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by Sheena Bumpas, NAHCA Contributor

I remember one of the first things I learned as a CNA was to leave personal issues at the door. I understood, we need to greet each resident with a smile. Soon I realized just how hard that really was. I was young and I had never had to deal with stress—at home or on the job.

April is stress awareness month. Stress happens from school, work, family, life in general. Wherever it happens, we have to learn coping mechanisms, so we don’t ignore it till it boils over.

One way to cope with stress involves other people. Talking about what is bothering you with a friend or a therapist can help. Surround yourself with positive supportive people. If at home, maybe get a pet. If at work, talk to your supervisor about getting another assignment if that would help. Removing negativity and replacing it with positive people, thoughts and actions is a solution that could work.

Another step you can take is to work on your physical and emotional health and wellness. Start exercising more and getting more sunlight, eat healthier food. You can also find a church or place of worship to attend, meditate, read a good book, or try that new yoga class. All of these can help you relieve stress and benefit you.

If none of these suggestions work for you, remember you can reach out to your doctor and ask for help. Having acute stress can be harmful to your body. Stress is natural to have, but when it takes over your life or causes everyday activities to become hard, ask for help. You are not alone. Also remember, if you ever find yourself in a situation where stress has become overwhelming please call 1-800-273-8255.

Due to the pandemic and the increased work stress and anxiety for those of us working in health care, the National Association on Mental Illness, NAMI, has made available to healthcare workers, including CNAs, free resources for mental and emotional support.  They even have affiliated programs, and you can schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist, free and at your convenience.  Those resources can be found here:

https://nami.org/Your-Journey/Frontline-Professionals/Health-Care-Professionals

https://therapyaid.org/

https://www.emotionalppe.org/ .

You as a CNA take care of so many others, you must remember to take care of yourself!

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