Six Tips for Coping with Stress in the New Year

Right now, things are scary and unknown, especially for people who work in the healthcare field. Not only are medical workers (whether behind the desk or not) exposed to more chances of illness, they are extremely vulnerable to stress and burnout.

As we head into the new year, it’s vital to make you and your health a priority. Here are six tips on escaping and coping with any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing.

Eat nutritious foods.

Between enduring the stress and working long hours without a break, you may feel tempted to grab something quick and less than healthy. Do your best to plan nutritious meals for yourself as much as you can and avoid fast food. Consume nutrient-rich foods to boost your immune system and take your vitamins.

Drink plenty of water and try to avoid sugary drinks and those filled with caffeine. Taking care of yourself and making sure that you are eating foods (and not eating the wrong ones) will provide you with clean-burning fuel to get you through the day.

Enjoy the outdoors.

Working in a busy medical office can keep you trapped indoors for hours on end. Getting outside, even for a short time, can help improve your mood. If you find a chance during your lunch or break, slip out of the building for a few minutes to soak up some fresh air.

When you are off work, spend some time out in nature, you can walk around your neighborhood, go on a hike, or ride your bike.

Fit in some exercise.

Time can be tight when you are working with patients. It can be challenging to find extra time for yourself between a busy workday and sleep. But analyze your schedule and try to determine when you can fit in some exercise.

If you like to run, attempt to get a mile or two before you leave for work. There are apps and videos that you can download that will walk you through a quick session of yoga or aerobics. Doing this will strengthen your body as well as reduce your stress.

[Need more tips on reducing stress at work? Click here!]

Focus on some inner reflection. 

Meditation can help you relieve some of the anxiety that you may be holding inside. Play some soft music and find a comfortable place to sit, then do your best to clear your mind for some time. Keep your breath slow, and even as you do this. You should feel a bit refreshed after you reflect and feel ready to head into another day.

In addition to meditation, find three things in your life that you are thankful for and list them. You can either speak these aloud to yourself or write them down. If you do write them down, consider doing so in a journal so you can look back and focus on the things that make you feel grateful. Thinking about these people or items will improve your mood and remind you of the good things in your life.

Talk to someone. 

If you feel that anxiety and depression are getting the better of you, find someone you can talk to. You can reach out to a trusted friend or family member. However, you might have better success speaking to a therapist or another member of your staff. They can relate to what you are experiencing and offer advice to you that pertains to your situation. 

Find things that make you happy. 

Instead of turning on the news, find a favorite movie that makes you happy. You can look for a comedy that will make you laugh or a feel-good story that will give you hope. Having a moment to laugh at something will make you feel better, will increase your mental health, and help you relax as you take this moment for yourself.

If you want to get away from the screen, pick a book to keep your mind busy. This is also a great time to start a journal of your experiences or pick up a hobby you have put aside. Devoting time to a project will give you a sense of accomplishment that will make you feel good about yourself.

Some other fun, feel-good things you can do include:

  • Baking
  • Gardening
  • Adult coloring
  • Dancing
  • Crocheting
  • Learn something new- musical instrument or a new language
  • Blogging
  • Painting
  • Photography

Take steps now to fight the anxiety, stress, and depression that can understandably descend during these unprecedented times. Learn to recognize your triggers so you can battle them before they lead to a meltdown.

With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy in the new year!

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