The medical fraternity has seen a sharp incline in the deterioration of their mental health specifically in areas like stress, anxiety, depression, substance disorder and burn-out. The main causal factors for the surge in rates are extensive working hours, poor prognosis of patients, argumentative interactions and interpersonal interactions with colleagues.
Due to its high pressure, doctors and healthcare workers tend to experience high levels of burn-out and occupational stress but tackling the emotional exhaustion can improve enthusiasm for work, feel hopeful and successful. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Shamantha K, Counselling Psychologist at Fortis Hospitals on Bangalore's Cunningham Road, shared some of the ways doctors and healthcare workers can de-stress:
1. Meditation along with physical exercise- to improve the mind and body’s resilience
2. Rest and leisure- quality sleep, frequent power naps, breathing exercises, yoga, and so on
3. Practice mindfulness
4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
6. Indulging in various therapies like music, art, movement, aroma, or animals
7. Journaling gratitude, stress levels and emotions
8. De-cluttering physical spaces
9. Having good work relations
10. Refraining from substance use of any kind
Asserting that doctors and healthcare workers are known to be overworked, sleep deprived and stressed due to the type of dedication and efforts expected from them in their profession, Dr Shradha Shejekar, MBBS, MD, Psychiatry at Altius Hospitals, said, “Ironically, doctors always advice their patients to avoid stress and modify lifestyle to be stress free but find it difficult to implement the same in their own lives due to the busy routine they have but unfortunately, doctors are also humans and stress does not spare anyone. Hence it is wise to accommodate certain changes in daily schedule to beat the stress and bounce back.”
These lifestyle modifications include:
1. Maintain fixed working hours as much as possible.
2. Plan the weekend in advance schedule at least one outing/fun activity to look forward to every weekend as a reward for the intense work over the week.
3. Avoid too much of caffeine-Stick to 1-2 cup per day if required.
4. Even during OPD, take a break of 5-10minutes every 1-2 hours to stretch, walk around, drink some water, look outside the window, and breathe fresh air.
5. Sleep well even if you have night shifts. This will surely cut down the jitteriness, headache and make your brain active.
6. Practice Yoga, breathing exercise before you begin your day. This calms down anxiety helps in planning better and opens the mind.
7. Try to listen to favourite soothing songs when free at work place music can be a great relaxant.
8. Incorporate colourful posters, flowers, aroma in OPD and good ventilation to keep your energy levels up all the day.
9. Maintain boundaries with respect to time avoid sharing personal contact information unless absolutely required and let the patient also be aware about your working hours. In the meanwhile, let them know about alternative help in emergency if you are not working.
10. Make sure you have family time every day for at least 1-2hours to share the day with them and also have a conversation, because talking is ventilating and ventilation makes you breathe easy and feel relaxed.