Managing stress as a healthcare professional
As a healthcare professional you are looking after people all day, so it is vital that you take time to look after yourself too. You are most likely aware of what stress is, when you experience it and how it affects you. However, everyone needs a reminder of some tips on managing stress, whether that is at work during your busy shifts or after work.
Learn breathing exercises
These are useful techniques that help you relax and can take a few seconds to do during your shift. One breathing exercise that you should learn is the 4-5-8 method. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds and breathe out slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle as many times as you need to till you feel less overwhelmed. There are many other breathing techniques out there that may suit you better, click here to see more.
Have a breather
Take a short break in between your patients if you start to feel too overwhelmed, use this time to do breathing exercises or practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is focusing your awareness on the present moment, it helps to reduce stress, gain insight, enhance performance etc. Click here to find out more about mindfulness.
Rest in between shifts
Switch off, relax and get enough sleep after work to help you feel refreshed and ready for your next shift. This also comes with eating well and exercising, even if that’s doing your 10k steps a day. Even the activities that you do with your friends can help you relax and work as a good stress reliever.
Don’t let yourself get run down
Say no to responsibilities that you know will pile up and lead to an unrealistic workload for you. If you are busy and feel overwhelmed, make sure to split up big tasks into smaller more manageable ones and write to-do lists each day with the tasks in order of priority.
Accept the things you cannot change
Only concentrate on the things you have control over. You can control your attitude, thoughts, words, actions, boundaries, the choices you make, learning from your mistakes and asking for help. So don’t dwell on the negatives and instead put your energy into making the positive changes that you have been thinking about.
This can be as simple as sitting down, closing your eyes and enjoying some peace and quiet for 5 minutes during the day. There are many apps out there that you can download to get you started, click here.
Connect with people
Make sure to have a good support network of colleagues, friends and/or family who will be there for you to talk to and ease your work stress. Sometimes telling someone else what you are stressed about can help you see it in a different way and even find solutions to your problems.
The Health & Care Professions Council has created a health and wellbeing framework to provide a healthy working environment as well as improving the quality of working lives for all employees. Click here to view the objectives, action plans, initiatives and how your manager should support you.