There are few places more stressful than an emergency room (ER). Doctors must quickly deliver appropriate care to patients while remaining calm, cool and collected. So, who better to offer stress-busting tips than ER doctors? We asked ER doctors to share their most effective stress-reducing strategies. Use these six expert-approved tips the next time you're feeling overburdened and anxious.
Count to 10. Seriously. Then make a to-do list.
Multi-tasking and interruptions can be stressful, decreasing the brain’s ability to analyze critical information and increasing the chance of unforced errors. After counting to 10 uninterrupted, refocus on the tasks at hand, prioritize them in a list, and then proceed calmly with your to-do list.
Take a deep breath.
Stop and breathe. Even when patients with medical emergencies are arriving en masse, you still have five seconds. Stop and breathe in deeply two or three times before you jump back in the fray.
Slow down and prioritize your tasks.
With so many interruptions, it's easy to get bogged down and distracted. A to-do list with deadlines can help you feel like you have things under control. Regular exercise is also a great way to help you maintain a clear mind.
Hit the mall.
After a busy, stressful day, drive to the mall or another place you can stop and walk around for relaxation. Walking from store to store and interacting with someone pleasant allows your mind to take a much needed break from whatever is causing stress in your life.
Focus on the big picture and smile.
On stressful, overwhelming days, it’s important to stay focused. Sit back, take a deep breath and smile, because smiling gives perspective on what you are doing. Your attitude and perspective can make those difficult days go by with much more ease.
Adopt simple health habits.
There’s no magic elixir to soothe our decision and physical fatigue, but there are some commonsense approaches you can try like drinking less soda, eating less candy, getting quality sleep and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Accepting the limitations of our bodies and working towards maintaining our health will go a long way to off-loading our mental and physical fatigue.
Practicing these habits and developing your own strategies for combatting stress will ultimately pave the road to a happier and healthier life.