How to cope so you can manage the stress of working in healthcare

Are you feeling completely overwhelmed at work?

Are you feeling like you are just barely treading water on your day off?

Are you waiting for that magic meditation that will make it all manageable and not take all of your time to get done?

Too many times when the shit is hitting the fan we lose ourselves in the chaos and stress of it all. We begin to act without intention and we act out in ways that we are not proud of.

How many times do you later think back over a day and regret yelling or snapping at someone? How many times a day do you “cop an attitude” in response to someone’s actions or words?

Have you asked yourself if that is an action that you are proud of, that you want to be known for? Have you excused yourself because of the situation you were in?

Stress can be an all-consuming situation. It can slowly mount up. Like placing a frog in a pot of room temp water and bringing it to a boil, we don’t recognize how the stress slowly builds and in the end, boils us.

That is why it is essential that healthcare workers actively learn techniques to address stress and overwhelm.

These are the steps you MUST take to be resilient in stress:

  1. Self-regulate– get skilled in your ability to shift from a sympathetic (fight or flight) state to a parasympathetic state where you are in control of your body and its processes. (Yes, this is actually achievable!)
  2. Clarify your Intention– get clear on your principles and intentions. What drove you to be in healthcare? How did you dream of helping or empowering people as you chose this field and invested in your education and applied to practice in this field. (this will be how you change how you react to situations and events)
  3. Become self-validated- Recognize that your self-worth is not attached to your patient’s compliance and outcomes. Your success comes from your investment in development and your application of skills. You do not need your patients (or other practitioners) to shower you with praise and awards to KNOW that you are a fucking rockstar and you change lives.
  4. Develop your network- You can’t do this alone. Period. And often, you can’t even see when you are starting to be reactionary and spiral. Establish a network of 2-5 people who will A.) call you out when you are starting to spiral and B.) do what they can to make themselves available to you when need to talk. Finally, train them for what you need. That you are asking them to listen, not offer solutions or fix your problems.
  5. Develop your self-care- This is hard for us as healthcare providers, but it is ESSENTIAL that we take care of our bodies. We must give our bodies the nutrients it needs to properly function,  sleep to process and reboot, movement to strengthen and stretch the body we rely on so heavily so that we can do our works as intended, and the time to hone and strengthen our skills of resilience.

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