Tips to help health care workers manage stress

By: Grant King, MedicalSearch Writer
12 April, 2016

Health care is one of the noblest industries you can be involved in and it comes with some wonderful rewards.

However, working to better people’s lives at their most fundamental emotional and physical levels can also impact on your own mental and physical health. So here are a few ways you can build a stronger foundation to combat stress and deal with the ups and downs as they come along.

Talk about it

As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. This is especially true with health care where you can be exposed to life and death situations on a regular basis. Talking through your day or week with a trusted counsellor or work colleague is an excellent way to release some of the worry and tension that inevitably builds. Concerns about your own performance can be aired and resolved. Private burdens over a loss or distressing incident can be shared and lightened.

Fight your desire to care

We're human and we feel what others feel. But there is a point where caring becomes caring too much and this can lead to compassion fatigue, stress and depression. And yes, it's a catch 22 – compassionate people are naturally drawn to health care. Yet to succeed in health care you need to have the right coping mechanisms to deal with what you experience. Incorporate regular relaxation techniques such as yoga, massage and controlled breathing exercises into your routine. Join a gym. Above all, learn how to rid yourself of guilt and foster as much social support as you can to keep your compassionate self in check.

Caring begins at home

The way you live outside of work can have a huge bearing on your performance. So try to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as much as you can. A balanced diet goes a long way to creating a balanced mind and regular sleep patterns minimise the tiredness that can exacerbate stress. Above all learn to relax and switch off in your leisure time. Reading is great therapy as it forces the mind to focus on the written word and release itself from reality. And any hobby that takes your mind off work is a great way to create a more stable and strong self.