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Frontline Worker Health: Mental and Physical Wellness Are Linked

For frontline workers' health, mental and physical aspects of wellness are linked. Learn how caring for your mind will ultimately also benefit your body.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Frontline workers have undoubtedly been the heroes of this truly devastating pandemic. There is no question that our society would be suffering much more than we already are if we didn't have brave nurses, doctors, pharmacy workers, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, and other frontline workers who did not rest or isolate themselves at home during the pandemic. Instead, they had to fulfill society's most essential needs. While frontline workers are undoubtedly heroes, it is likely at this point in the pandemic, they are also feeling fatigued and stressed. Two years of high-pressure and intense work can take its toll on your health: mental and physical.

If you are a frontline worker noticing that both your mental wellness and physical wellness have suffered since the start of the pandemic, it can help to learn more about the link between your emotional and physical well-being. Then, once you understand how your mental state impacts your physical one, you can learn some tricks for decompressing from stress and taking care of your mental wellness. Also, if you have a loved one who is a frontline worker, you can teach them some self-care tips. By reducing stress and paying attention to your emotional wellness, you can help ensure that you're on top of your health: mental and physical alike.

Understanding Your Health: Mental and Physical Wellness Are Linked

When it comes to health, mental and emotional wellness may seem unconnected to you. In reality, however, mental and physical health are intimately linked — and whatever your body is undergoing physically can have a significant impact on how you feel mentally and emotionally. There are many reasons that your physical health impacts your emotional health.

First, stress causes a slew of hormones in your body that help you react quickly, work hard, and get through tough times. Those hormones, however, can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can make you feel anxious and unwell. This is a physical manifestation that has major mental impacts.

Another aspect of physical health that significantly impacts your emotional well-being is your sleep. Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. It gives your systems a chance to rest and recover—including your brain. Without enough sleep, you are unlikely to produce enough dopamine, and you will also likely lack serotonin. Without these chemicals, your brain will feel depressed and anxious, and these two feelings can detract greatly from your emotional wellness.

Finally, nutrition can have a huge impact on how you feel mentally, even though it is a physical act. Not getting enough nutrients will mean that your brain is starved, and you won't be able to concentrate or think clearly. If you are eating too much sugary food, you may experience spikes and crashes — and those crashes will not just be physical. They will also involve your mood. Thus, nutrition can impact your emotional stability and how well you feel consistently throughout your day.

Clearly, mental and physical health are tied together. Want to understand more about how going through the physical process of exercising can improve your mood? Check out our guide to why and how depression can be improved with exercising. Then, consider taking the first steps to live a more active, and thus, happier, life.

Conquering Your Health: Mental and Physical Tips for Tuning Into How You're Feeling

Sometimes, people are so busy that they don't actually know how they feel in terms of their health. Mental and physical wellness can be hard to home in on unless we learn to tune in to ourselves and ensure we are meeting all of our own needs. If you are a frontline worker, you may have felt that you have constantly helped others for the past two years and have not had time to take care of yourself.

It's time to change that to ensure you stay well. Make sure you learn how to tune in to what you feel, so you give your body and brain what they need. One way to do that is mindfulness meditation. Meditation allows you to access your thoughts and feelings to see how you are doing and what might be causing stress or distress.

Another way is talk therapy. Talking with a professional counselor gives you a space to really explore and mine your thoughts. Therapists can help you discover what you need and give you a roadmap to ensure those needs are met.

Are you brand-new to mental health and don't know much about why the brain makes us feel the way it does and what chemicals in our brain are in charge of our moods and stability? Read more on our blog. This guide to dopamine can show you why this neurotransmitter is so important and what effects it can have on your body and mind if you don't have enough of it. Also, get tips on how to increase your dopamine levels naturally.

Masters Wellness: Mental and Physical Tips to De-Stress and Feel Good

If you are clear that you feel stressed and are worried that stress is taking its toll on your body, put some intentional effort into learning how to de-stress. There are many ways you can de-stress that will relax your body and, in turn, help keep your emotional state in a good place. Here are some of the best de-stressing tips for people whose work can get overwhelming:

Leave work at work: Do work at work. While not at work, set boundaries that you won't check email, finish assignments, or worry about things that can only be done at the office.

Meditate: Mindful meditation is one of the most powerful ways to calm our brains. Meditate to experience mental and physical benefits long after your meditation is over.

Focus on healthy eating: Intentionally work to cut sugar and processed foods out of your life as much as possible. Focus on eating whole foods that you love. With a diet rich in nutrients that you enjoy eating, you can ensure you are adequately fueled and that your brain is in the right place to handle what you'll have to handle.

Another physical activity that impacts your mood and mental wellness is eating. What you eat affects how you feel. Here is a helpful guide to nutrition for decreased stress and calmer moods. If you learn to eat foods that benefit how you feel emotionally and mentally, you'll feel healthier and experience reduced feelings of anxiety. You'll also benefit from the physical perks of having fewer stress hormones in your body, and your increased consumption of nutrients will make your body feel strong, nourished, and energized.


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