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Stress Awareness Month: Managing Stress As A Healthcare Worker
April is National Stress Awareness Month, a global campaign which aims to raise awareness of the impact stress has on our mind and body, providing solutions on living a better and healthier life, in order to reduce its impact. In this month’s Dean Healthcare blog, we’re going to explore how our Healthcare workers can too reduce the impact of stress through a range of different activities including; management, exercise and relaxation.
As a Healthcare worker, you’re likely to feel the impact working with people has, this is something known as ‘compassion fatigue’ whereby you have an emotional ability to deal with someone else’s everyday environment, but a tolerance as to how much this can affect you. Compassion fatigue is not uncommon for workers in the Healthcare industry, but studies have shown practicing mindfulness is a great way to increase this level of tolerance and better deal with and adapt to another person’s situation or feelings.
Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation, can help you reduce stress and improve your focus. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and clear your mind can help you feel calmer and more centred, even in the midst of a busy day. There are also a plethora of apps that focus solely on these exercises, making it easier to implement into your daily life.
Studies show that those who aren’t able to organise or prioritise parts of their lives often have higher levels of stress and burnout, as a result of excessive stimuli which cause our senses to work overtime, distracting our focus.
Being organised can help you feel more in control of your work, which can reduce levels of stress. Consider creating a to-do-list, prioritise the most important tasks in your day and keep a tidy work and home area. This might feel like more of a chore, but spending just a little bit of time on managing your day can help you feel more focused and more productive, contributing to increase happiness and content.
It goes without saying that exercise is perhaps one of the single-best tools we have when it comes to altering chemical imbalances in our body and the way our moods are affected. We know that, as a Healthcare worker, your role can be physically demanding so the last thing you’ll want to consider after a long shift is more exercise, however, even a small exertion aside from your working day can have a big impact.
Make exercise more enjoyable by arranging a ‘coffee-walk’ with friends. Consider purchasing an inexpensive exercise item – such as light weights or a hoola hoop – that make exercising feel like more of a quick, unique activity. Gamify physical activity outside of work by performing reps (numbers of) and seeing how many you can do in a short window of time. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or tiring to reap positive mental and physical benefits in a short space of time.
37% of adults who reported feeling stress on a daily occurrence also reported feeling lonely and studies show that stress actively contributed to a person being more shy and conservative, less likely to say yes to social outings and less likely to be open and share their thoughts with those around them.
You can be social in different ways and again utilise it to better suit your personality and preferences. Talking to colleagues or friends who understand the challenges of working in the Healthcare industry can provide you with emotional support. Normalise the way you’re feeling by joining a support group or attending a peer support session. Join a Facebook group with people who share a similar interest or hobby with yourself, engaging in conversation in the comfort of your own home. Catch up with friends for a walk, food, drinks or a quick cuppa, any excuse for a chat and to offload how you’ve been feeling this week.
As a Healthcare worker, you probably already understand the importance of self-care, and although your role might involve caring for others, equally, you should be a priority too. Self-care can manifest in different ways and its success is likely based on your individual habits. Try find doing things that you enjoy, that feel like a treat or enable your mind to entirely switch off from the clutter of daily life.
There are so many examples of self-care tips and tricks, but some that are particularly important and effective for Healthcare workers include; prioritising rest and sleep, allowing your mind and body to unwind and reset. Eat healthy and stay hydrated to ensure your brain can perform its cognitive functions best and to avoid burnout, fatigue or headaches. Enjoy a sweet (or savoury) treat for a quick ‘pick-me-up’, just don’t rely on this, as overindulgence can lead to stress-dependency.
At Dean Healthcare. We understand the challenges our teams face both at work and in their daily life and we’re actively seeking becoming a Mindful Employer in an effort to show our acknowledgement and support of this and while we seek accreditation, we hope content such as the information shared above will be of use to you or someone you know. For more tips on health and wellbeing throughout this month, feel free to give us a follow on all social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram) by searching for @deanhealthcare.