Stress-Busting Tips for the Busy Holiday and Flu Season
Working in medicine comes with a lot of stress. This stress often ramps up to a fever pitch during the busy flu and holiday seasons. While this stress is often unavoidable, there are some stress-busting techniques you can use to help survive the season.
We all know that this time of year can bring unwanted stress both in and outside the clinic, so be sure to prepare yourself ahead of time. Start by analyzing and addressing your holiday problem areas early, as many issues can be reduced or eliminated by employing some interventions and healthy coping mechanisms.
- For example, last-minute shopping and rushed travel can be eliminated by creating a schedule ahead of time so you aren't leaving everything to the last minute. Issues like problematic family interactions can be helped by establishing healthy boundaries and employing stress-reduction techniques to help diffuse tense situations.
Schedule Some Down Time
A hectic clinic schedule can ramp up stress levels and make you miserable. To counter this stress consider establishing timed breaks throughout the day and involve yourself in an unrelated activity to help you decompress. These activities could be as simple as playing a game on your phone or listening to music.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise has a dual benefit during the holidays. Not only does it relieve stress, it also helps burn off all the holiday goodies you've probably been eating. If you are exhausted after work and the idea of exercising seems impossible, try doing it in the morning before you start work. If your schedule doesn't allow for a morning at the gym, try adding interval exercises throughout the day to increase your overall activity levels. Some examples you could try include stair runs, wall sits, chair dips, burpees or mountain climbers.
Focus on Healthy Eating
This time of year is filled with tasty temptations that can cause weight gain and gastrointestinal discomfort. Think about all the office parties and family get-togethers where goodies will be present and plan ahead by setting some limits. You may even want to consider bringing food to a party to ensure you have a healthier option. Dietary considerations also come into play while covering a busy clinic. While it's common to sacrifice your lunch when things are busy, it is important to schedule some time to eat. This simple act can reinvigorate you for the remainder of your shift while giving you some much needed mental down.
Try Some Meditation
Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and can be especially beneficial at work to decompress during breaks. These techniques have many physical, cognitive and emotional benefits that can improve mood and decrease anxiety and fatigue. Begin by practicing a few minutes a day and gradually increase the duration of your practice with each passing week. You may also want to try guided meditation or mindfulness apps on your phone.