Stress happens to the best of us. But, healthcare professionals are even more vulnerable. By the nature of caring for others and working in highly demanding, fast-paced environments it’s almost impossible to avoid some level of stress.
What is Stress?
According to WebMD, stress is the body's reaction to harmful situations. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as "fight-or-flight,” or the stress response. During stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. You’ve gotten ready to act. It is how you protect yourself. A little stress is okay. But our bodies are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress without ill consequences.
What are the symptoms of stress?
From an emotional perspective you may become easily agitated, be moody, feel overwhelmed or have difficulty relaxing. While on the physical side you may experience low energy, headaches, insomnia, frequent colds, a clenched jaw and more. Mentally high stress can cause worry, forgetfulness, the inability to focus or a pessimistic outlook. Sounds terrible right? So why do so many of us continue to live with high stress?
Here are 4 keys to managing stress while improving your health, quality of life, outlook and job performance.
- Make sure you eat a balanced diet and get enough rest. This may sound fairly basic, but nutrition and rest are the building blocks of our lives.
- Make time for yourself. Learning to relax is a valuable skill. If it’s practiced regularly it can truly promote well-being. What does this look like? Schedule a time when you can read, go for a cup of coffee, take a short walk or anything else that you enjoy doing.
- Physical activity -- whether its running, a spinning class, or a game of tennis—reduces anxiety, making you feel happier and more relaxed.
- Find a good friend or a coworker who you can confide in. Sometime just talking with a friend about the stresses in life can help us identify the problem and relieve the pressure.
When you start feeling stressed remember these four keys. They will help you begin to manage and reduce the stress in your life so you can find greater enjoyment in every day.
Another way to reduce stress is to invest time in learning. Explore how you can learn more, feel more confident and improve your job performance with our FREE Career Checklist. Explore your learning options here.