps and no morning alarms. I also practice growth and development, both professionally through opportunities offered by my employer, and personally, by improving my diet. I limit my intake of news and social media.”
“Walks, painting, listen to music.”
“Daily meditation, yoga, walks, reading (fiction). Avoiding news/social media. Putting the same precautions to use in my own home, as we use at work. Attempting to sleep better (attempting).”
Staying positive during the pandemic was difficult and made worse by the isolation DSPs experienced outside of work. In addition to exercise and attention to a healthy diet, many practiced meditation, prayed, or focused on positive thinking to remain optimistic. Some DSPs reported visiting a therapist regularly. Many listened to music more often and others practiced arts and crafts for relaxation. And a number of DSPs limited their intake or all together avoided the news.
Doing nothing different than before
“Nothing, I have to work and then come home to my family who have been stuck home for almost 7 weeks. It's hard, with no break. I have 6 kids at home.”
“Nothing, I'm a college student and an essential worker. I don't have time to take care of myself.”
Respondents said they are doing “nothing” to take care of themselves. Many qualified this as doing “nothing different than before” and some as nothing beyond practicing social distancing and following safety protocols. Others noted they didn’t have time for anything beyond going to work and returning home.