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How to Handle Curveballs as a Healthcare Worker


If you chose a career in healthcare, you probably expected to handle curveballs on the job. In fact, for some healthcare workers, this is a big pull. Every workday looks different, which keeps us interested and motivated to keep learning new skills. However, even if you’re a natural born problem solver that thrives under pressure, some curveballs might feel like too much to manage.

Here are 4 tips for bouncing back when life throws you a curveball:

1. Take a pause. 

While you might feel tempted to rush into “fix it” mode, it’s important to let yourself feel your feelings first. If you don’t take the time to process your emotions, you’ll get stuck in the fight-or-flight response that’s activated in your body during stressful situations. This can lead to chronic stress – and all of the negative physical and psychological symptoms that come with it.

2. Reach out for support. 

You’ll be able to better handle curveballs with the right people in your corner. Rather than trying to weather the storm by yourself, make sure you have someone to talk to about how you’re feeling. It could be someone you know personally, like a friend or coworker, or a mental health practitioner, like a therapist or counselor. They’ll be able to offer advice and listen when you need to get things off your chest.

3. Take it one day at a time. 

Like we touched on in tip #1, you can’t expect to fix things immediately. After all, there are certain curveballs – like global pandemics – that can permanently alter life as you know it. Avoid trying to plan too far into the future, since this can lead to catastrophizing. Instead, be patient and allow yourself to go day by day.

4. Accept and keep moving.  

Once you’ve given yourself the time and space to process your feelings and adjust to your day-to-day, consider how you want to move forward. What do you want your life to look like now that you’ve processed this challenging experience? Are there any positive changes you can make or proactive steps you can take to start moving in the right direction? Asking yourself these key questions will help you take stock of where you are and figure out where you want to go.

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