I recently read an interesting article from AMTA on educating clients on the powerful impact of massage for combatting , stress, fatigue, and burnout. This article mentioned the benefits of massage, specifically for those in the medical profession. There is a long lasting impact on health care professionals emotional and physical health, that has rippled since the start of the pandemic three years ago.
Self soothing techniques can increase a person's accessibility to a calm state when under intense pressure. In this article, those that needed the self care most were medical professionals. Nurses (and other hospital staff) are so busy being supportive and caring for others, often times they may struggle to make time to care for themselves. As a mother of three I can relate to some degree the self sacrificing that comes with being a caretaker that can lead to: fatigue, exhaustion, and total burnout. It is important that individuals learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of needing to recharge before they end up in crisis.
In the article I read about "zen rooms" and "serenity lounges" where nurses and hospital staff could retreat to prevent burnout during the pandemic. In addition to the zen rooms or serenity lounges, nurses would be educated on mindfulness, meditative breathing, and massage chairs were accessible. In Los Angeles surveys were taken by nurses and staff from 10 different units, before and after access to serenity lounges/zen rooms between November 2021 and May 2022. The results were interesting, 67 survey takers reported feeling a reduction in " emotional exhaustion, burnout, frustration, being worn out, stress and anxiety after serene lounge use".
While this might not be a surprising outcome for some individuals, it is worth noting that the study alone is interesting and perhaps the start of a new self care era. Imagine if serene lounges or zen rooms were widely available for medical professionals, and other professionals. Picture a teacher's lounge with dim lighting, zen music, chair massages, hand and foot massages after standing all day and grading papers? Maybe this would reduce the burnout that many educators feel, and allow for a small pause during the lunch period to recharge and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day. I am not saying that burnout is exclusively impacting nurses and teachers, we all as human beings can be subject to emotional burnout and fatigue. It is important to understand that self care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is ok to take a deep breath, meditate, go for a run, get a massage, journal. There are many distractions in the world that keep us busy, and our focus is often not on ourselves. However each individual is worthy of rest, peace, and scheduled relaxation. Without scheduled rest and relaxation people become miserable, stiff, and unhappy. Humans are complex creatures, schedule time for self care! References
1. Heald A, Perrin R, Walther A, Stedman M, Hann M, Mukherjee A, Riste L. “Reducing fatigue-related symptoms in long COVID-19: a preliminary report of lymphatic drainage intervention.” Cardiovasc Endocrine Metab. 2022 Apr 12;11(2):e0261. 2. Pagador F, Barone M, Manoukian M, Xu W, Kim L. “Effective holistic approaches to reducing nurse stress and burnout during COVID-19.” Am J Nurs. 2022 May 1;122(5):40–47.