6 tips to relieve stress

As healthcare professionals, we often deal with stress, that we don't know how to cope with. Here is a list of ways to deal with your stress after a long day of saving and improving lives.


1.) Breathe. Slow, deep breathing is a great stress reducer. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, slowly and deeply from the abdomen:


"Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.

Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.

Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale." {Helpguide.org}



2.) Organize: Being organized helps with a sense of control. It helps increase productivity and reduces stress. Decluttering and getting rid of things you don't need will free up space. Choose a system and stick to it. You'll find that life is less stressful. Dedicate time each morning to organize, plan, and prioritize.


3.) Rest. Stress can disrupt sleep cycles. This can lead to fatigue and more stress. Establish a solid sleep schedule and stick to it.


4.) Talk. (Or journal.) Choose an optimistic friend or family member to share concerns with. Try not to speak with co-workers about your problems. It can cause tension or awkwardness, in the workplace. Talking or journaling about a problem can help put it in perspective and reduce feelings of stress.


5.) Break. Although, taking breaks, during your shift, may be difficult it is a good strategy for dealing with a stressful environment. Find a quiet space to take a moment for yourself. Take your vacation days or paid time off. Time away from the job, coworkers, and patients is necessary. Take a break and then return back to work more relaxed and better prepared to care for your patients.


6.) Eat. We tend to eat on the go or grab something out of the vending machines. Foods high in fat can make us feel lethargic and decrease our ability to combat stress. Low-fat meals rich in carbohydrate, fruits, and vegetables comfort us without draining our energy. They also give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system. "Scientists believe carbohydrates cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us." {Pcrm.org} Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. By increasing our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, we can boost our immune system. Citrus fruits provide loads of vitamin C which is also a stress-reducing antioxidant. Taking care of nutrition can boost stamina.


Stress is inevitable, in our careers. It is detrimental to not only your mental health, but also your physical health. Reducing stress is imperative to excel within your career and will enable you to provide the best possible care for your patients. 

By: Portia Wofford

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