Stress Management - Tips for Health Care Professionals

Written by Madison School of Healthcare On Wednesday, 09 March 2016. Posted in Healthcare Insights

Stress Management - Tips for Health Care Professionals

As a medical professional, you dedicate your life to taking care of others — but do you remember to take care of yourself? The physical and emotional demands of working long hours, dealing with patients and family members, and, in some cases, handling life-or-death situations can be a lot to handle.

Chronic stress can lead to health problems, decreased productivity and other serious issues. You probably already know this, because you work in health care. While a little bit of stress will always come with your job title, there are ways you can improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

Emotional Self Care

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, things still won't go your way. This is much more difficult to deal with when your job is to care for people struggling with illness. Working in health care can take a toll on your emotions, and your heavy work load, paired with longer hours, don't leave a lot of time for self care. However, these simple activities can help you work through some of the tough stuff.

  • Find healthy distractions: Whether it's a night out with friends, a night in watching a light-hearted movie on Netflix, or taking up a hobby like crafting or ultimate Frisbee, giving yourself some time to "unplug" from your work life in a healthy way can be helpful after an emotionally draining work week.

  • Get introspective: You can't ignore feelings forever. Take some time to reflect on the issues that are bothering you. Think through proactive steps you can take to improve the issues that you can control, and learn to let go of the things that you can't.

  • Talk about it: Find a friend, family member or loved one that you trust and talk about what is bothering you. The release of saying things out loud is helpful in and of itself, but tapping an outside perspective can help you work through problems in ways that you might not be able to on your own.

Reduce Physical Stress

Not only does stress affect your mental state, it can affect your body too. And the physical demands of working in health care (standing for long periods of time, working odd hours, etc.) don't help either. When you do have time, these activities can help relieve physical stress.

  • Exercise: From kick boxing to yoga, the simple act of getting moving can immediately make you feel better. Don't have time? Even going for a walk, stretching for 15 minutes, or doing a lap up and down the stairs at work can help.

  • Get better sleep: Working in health care and getting enough sleep may sound impossible. But it is possible to make the most of the sleep that you do get. For more restful sleep, use these tips:

    • Avoid looking at screens (phones, laptops, TVs, etc.) within two hours of your bedtime.

    • Keep your room as dark as possible.

    • Breathe deeply as you start to fall asleep and envision a peaceful environment.

  • Schedule a massage: This is pretty self explanatory, but not only will this allow you to pamper yourself, it can also help relieve fatigue and physical pain caused by work and stress.

Addressing your mental and physical health is crucial when working in a high stress environment such as health care. Putting effort toward being your best possible self will help you make it through even the most difficult days.

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Madison School of Healthcare

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