Being a doctor or a nurse is perhaps one of the most stressful occupations in the world. Your decisions can massively determine whether a patient lives or dies. With so much responsibility on your shoulders, it's easy to get stressed. So we've got some tips on how to handle stress at work in the hospital to help you manage your stress load.
How to handle stress at work when you're working in a hospital
Talk to someone you trust
Talking to someone about your problems is really beneficial. It gives you the chance to unload and get advice from someone else. At times you can be feeling like you're struggling with dozens of problems by yourself but by talking to a friend you can hear their opinion and get anything off your chest.
There are different people you can talk to:
- A friend at work: One of the perks of talking to a fellow nurse or doctor is they understand what you're going through. It's likely they're feeling stress about the same problems too.
- Family member or friend away from work: If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone at work, then a close friend or family member can be a great listener. While they may not have experience as a doctor or nurse, they're away from your work and you can trust them not to share your complaints with any of your colleagues. Another good reason for talking to someone who doesn't work in your profession is you can get an outside perspective.
- Counsellor or therapist - At many hospitals, they have counsellors and therapists available for staff to talk to. If you've recently lost a patient or you've had a stressful few months, talking to a therapist is a great solution. And the best thing about it is, it's confidential.
Take a deep breath; the benefits of breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises are regularly recommended for people suffering from stress. Taking deep controlled breaths helps to stretch your lungs and your diaphragm.
Try taking a slow deep breath and when you cannot breathe anymore, hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly. Each breath should be slow and controlled and you should aim to breathe out for twice as long as your breathed in.
This deep breathing technique helps to release tension and help you calm down when you're feeling really stressed.
Stretch and increase your heart rate; physical exercises
Now, we don't expect you to start running laps around the hospital; it's not safe. But there are exercises you can do to help stretch muscles and tensed areas, like your neck and shoulders. What's great is you can do some of these exercises at work.
- Whilst standing, do heel raises, which are like press ups with your feet. Stand on a flat surface and raise onto your tip toes, then slowly lower back down onto the floor. This helps stretch your ankles and muscles in your legs.
- You can stretch your shoulders while standing or sitting. Make sure your back is straight, then carefully, with your right arm, stretch over to the left side of your body, hold that position for ten seconds. Then do the same with your left arm over the right side of your body. This exercise helps to stretch your shoulder blades.
- Don't take the elevator, take the stairs. More hospitals are promoting the benefits of taking the stairs over the elevator, take advantage of the exercise.
Actually use your lunch break to have a break
Too often, many nurses and doctors have a habit of eating at their desks or quickly eating on the go. You're entitled to a lunch break, use it.
Rather than catching up on patient notes, use your time to do another activity. Leave the hospital and go for a walk. A change of scenery can help reduce stress. Or if you don't want to leave the canteen, listen to music or read a book. Take the time to give your mind a break and relax.
Make sure to have a healthy meal too, feeling bloated because you had an unhealthy lunch can make work even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy.
Have a stress ball
Along with exercise, you cannot ignore the benefits of a stress ball.
Stress balls are small foam balls that are squeezed to help relieve stress. Before you mock this little ball, it's a popular stress diffuser. Keeping a stress ball in your pocket means you can squeeze it if you get frustrated or annoyed. Because it's small, nobody will notice it tucked away in your pocket.
This ball can also be used to exercise and stretch your hands, especially if your hands have a habit of cramping after an intense surgery.
Is sore feet adding to your list of stresses?
You may be surprised to know but having sore feet at work can massively impact how you're feeling at work. For nurses and doctors, it's important to wear the right shoes. When you're on your feet for most of your 12-hour shift, you need shoes that will provide comfort and support.
Healthcare shoes are designed for healthcare professionals. At Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd. our slip-resistant healthcare styles are created to benefit doctors and nurses, and give them the support they need at work so they don't suffer from a bad back or sore feet later.
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Get a free copy of our healthcare shoes guide
When looking for advice on how to handle stress at work in the hospital, it's important your shoes are giving you the support you need. We understand you probably don't have enough time to shop for new work shoes. Get a copy of our latest healthcare catalogue to see our most popular healthcare styles.