Stress management is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy life. As long-term, untreated stress can impact your health considerably. Low energy, headaches, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system, but also depression, obesity or heart disease are some of the symptoms that can occur when you don’t identify and react to stressors. Whether you are trying to cope with stress at work as a radiologist or with stress in your personal life, we have eight self-care tips to help you manage stressful situations.
📖 Author: Sandra Dietrich | OpenRad team
Stress can act as a motivator to focus better, to improve your performance in the moment or to work harder. It can also help you face challenges and avoid dangerous situations. It’s a normal reaction of your body. However, constant stress, alertness and high performance need to be balanced with times of rest, relaxation and doing things you enjoy and love. If you are experiencing long-term stress and stressors, your body will eventually show health deficiencies, such as back pain, heart disease, hypertension, and headaches. While stressors are unique to each of us, sources of stress in radiology include low salaries, haste, lack of sufficient data about patients, competition for talent, doing more with less, and fear of misdiagnosis.
Stress management: 8 ideas to get you started
Do you feel stressed and your body is sending signals telling you that something is not going the way it should be? The first step to manage stress is to identify your individual stressors. What is it that gets your body and mind out of balance? Is it work overload, deadlines, working on the weekends, worrying too much, or maybe the fear of making a mistake, for instance a misdiagnosis? Start identifying the situations that create stress for you. Our recommendation: Keep a journal to keep track of stressful situations. This can be a good way to identify stress patterns and repeating stressors. Once you’ve identified your stressors, try the following things to handle stressful situations:
- Eat healthy: Treat your body well. If your body is strong, you will feel strong and prepared to face stressful situations. Consume healthy food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid eating junk food. Moreover, eat regularly and if you can, arrange meal dates with your family and friends. You can talk to them to ease your troubles and to get a different view on your situation.
- Stay active: In addition to eating healthy, exercising is also a good way to keep your body fit and in shape. If you exercise regularly, you will feel stronger and healthier and consequently more resistant to stress. You could try yoga, power walking or simple workout programmes at home or courses at the gym. However, going for walks or riding your bike to work is also very effective. Treat your body nicely and take good care of it.
- Slow down: Just as you should be active, you should also take time to rest. Slow down regularly. You could try meditation and maybe also take a look into mindfulness as this might help ease mental stress. Just take time to connect to yourself, to calm down and to feel at peace with yourself.
- Do things you love: Everyone has something they love to do. Reading, listening to podcasts, cooking, being creative. Whatever it is, make enough room for the things you enjoy. It is important to have positive and enjoyable things you look foward to every day. Make a routine of doing what you love every day.
- Be positive: Doing enjoyable things is a good start. Try to push it a bit further and start to see the good and amazing things in your life. Also, hook up with positive-minded people. Stay connected with people who make you feel good. Surround yourself with positive energy. A positive mind will be less vulnerable.
- Find quick fixes: Do you feel the stress coming or are you in the middle of a stressful period? Instead of panicking or resigning, do something about it. Find personal quick fixes to use in stressful situations. These can be breathing exercises (for instance breathing in for 2 seconds, holding your breath for 2 seconds and then breathing out for 4 seconds), listening to your favourite music, squeezing a stress ball/doing hand exercises, or simply getting out of the situation. Leave the room, go for a walk, or call someone who knows about your troubles. Also, try to apply the 10-10-10 emergency rule. What will I think about the situation in 10 minutes – 10 weeks – 10 months? This can help to rejudge a situation and reduce the stress burden you are feeling at the moment.
- Feel empowered: Learn from others. What is their approach to stress management? Talk to friends and co-workers. Furthermore, listen to podcasts or find apps to guide you through stress management. Take control and please remember that stress may not be avoided, but you can choose and learn how to react to it. However, if you feel that you cannot manage your stress level and feel overwhelmed, please seek professional help!
- Mix on-site & remote work–if possible & good for you: Have you ever thought about mixing on-site and remote work? If your company and your personal work situation allow for it, why not trying it out? That way you can combine the advantages of both worlds: personal contacts to co-workers and in-person meetings on the one side—more efficiency through advanced technology and more control over personal time on the other. This might help reduce burnout and stress and contribute to effective stress management.
Are there any stress management tips you would like to add? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.
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