Medical practices are fast-paced places. On top of that there are so many things that you have to do and remember—HIPAA, billing changes and updates, and other regulatory changes. Then tack on the fact that you are often dealing with people who are sick or injured and may be tense or short tempered. Anyone in that situation is bound to get a little stressed out every now and again.
The thing about stress is that it is bad for you. It takes a toll on your body in many ways from raising your blood pressure to causing anxiety attacks and weight gain and it reduces your productivity.
Luckily, there are lots of ways to beat stress in the workplace. In honor of healthy heart month (less stress is good for your ticker!), here are 7 ways to manage and reduce workplace stress:
- Stay alert for the warning signs. There are many signs of stress and recognizing them is an important part of getting it under control. Watch for feelings of anxiety, irritability, depression, and fatigue. Other signs include problems sleeping and concentrating as well as stomach issues, headache,s and muscle tension. Everyone is different and these are not all the possible signals of stress. Get to know your own responses to stress so you can see it coming.
- Take care of yourself. When you start to feel those signs of stress creeping in, do something about it. Take care of your mental and physical health first. Even small things can help you stay on track. Hydrate, get a little more rest, eat a healthy meal, etc. If you need to take some time away from the office, make arrangements for that. A short walk or lunch with a friend can work wonders to relieve tension.
- Remove stress triggers. Seeing the stress coming is one thing. Preventing it all together is another. Take some time to think about what triggers stress for you. For some people it is conflict with others, for another person it might be a messy desk. Identifying your triggers is the first step to addressing them.
- Build up your emotional intelligence. You’ve heard the phrase “Know thyself.” That is really what emotional intelligence is all about. Tweet This
Beyond identifying your triggers, work on having self-awareness, awareness of others, and the ability to develop effective coping skills. You may be able to do these things on your own or you might need some help. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for professional help if you need it.
- Learn to resolve conflict. Conflict with others in the workplace can cause a lot of stress. And most of us don’t deal well with interpersonal tension. Learning to resolve these issues can be a huge stress buster. Read our recent post on reducing workplace tension for good strategies.
- Talk it out. This suggestion comes from the Mayo Clinic. An article from the Mayo Clinic suggests trying to get some perspective by getting other points of view or taking a break. Talking to a friend or colleague about what’s bothering you is a great way to help resolve the stress.
- Get some help. It was mentioned above, but it’s worth saying it again. Sometimes you need some help to resolve a problem. Seeing a professional can help you with all of the steps above if you just can’t seem to do them on your own. The best part is that due to changes in healthcare reimbursement, many insurance companies now cover mental health services with a co-pay, making it more accessible and affordable for many people.
Don’t let stress get in the way of workplace satisfaction. You spend 40 hours (or more) a week at your job. You should enjoy it.