How are you handling stress today? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
Studies suggest up to 40% of healthcare workers are currently suffering from some level of burnout.
Burnout gradually evolves over a period of prolonged, unrelenting stress. It can be affecting you even though you may not realize it. I know because it happened to me.
But stress doesn’t automatically have to lead to burnout. Just because we care for others doesn’t mean we will inevitably succumb to the exhaustion, disillusionment, imbalance, and hopelessness that burnout entails.
Taking care of yourself is crucial. Here are some simple strategies I have learned that help me manage stress and prevent burnout.
- Do what you love. You got into healthcare because you wanted to help people. If you still love it, consider yourself blessed and stay positive in your role. If you don’t, take some time to renew your passion for your work. If you are still struggling, it may be time to consider what else would bring you joy. The options are limitless. Life is too short to stay in a job you don’t love.
- Manage your thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts go a little crazy in our heads. If we don’t have all the facts, our mind tends to create “stories.” Even worse, a lot of those “stories” are negative. In our workshop, we talk extensively about ways to manage thoughts in a positive way. You can learn these skills. It just take practice.
- Build your inner circle. Who do you know who would walk through fire for you, who loves you unconditionally. Nurture those relationships. Surround yourself with positive people who truly care about you and want the best for you. Talk to at least one person from your inner circle every day.
- Manage your health. We all know that eating a healthy diet and getting a little exercise will make a huge difference in how we feel. You don’t have to go crazy or be a health nut. Just try to make healthy choices more times than not.
- Be still for a few minutes every day. I get my best ideas when I’m relaxed and quiet. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often because I tend to be too fidgety, thinking about all of the things that I “really should be doing.” I’m trying to get better at relaxing!
- Use your creative imagination. What glorious minds we have. Believe in your ability to make good decisions and solve problems creatively. You are much more creative than you may realize.
- Reduce the clutter. Do we really need all the stuff we surround ourselves with? Just keeping everything clean and orderly adds more stress to my busy day. Here’s a simple formula: When you buy something new, get rid of something old.
- Connect with your higher power. Naturally, this will look different for everyone. It might mean prayer, reading scripture or meditation. Whatever it means for you, set aside time each day to get spiritually connected.
- Count your blessings. It seems that we often focus on what we don’t have rather than appreciate what’s right in front of us. Practice giving thanks every day by identifying at least three things you’re thankful for.
- Accept what is. Understand that things won’t always go as planned. If you expect everything in life to go as you want it to, you will quickly be disappointed. You can choose to whine and complain, but all you’re doing is prolonging your own suffering. You can’t change what the winds of life blow your way, but you can change how you react to them.
These are the things I’m practicing every day on my journey. Reducing stress is a big part of trying to live with An Island Perspective.
Some days I’m not so good at doing many of these things. But I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day and a clean slate. So I just start over. Thank goodness I don’t have to be perfect!