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Help! I'm Stressed.

Updated: Feb 26



Stress shouldn’t be a badge of honor, but in the healthcare industry, it’s become a

rite of passage among medical practitioners. Does it have to be this way?

Did you know that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shocking 92% of nurses

experienced moderate to very high levels of stress? They reported that stress led

them to adopt unhealthy habits such as poor eating habits, lack of sleep, binge

drinking, lack of regular exercise, and overconsumption of junk food.

Unfortunately, high stress levels don't just affect nurses, but all medical practitioners.

In fact, according to Frontiers in Public Health, frontline health workers tend to

experience moderate to moderately severe depression, have higher perceived stress

levels than the general population, and often report much poorer mental health

compared to the average person. It's really unfortunate that so many health workers even consider leaving the industry altogether because of stress and burnout.

What can be done to change this?


Strategies for Decreasing Workplace Stress

We all know that it would be impossible to completely remove stress from the

working life of people within the medical field. So, it’s extremely important that they (YOU) are provided with ways to cope with work-related stress in a healthy way. The following are some ways to manage workplace stress.



Aromatherapy

I know what you’re wondering: how can aromatherapy reduce stress? Im glad you asked! Aromatherapy is a natural, holistic practice that has been used for centuries to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Healthcare providers can enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy by including essential oils as part of their daily routines.


Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and luckily for healthcare workers,

rosemary is known to reduce cortisol levels. In turn, this can help relieve anxiety and

stress. Lavender, on the other hand, provides a calming effect and can help lower

blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and improve your mood. The sharp, fresh

fragrance of peppermint is excellent at lowering stress levels and providing an

energy boost.


If you’re new to aromatherapy, you might feel unsure of how to use these oils. Here

are four examples of how healthcare providers can use essential oils to reduce

stress:

● Diffuse essential oils in the home or workspace

● Use essential oils for a calming self-massage

● Take a relaxing bath with a few drops of essential oils in the evening

● Spray essential oils around the home or workspace



Take Breaks and Prioritize Self-Care

The most common trend among healthcare workers is their long working hours. Of

course, as a medical professional, looking after your patients is important, but what

about you? It’s time for healthcare workers to adopt airplane rules and put their own

oxygen masks on first.


Taking breaks and prioritizing self-care can significantly reduce stress levels. The

following are three ways healthcare workers can improve well-being:

● Make your health a priority by taking care of your basic needs, like getting

enough sleep, eating well, and staying hydrated.

● Practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises,

progressive muscle relaxation, and journaling.

● Communicate with your leaders if you find your hours to be unmanageable

and could lead to burnout.


Though stress has become an unfortunate reality for many health workers, by

adopting healthy coping mechanisms, healthcare providers can take steps toward

reducing work-related stress and improving their overall wellness.

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