The medical fraternity has seen a strong trend of deteriorating mental health, especially in areas such as stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorders, and burnout. The main causative factors for soaring rates are long working hours, poor patient prognosis, argumentative interactions, and interpersonal interactions with colleagues.
Due to its high pressure, doctors and healthcare workers tend to experience high levels of burnout and job stress, but tackling emotional exhaustion can improve enthusiasm for work, give hope and success. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Shamantha K, Consulting Psychologist at Fortis Hospitals on Cunningham Road in Bangalore, shared some of the ways doctors and healthcare workers can relax:
1. Meditation with physical exercise – to improve the resilience of mind and body
2. Rest and recreation – quality sleep, frequent naps, breathing exercises, yoga, etc.
3. Practice mindfulness
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
6. Engage in various therapies like music, art, movement, aromas or animals
7. Journaling Gratitude, Stress Levels, and Emotions
8. Declutter Physical Spaces
9. Have good working relationships
10. Refrain from consuming substances of all kinds
Stating that doctors and healthcare workers are notorious for being overworked, sleep deprived and stressed due to the type of dedication and effort expected of them in their profession, Dr. Shradha Shejekar, MBBS, MD, Psychiatry at Altius Hospitals, said: “Ironically, doctors always advise their patients to avoid stress and change their lifestyle to be stress-free, but find it difficult to implement the same in their own lives. because of the busy routine they have, but unfortunately doctors are human too and the stress is no exception. It is therefore wise to adapt to certain daily schedule changes to beat stress and bounce back.
These lifestyle changes include:
1. Maintain fixed working hours as much as possible.
2. Plan the weekend ahead. Schedule at least one fun outing/activity to look forward to each weekend as a reward for hard work over the week.
3. Avoid too much caffeine – Stick to 1-2 cups a day if needed.
4. Even during OPD, take a 5-10 minute break every 1-2 hours to stretch, walk around, drink water, look out the window, and breathe fresh air.
5. Sleep well even if you have night shifts. It will surely reduce nervousness, headaches and make your brain active.
6. Practice yoga, do breathing exercises before you start your day. It calms anxiety, helps to plan better and opens the mind.
7. Try listening to your favorite soothing songs when you are free at work. Music can be a great relaxant.
8. Incorporate colorful posters, flowers, aromas into OPD and good ventilation to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
9. Maintain time limits, avoid sharing personal contact information unless absolutely necessary, and also inform the patient of your working hours. In the meantime, let them know about alternative emergency help if you’re not working.
10. Make sure you have family time every day for at least 1-2 hours to share the day with them and also have a conversation, because talking is ventilation and ventilation allows you to breathe easily and feel relaxed.