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How to Properly De-Stress

Working in healthcare is a tricky thing. You spend your working hours caring for people, trying to be thorough, compassionate, and attentive, knowing full well you might have others waiting on you and expecting the same level of care. If one of your colleagues calls out or is assigned to a different department, or if your team is otherwise short-staffed, it can increase the stress for everyone. 

But as a healthcare professional, you know stress is bad for your body. It’s bad for your physical and mental health and can make you feel generally lousy. How do you find ways to de-stress when your day job is among the most stressful occupations? 

Here are a few quick ways to help you relax and de-stress that you owe it to yourself — and your patients — to try. 

Move your body.

This isn’t running from room to room; it’s more like taking a dance break. Turn on a song you love and dance it out. Don’t feel like dancing? How about a nice big stretch to help elongate your spine, increase your circulation, and get more oxygen deeper into your muscles? If you have a few minutes, take a walk outside (weather permitting) and breathe deeply. If you have more time, say before or after work, consider going for a jog, taking an exercise class, or finding one online that might provide a little energy in your day. 

Get some fresh air.

Even if it’s blustery or rainy outside, take a moment to breathe in some fresh air. Deeply. Close your eyes and, as you inhale, count to 10. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale. Do this a few times, slowly and deliberately, and see how much better you feel. 

Make a note of what makes you happy.

If you’re feeling stressed or down, it’s a good time to remind yourself of three things you’re grateful for. Put pen to paper and actually write it down! It can be anything — your favorite food, your favorite movie, something that happened recently that brought a smile to your face, your pet, your partner, your kids. There’s no wrong answer here; write down three things that make the world a little better for you. When you have your list, put it somewhere you can see it: On your desk, in your pocket, wherever. Tomorrow, if you’re feeling stressed, take a look at the list and really think about those three things, or maybe write down three new things. Little moments of appreciation help to remind us why we’re working so hard. 

Get a snack.

When was the last time you fueled your body? Did you have breakfast/lunch/dinner today? Low blood sugar can make people feel cranky or sad. Find something to eat and enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be healthy; there’s no judgment if you pick something that tastes good but isn’t 100% good for you. Put some food in your body and drink some water while you’re at it. 

Get in touch with a friend.

Maybe you don’t have the time right now for a long catch-up phone call, but if you have a break, text a friend you haven’t talked to in a while to say hi and ask how they’re doing. Everyone likes to be remembered, especially out of the blue, and you might find you feel better reminding yourself of the connections you have outside work, that people care about you not just for the labor you provide but for the person you are. 

Ten minutes isn’t a long time. It’s barely enough time to make a cup of tea or enjoy some coffee. But it’s enough of a deviation from your busy day to reset your mind, get some fresh air into your lungs, maybe some sunshine on your face, a break from the hectic pace of work, and get back into yourself. Make a habit of this and see how much of a difference it really makes! 

If you’re finding it really hard to take a break at work consistently, maybe it’s time to find a new job that gives you the ability to care for yourself. AMEA Healthcare can help! Our recruiters work with great healthcare companies and know which ones might really need someone like you on their team. Give AMEA a call today, and let’s get started!