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The Healthcare Professional’s

Guide to Stress Management:
A 10-Step Campaign

Step 8: Address the physical causes of stress

Guide to Stress Management

Stress is generally considered a psychological problem, but it has physical components,too. Here are three ideas to consider as part of your anti-stress campaign.

Get away from your desk. Many healthcare jobs require you to stay at your desk or workstation for extended periods of time. This creates boredom as well as stress. Stay alert and avoid stress by changing your habits. For example, if you take phone calls from patients for a good part of the day, every third or fourth call simply stand up while you talk. Also, don’t spend personal time in the same place that you’re going to spend the rest of your day. Leave your workstation when your break or lunch begins and, time permitting, take a quick walk (even if it’s just around the block) while you are on break. You’ll return refreshed and relaxed.

Exercise regularly. Fatigue on the job — a common cause of stress — is seldom the result of too much physical activity. On the contrary, engaging in regular physical exercise or a sport can reduce chronic fatigue and lethargy and help you burn off the physical effects of stress (not to mention a few extra calories). Consider the benefits of joining a gym, participating in a sport, or taking a brisk walk several days each week.

Eat well. Overeating is a common reaction to stressful situations, but in reality, it only creates more stress as the numbers on the scale go up and your energy level goes down. Caffeine, sugar, and fatty foods may feel good in the moment, but they usually end up making you feel worse, not better. Drinking alcohol to reduce stress is an absolute no-no, and an invitation to greater problems. There is no shortage of data available today on what constitutes a healthy diet. Take advantage of the information age and learn what proper adult nutrition looks like. As a healthcare professional, it’s up to you to set a good example.

 

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