Most jobs are somewhat stressful, but medical jobs really top the charts. No one wants a society full of over-stressed and overworked doctors. Below are 5 ways to offset work-related stress.
- Physical Activity
There is a strong link between exercise and mood. Research also shows that exercise can have both short-term and long-term effects on depression. Doctors have busy schedules, and sometimes their hours vary, making it hard to find time and energy for exercise. Starting to exercise for even 10 minutes every day can start you on a journey to being more physically active overtime. Jog, hike, play tennis, swim, or do any activity you enjoy the most. Just because exercise is hard work doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it.
- Laugh it Off
Sometimes joking about serious issues is the only way to stay sane. GiggleMed is a testament to that. This isn’t saying you should make jokes at a patient’s expense, but more that you should be able to laugh at yourself and the situations you’re in. If you have a sick patient vomit all over your shoes right after you got a speeding ticket on the way to work, it could potentially ruin your mood for the rest of the day. Your perspective on stressful situations like this makes all the difference for your mental health.
- Don’t Take Work Home with You
Make time for family, friends and hobbies. When you live in the moment, you can leave the stress of work at the office. As doctors, we always wish we could do more. We wish there were more hours in the day. We wish we had more resources. We wish we could help more people. For our own peace of mind, we need to take time away from work to unwind. Even an especially stressful day at work shouldn’t ruin the time you have after work with family and friends.
- Don’t Bottle it Up
When you let thoughts and feelings fester in your own head, they can turn into bigger problems than they were meant to be. If you would rather not talk to your loved ones about your work-related problems, you could see a psychiatrist. There is no shame in seeking professional help, even for a doctor. Keeping up with your own mental health is important.
- Write a “Gratitude List” Everyday
Multiple studies have shown that the happiest people focus on what they do have instead of dwelling on what they lack. If you sit down during lunch or after work to think of 3 things you’re grateful for, you would likely see that there’s not much to stress about in the grand scheme of things. Maybe you had one or two unhappy patients that day, but you also have many things to be grateful for.
If these 5 things don’t relieve your stress, forge your own path and find what works for you. When you’re feeling your best, that’s when you can do the best work for your patients.