Wishroute Spotlight: How One Nurse Inspired Us to Launch a Self-Care Initiative for Healthcare Workers During COVID-19

Sarah Mooney

With 3 in 5 nurses considering quitting due to COVID-19, burnout is a huge problem for our healthcare system. Our healthcare workers give so much to others, but are struggling to prioritize their own wellness.

We created our self-care program when the outbreak started to help people—professionals working remotely, parents with kids stuck at home, quarantined seniors feeling isolated—navigate the unexpected changes and stressors to their routines. But our focus expanded when we worked with Beverly.

Beverly is a nurse at a Boston-area long-term care facility who used to be a personal training client of our Engagement Lead, Kait. They casually caught up at the beginning of June, and when Beverly told Kait about how much more stressful her job had become, it was a no-brainer to give her a free month of support with our new self-care program.

Beverly came to us with all the early signs of burnout, and her self-care routine had taken a huge hit over the past few months. She was working long hours, but we were hopeful that our simple program would still fit into her life with a quick self-care tip in the morning—like a workout, healthy eating suggestion, or meditation—and personal check-in each evening to ask how she fit in a form of self-care that day. 

The day Beverly signed up, she told us she felt defeated and wanted to feel more confident. On just day 2, she was meditating. She started taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the hospital on day 4, and she did a workout on day 6. By day 11, she told us she was “feeling more mindful and felt more productive and focused at work.” She still had hard days, but she had taken the critical first step of starting to prioritize herself more.

Three weeks in, Kait got on the phone with Beverly to chat about how her experience was going. Not only was Beverly enthusiastic about continuing her support, she'd built a self-care foundation on which to rebuild other healthier habits that had taken a back seat during COVID-19. Halfway through the call she started crying: "I was feeling very defeated because of my job, we’re all exhausted, we could say ‘I don’t have time for this’... It doesn’t matter how tired I am. I have to do something for me every day, even if it's 10 minutes because I'm worth it. Wishroute has made a big impact and I feel good about me for once in a long time." 

We believe in our judgment-free support and approachable wellness methodology, but we were still blown away by how well our programming had clicked with a nurse with limited time on her hands who was showing signs of burnout.

The next day our team unanimously decided to make our month-long self-care program free for everyone in Beverly’s shoes, and we hit the ground running to promote it to frontline healthcare workers. We reached out to a variety of healthcare organizations and formed partnerships with the MA, NH, and TX Nurses Associations, Heywood Healthcare, and @nursesofinstagram. We've signed up and supported 200 healthcare workers—and counting—across the U.S. Their stories are unique but also similar to Beverly's in key ways; they're burned out and need help creating a sustainable self-care routine under the new, hectic circumstances. Here are some of their own words on how Wishroute has helped them prioritize themselves:

“I can tell a huge difference. Every day I feel more focused on myself and taking care of myself. I've created goals that I haven't had the motivation for lately and now I do. I'm feeling motivated tonight and happy to be helping patients at work.”
Night Shift Nurse, now making time for trail walks and pre-shift dancing

"I love the basic, friendly accountability. I know someone is going to ask me about my day at the end of it, which makes me focus more and think more about my goals instead of just wishful thinking.”
Physician, rebuilt a meal prep routine he’d fallen out of
"I've learned a lot but one of the biggest things is listening to my body. I spend so much time taking care of everyone else. This is my time to be kind to me and give me what I need.”
Hospice Social Worker, discovered the power of stretching and meditation

Four and a half months in, we're still happy to be helping Beverly achieve her goals of better self-care and healthier eating habits. After our self-care program, she worked on having fueling meals and honoring her hunger with our Intuitive Eating program, has cut back on stress eating with our Tackling Snacking program, and now she’s working on meal prepping. Beverly has shared some major habit wins: when she's exhausted, instead of turning to stress eating, she’s taking mini breaks to breathe and rehydrate during hectic shifts, and is consistently going on walks. Yesterday, Beverly told us she prepped lunches and snacks for work, so tonight we'll check in on her daily goal of sticking to eating what she brought from home. Our money's on yes, but if not, we'll provide our trademark judgment-free support and encourage her to try again tomorrow. 

Our frontline healthcare workers continue to carry a heavy burden as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, and burnout has become even more prevalent in this critical field. They need—and deserve—all the support they can get to keep aiding our communities and saving lives. It doesn’t feel like much to offer as a way to give back, but we’ll continue to donate Wishroute’s support to frontline healthcare workers as long as we can.

If you’d like to learn more about our frontline healthcare worker initiative, or are interested in offering Wishroute’s self-care, healthy eating, or exercise programs to your healthcare workers to combat burnout (we offer corporate discounts), shoot us a note at hello@wishroute.com.

Are you a frontline healthcare worker, or do you know one that would enjoy a free self-care boost? Click the button to learn more about our program or sign up. We’re continuing offer our self-care program for free to all frontline healthcare workers

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