We all have our stress triggers — impatient patients, that towering stack of medical bill receipts, the sound of a team member slurping his morning coffee. Yep, working in a healthcare practice is seriously stressful. And the doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other employees you work with are seriously stressed too. Healthcare and hospital workers are more likely to experience stress and anxiety than any other profession. And the pandemic has made the situation even worse.
To coincide with Blue Monday — the third Monday in January, known as the most "depressing day of the year" — we've compiled a list of stress-busters that you can share with your hard-working team. (For example, send these tips to nurses in your practice and lighten the load.)
1. Breathe (Properly)
Whatever time of the day you're reading this, take a moment to breathe. Research shows that the simple act of breathing is one of the best ways to reduce stress in the body. But most of us don't breathe properly, and this increases stress levels. When we learn how to breathe deeply, it sends a message to our brains to relax, making it a tremendous tonic for high-pressure jobs like healthcare HR, medical billing, and nursing.
Want to become a better breather? Healthline recommends:
- Sitting comfortably with your knees slightly bent
- Relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders
- Placing one hand below your rib cage and the other on your upper chest
- Inhaling slowly through your nose so that your stomach pushes against your hand
- Focusing on your abdominal muscles as you exhale through pursed lips.
Practice makes perfect. Master this breathing technique and reduce stress levels. Share this technique with doctors, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, billing assistants, and other team members.
|Recommended reading: Last year was tough. But your practice is tougher. Read more.|
2. Meditate (Properly)
Breathing takes us on to meditation, which isn't just for monks or hippies anymore. (Around 14% of Americans have tried meditation at least once.) It's a brilliant way to practice "mindfulness," where you focus your mind on a particular thought or object to achieve mental clarity. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it at home or in your practice.
We recommend apps such as Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App to master meditation. (Headspace has offered free subscriptions to healthcare workers since the beginning of the pandemic, so let your team members know.)
The benefits of meditation are limitless for surgeons, physical therapists, veterinarians, and other team members in your practice:
- Controls stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Promotes self-awareness
- Increases attention span
- Improves emotional health
Did you know that stress is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism in your healthcare practice? By tracking attendance and time-keeping, you can provide support to stressed-out team members and improve productivity. Learn about HR for Health's powerful HR management solutions designed for healthcare practices like yours.
3. Encourage Exercise and Good Nutrition
Exercise and proper nutrition can reduce stress levels among team members in your practice. Research shows that regular exercise can:
- Enhance mood
- Increase self-confidence
- Promote relaxation
- Lower symptoms of anxiety and mild depression
- Improve sleep
While team members might not feel comfortable going to the gym right now, taking the dog for a walk or jogging in the park can reduce stress symptoms.
Proper nutrition also plays a part in stress regulation. A healthy diet might counter stress by lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system.
Pro tip: Regular performance reviews help you identify the signs of stress and burnout in your team members. Optimize these reviews with performance and task management tools from HR for Health, the No.1 HR management platform for office managers and HR professionals in the healthcare space. Discover more here.
|Recommended reading: 7 of Today's Common HR Challenges and How to Handle Them|
4. Look Away from Your Screen (But Not Until You've Finished Reading This Blog)
Whether at home or at your practice, staring at a computer screen all day can affect the brain, increase anxiety, and impact overall health. The glare from your screen stresses the visual system and musculature in the head as well as aggravating the eyes, neck, and shoulder areas.
WebMD recommends something called the 20-20-20 rule, where you look away from your screen every 20 minutes and gaze at something else 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Computer-dependent office managers and administrative employees, in particular, might struggle with this rule, but practicing it could reduce stress levels considerably.
Did you know that you can include resources for team members at risk of stress and burnout in your employee handbook? Create a handbook for team members in your practice here. Or check out more HR tips here.
Working in a healthcare practice can be stressful at the best of times, but the pandemic is making things worse. Follow the tips above and share them with team members like doctors, nurses, surgeons, and dentists for better mental well-being in your practice.
HR for Health's suite of HR management solutions will make your practice far less stressful. Benefit from one-click payroll, document verification, e-signature tools, performance and tracking tools, and employee handbooks. Click here to learn more.