Essential workers risk exposure to COVID-19 whenever they report for work, and they risk bringing the virus home and exposing their family when their shift is done. To help ease the stress associated with this risk, consider these tips to minimize it both at work and at home.
- Store personal items, including your cell phone, in a locker or break room and away from areas where they can come into contact with other people. Also, always wash your hands before touching your phone, and disinfect your phone often – at least daily.
- Acknowledge your feelings and let go of what you can. It’s natural to have feelings of worry, anxiety, and sadness. Pause as often as needed to center yourself.
- Make note of at least three things that go well each day. Be proud of the service you provide, and remind yourself that you are doing something important to a lot of people.
- Check on your fellow workers before you leave. Listen to them, share stories, and swap compliments. Helping others will help you, as well.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you leave, washing up to your elbows.
Have a pair of house shoes by the door to change into, and set up a place to isolate any items you can’t wash and don’t want to bring indoors.
As soon as you enter your home, remove your clothing and place it in a specially designated hamper. Use a garbage bag to line the hamper, and wash the clothes immediately when you get inside using the warmest water temperature recommended on the clothing label.
Wash or sanitize your hands and wipe down your phone. Some health care professionals suggest showering as well to get rid of any germs that are still on your body.
Eat, Drink, and Sleep Regularly
Give yourself breaks from thinking about work. Take a walk, listen to music, read a book, or talk with a friend.
Limit your screen time – both TV and electronic devices. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed by stories that make you afraid or depressed. Stay informed, but know your limits.
Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature twice per day. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, don’t go to work!