psy_stress_mx

prevent burnout, learn to reduce your stress and stressors

coping strategies for ED staff:

short-term coping strategies:

  • increase the rewards from working:
    • our daily work offers us unique opportunities for rewards as directly caring for people who entrust us with their welfare is a very rewarding thing to be able to do. We are privileged to be able to offer care and comfort. We can make a difference to people's lives.
    • if you feel you are not being appreciated, follow up your patients by visiting the ward or phoning them - the amount of thanking you get may surprise you (and you may also learn some medicine!)
    • we are also privileged to be able to teach. There is reward out of contributing to anyone's learning, but particularly when contributing to the evolution of medical students, young doctors & nurses.

middle-term coping strategies:

  • identify the sources of stress in your life
    • yes, there are many stressors that are out of you control, but ensure look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses as these may affect how much stress or at least how you respond to the stressors impacts your life
    • to gain control of your stress level, you must first you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it
    • start a stress journal to identify stressors
  • replace unhealthy coping strategies with healthy ones
    • unhealthy coping strategies:
      • smoking, alcohol or substance use
      • withdrawing from friends, family and activities
      • bingeing on food
      • procrastination
      • zoning out for prolonged periods or sleeping too much
      • avoiding solving problems by creating constant busy activities
      • taking your stress out on others
    • healthy strategies:
      • focus on what makes you feel calm and in control
        • create a mental image of your happy place and go there for short periods when you do need time out
        • take control of your task list by addressing the important priorities - procrastinating and avoidance only increases the stress
      • exercise even if it is just regular walking listening to music
      • eat sensibly - reduce caffeine, alcohol and simple sugars
      • get enough sleep
      • communicate
        • instead of bottling anxieties up, express them, communicate your concerns and reduce your resentments
      • connect with others
        • face to face quality interactions with others who make you feel safe and understood are important mechanisms to reduce the fight-flight response of chronic stress
        • Epicurus recognised the importance of having a meal or drink with friends
        • join meetup groups or volunteer to help others
      • balance your life to offset the stressor's impacts
        • variety is the spice of life:
          • ED is a specialty that affords us unprecedented flexibility, consider doing something new, or work somewhere else
        • plan to change/evolve gracefully:
          • out of the flexibility we can make for ourselves comes the opportunity to evolve through various roles & indeed lifestyles.
          • get out of a rut if it has become a canyon
        • protect your away from work time
          • do not allow work or work emails to invade your home time - it is critical that everyone can have a time out to mentally recharge without having to be forced to think about work
        • take an extended time out
          • absence can make the heart grow fonder, so take leave allocations & even take leave without pay
        • reward yourself
          • do something you enjoy every day eg. play the piano, take photos, bushwalk, etc
          • try to keep your sense of humour - a good laugh is good for you
        • have another interest
          • distraction from your troubles at work can provide your life with another perspective & can regenerate the composure, confidence & enthusiasm needed to deal with the workplace more effectively
        • appreciate how fortunate you are
          • when you think life is tough, reflect on hardships of others less fortunate than yourselves. Those others are everywhere, but most immediately, they are on stretchers in your ED.
      • manage your time better
        • don't over commit - delegate where possible and appropriate - stop being a control freak!
        • prioritize tasks
        • break tasks into smaller tasks which then won't seem so overwhelming that you end up procrastinating
  • avoid unnecessary stressors
    • learn to say NO
    • avoid people who stress you out unnecessarily
    • take control of your environment
      • maintain control of the big picture of your life & maintain a balance
    • prioritise your to do list and remove unnecessary items or delegate them
  • alter the stressor
    • be prepared to compromise in conflicts
  • adapt to the stressor
    • reframe the issue in a more positive perspective
      • see the potential ahead
    • look at the big picture
      • will it matter in 1 month, in 1 year?
      • imagine the worst that can happen and then imagine how you could cope with that - we nearly always find a way to deal with even the worst outcomes, if we work at it
    • adjust your standards
      • perfectionism is psychologically crippling
      • stop setting yourself up for failure
      • set reasonable standards on yourself and others and avoid being overly judgmental - we are all human, and to err is human
      • learn that good enough is usually good enough
    • practice gratitude:
      • take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts
  • accept the things you can't change
    • don't try to control what you can't control:
      • the behaviour and thoughts of others
      • whether or not your plane will crash, or your family is in an accident
      • sometimes s$&t happens, and thus we need to make the most of each other in the present moment
    • when faced with such challenges look for ways you can learn from them
    • let go of anger and resentment and learn to forgive - forgiving others benefits YOU more than them!
    • share your feelings instead of bottling them up

long-term coping strategies:

  • re-train the way we think & live:
    • train to respond not with distress, but with a positive disposition, in which we can maintain a calm & stable outlook
      • identify & cultivate positive thinking (that which leads to happiness)
      • identify & eliminate negative thinking (that which prevents happiness)
      • replacing our negative conditioning, those bad habit responses of irritability, anger & frustration, with positive conditioning for tolerance & patience is a process of learning. Fortunately, our brains are adaptable & have 'plasticity'.
    • train to shift your perspective:
      • if we focus intensely on the problem when it occurs, it may appear uncontrollable, but if we compare the event to a greater event or look at the problem from a distance, then it appears smaller & less over-whelming & we can then see that something can be gained from experience - 'out of every crisis comes opportunity'
    • be aware of the basics of our value system:
      • difficulty is integral to life
      • one can find meaning in difficulties - they are challenges & opportunities
      • tolerance & patience are powerful tools
      • compassion is the key to peace of mind - compassion is caring without attachment
    • remember that learning is more effective with motivation, enthusiasm & a sense of urgency & bringing about enduring change takes sustained effort & is a gradual process
psy_stress_mx.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/17 06:42 by 127.0.0.1

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