Everyone knows the medical field is one of the most stressful job fields to be in. Medical professionals are paid to save lives for a living; the expectation to always be at your best for your patients is taxing. Dealing with family members, feeling like you are not in control of your work environment or just the cases you observe can all play a role in the amount of pressure you feel. We have put together a list of a few things you can do to de-stress when you get off work.
#1 Work it Out
The first way to de-stress is working out the stress. There are many benefits of physical exercise other than just improving physical well-being. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can also reduce stress. Studies have shown that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has drained your energy or ability to concentrate.
When stress affects the brain, with all its nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Naturally if your body feels better, so will your mind. Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. There are many benefits to working out; add de-stressing to the list.
#2 Take a Walk
While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins (which in turn, reduces stress hormones), consider walking in a park or by a body of water, which can put your body into a state of meditation. Take it up a notch and bring a yoga mat so if you find a good spot you can do yoga there.
#3 Put Music On
While classical music has a notably soothing effect — it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and can even decrease levels of stress hormones — any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals (like dopamine).
And, while music can soothe everyday anxiety (crank it up on the drive home!), research shows that it’s remarkably beneficial for those in the midst of stressful events, like surgery.
Don’t have your headphones nearby? Try humming or making your own music. One study of stressed-out nursing students found that recreational music-making relieved stress and prevented burnout.
#4 Treat Yourself to a Treat
Eating or drinking something sweet is satisfying because it starts the production of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid (which helps explain why we find ourselves staring down the jar of cookies when things don’t go right). While not an excuse to unleash your emotional eating on the hospital vending machine, a Reese’s pieces, peppermint candy or other reasonably-sized treat can help.
Try some of these techniques next time you feel at your breaking point and need to de-stress a little.