Medical and dental offices can be busy places, testing the professional resolve of even the most unflappable people. Things that can make work stressful include staff shortages, long hours, overcrowded appointment schedules, and handling irritable or anxious patients. The pressures of the holiday season don’t help.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to manage how office stress affects you even if contributing factors are outside your control. Everyone responds to stress differently, so there’s no one single thing to do to reduce stressors, but here are a few things known to help.
Get your sleep. You may not realize how much good sleep affects your mood and your ability to stay emotionally balanced. When you don’t get good sleep, your irritability and short-temperedness ratchet up, and that’s when things like a testy patient can get to you. Go to bed early when you can because waking up refreshed is an incredible mood enhancer.
Eat well. Heading to the office on a cup of coffee, or drinking too much coffee during the workday can also increase irritability. Start the day with a good breakfast that doesn’t include too much sugar, and don’t skip lunch. Along with good sleep, a well-nourished body handles workplace stress with more emotional stability.
Make exercise a priority. You might think you don’t have time to fit it in, especially if you have a family to balance, but moving your body is another antidote to stress. Exercise is known for boosting moods, increasing energy, and sharpening your focus while at the same time relaxing your mind. If it’s hard to fit in a workout at the beginning or end of the day, try jogging the stairs at your workplace or taking a walk outdoors during your break. “Green” exercise is a proven mood enhancer.
Reframe your thinking. It’s not easy when stressors pile up, but if you can flip your thinking and look for positives, that may help. Negative thinking can drag people down. Ask yourself if the testy patient is anxious or scared (try not to take it personally). Look for upsides and opportunities in work tasks. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done even if no one else does.
Connect with your peers. Cultivating workplace relationships can help reduce stress because having co-workers willing to help out when your plate is full takes the pressure off. And then you can return the favor. This give-and-take builds positive workplace culture. Talking it out with a close co-worker also helps reduce stress.
Ultimately, the only thing we can control is our own response. If you know a fast-moving office culture wears you down, take steps to take care of yourself so you’re better prepared to handle it. Try to decompress in helpful ways when you’re off the clock.
While working in a medical or dental office, like all offices, can have its moments of stress, it can also be incredibly rewarding as you’re helping patients care for their health. To learn more about how a Fortis education can help you enter the medical or dental career fields, please check out our website or reach out by phone at 855-436-7847.