10 Ways to Reduce Stress

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Stress can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health if not properly treatedIn honor of Stress Awareness Month, this blog is dedicated to stressing less and enjoying our personal and professional life a little more! 

At times, each of us has felt overwhelmed and struggled to cope with certain events or pressures in our lives. It’s important not to let daily frustrations lead you to fatigue or burnout in your health care career. What begins as headaches, mood swings, and insomnia could also lead to more intense long-term impacts. Without intervention, anxiety can build and truly damage our physical and psychological wellbeing.  

You’re not alone, and unfortunately, we are not immune to stressHere are ten easy tips you can add to your toolkit when combating stress in your life.   

Top 10 Ways to Melt Stress During Stress Awareness Month 

  1. Exercise

Physical activity reduces stress hormone levels, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins. Make time for yourself to get active. Whether it be walking during your work break, going for a swim, or doing yoga in your spare time, any form of movement can help eliminate that stress and even boost your mood.  

  1. Diet

Healthy foods, specifically whole foods, act as fuel for our bodies and are notorious for decreasing the negative effects of stress. For all coffee drinkers out there, reducing your caffeine intake even by a small amount could be another way to help reduce stress too, as caffeine can elevate your cortisol level. 

  1. Talk about it

Don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling. Simply talking about stress with people who can provide emotional support helps. Friends and family can act as an outlet for you, so opening up to them about issues causing you stress could eventually decrease those stress levels overall.  

  1. Sleep

Sleep is crucial for our well-being. In a recent survey, 21 percent of adults say they feel more stressed when they don’t get enough sleep. Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Even pushing yourself to sleep a half-hour earlier each night can act as a good stepping stone. Many say that their stress levels increase when the length and quality of their sleep decreases. 

  1. Mindfulness and Breathing Techniques

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you look at what you feel and experience objectively, without any outside judgment or interpretation. Being more mindful of your breathing can lower any increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure that stress may have caused.   

  1. Write it down

Putting your feelings down on paper can help you bring attention to your stress and release it. First, describe what is making you stressed. Doing this will help you explore coping options and optimize the outcome of your tense situation. 

  1. Chew gum

Did you know that chewing gum can improve your alertness? Research shows that chewing gum can ease anxiety by 17 percent during mild stress and up to 10 percent during moderate stress.   

  1. Say No. 

Juggling many responsibilities can be overwhelming. It’s essential to be selective about taking on new obligations when you are already feeling pressure or burnoutDon’t be afraid to say “no.” It’s crucial to manage your time and stress cohesively to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

  1. Music

Music can have a profound effect on mood, energy, and emotions. Different types of music can have alternative benefits. If you’re looking to improve your concentration, music with a fast tempo may be a good idea. To help let go of stress and increase relaxation, it would be wise to choose slower tempos. 

  1. Animals

Spending time with animals can decrease cortisol levels to alleviate stress. Interacting with animals can also reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.  

While being a medical professional is inherently a stressful career, adopting new stress management skills will be beneficial to decrease stress and anxiety and allow you to feel more relaxed.

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