San Bernardino County -- Registered nurse Micaela Lieberman starts her emergency room shift in San Bernardino County as the sounds of chronic coughs echo throughout the rooms, a reminder that the pandemic is not over.
Many medical workers like her are exhausted from working through the pandemic. With variants training short-staffed facilities across the country, some on the frontlines are experiencing added physical, mental and emotional stress.
“There is no relaxing or letting your guard down,” she said. “It has been tough having to look at everyone like they could potentially have COVID and helping to keep yourself and those around you safe.”
However, she finds a way to calm her anxiety at the outset of the pandemic.
How does she do it?
Lieberman says it's her faith as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses that helps her to cope and keep a positive outlook during unprecedented times.
“I don’t even know what I would do if I didn’t have my faith and hope,” Lieberman said. “I would feel absolutely hopeless, but instead, I can go to my job and even on the bad days, keep focused.”
American psychological and psychiatric associations, while not advocating or endorsing any specific religion, acknowledge the role spirituality and religious faith can play in coping with distress and trauma.
Lawrence Onoda, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Mission Hills, California, noted some ways spirituality can help, including giving people “a positive hope and meaning toward life, comfort by looking for answers and strength from a higher power, and a collective shared experience of support and community.”
Lieberman has found great joy in regularly volunteering to share the Bible’s hope with others.
According to the organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses globally have pivoted to writing letters, using the telephone and virtual platforms instead of their iconic door-to-door ministry for the safety of the public.
“It has been a tremendous help having something to take my mind off myself,” she said. “You aren’t thinking about work, how stressful it is, or about your worries. It is so positive to focus on helping others.”
One of Lieberman's go-to resources is the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with its collection of practical articles like, “How to Beat Pandemic Fatigue” and short comforting videos such as, “The Resurrection – Soon a Reality.”
According to the "Nursing Management" website, the pandemic has really packed a punch to nurses throughout the country. Duties of a nurse generally include working under extreme pressure, over time this can affect their resilience if given enough time in that environment. A study from the website says that 79.7% of nurses have reported feeling anxious since the pandemic.