How many of these do you use to help manage stress?

How many of these do you use to help manage stress?

Can you remember how it felt to be a real patient?

Before learning how to treat patients – before putting these letters after your name:

NP, MD, RN, PA, LCSW, PhD…

How often do these make it in your schedule?

Exercise – jogging, walking, yoga, weights, circuit, bootcamp

Goal Setting – Daily, monthly, yearly, 5-10 year

Community Activities – clubs, Meet-ups, religious activities, time with friends and family

Meditation – using a mobile app, community group, devotional, mindful breathing

Morning Rituals – Follow a particular author or mentor’s guidance (Jack Hanley, Hal Elrod, Gary Keller)

Hobbies – reading, cooking, painting, singing

How do you feel when you are stressed out? Getting close to the edge or breaking point?

Do you recognize it? Has your medical or health training helped you? Before, during and after your training have you seen your stress management improve?

Do you think your patients manage their stress well?

Are they stressed?

Do you ask? Do you want to know?

If your patient looked you in the eye and said, “I am stressed out! What can I do?”

Do you have a resource?

Given the volume of self-help books, apps and websites I don’t think we are lacking content.

I think we as a community are lacking guidance.

“Could my chronic pain, nausea, insomnia or irritable bowel be from rare tumors or pathogens utilizing billions of dollars of imaging and diagnostic tests?”

Maybe.

Maybe not.

My challenge to you:

Consider offering stress management advice to your patients.

Try and remember how it felt to be a real patient, before your training, and how great it would be to get some good “life advice” in addition to good therapeutic advice.

Our patients expect us to be experts in our field. They expect us to know our jobs. They should.

They can also expect us to address some baseline stress and anxiety associated with an encounter.

Here is my one page resource – copy, modify, completely change it:

http://orainformatics.com/gaggle/address-my-stress/

 

This is a link of my personal wellness week. How I schedule my days so I feel ready to meet the challenges of the day leaning forward. How I put my health first. Literally first in the day and I invite you to join me.

Putting My Health First

 

 

 

Address my stress

Address my stress

Nice work!

By making it to this page, you have recognized that stress is a part life that can be managed.

You may be surprised at the list below, some are really easy to get started, some are hard, some you may have never thought of.

Many are FREE!

Start from the beginning.

1. Give yourself a break!

You can find 15 seconds today, I know you can.

15 SECONDS! to turn off your phone, be away from friends and family, TV and any distraction. This can be in your car, bathroom, or where ever you can be alone. Take 3-4 DEEP breaths and feel rewarded with 15 seconds of time for yourself.

2. Once you complete that first step you can move to some great resources.

If you aren’t ready to commit time to these now, that is OK, but keep trying to give yourself 15 seconds per day and when you are ready, these will be there for you.

Pick one below and try it for a few days:

Find a new group to join: MeetUp.com – there are groups for everything

Exercise each day: walk, jog, push ups in your living room, get moving

Dust off an old hobby or find a new one: cooking, painting, gardening

Find a breathing or meditation app for your phone: Headspace, 5min Relax, try a few

Buy a book on Amazon: Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, Success Principles by Jack Hanfield

Set an important goal this week: What would you like to accomplish? You can do it!

These are great resources as well:

This article from Helpguide.org helps you identify your stressors and offers great stress management techniques: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

Here is another article with a very thorough rundown of 123 Ways to Reduce Stress: https://healthgrinder.com/ways-to-reduce-stress/

Eating to relieve stress? Turns out there’s a science to it, after all! This handy guide from PositiveHealthWellness.com gives a list of stress-busting foods and why they help prevent or help your body deal with the damaging effects of stress:

The Ultimate List of Stress Relieving Foods

Once you see and feel the difference, you will add more and more the the list above and make it part of your day!

More resources here:

Resources

Wellness Week – How I put my health first

Every weekday for the past 7 months I have adopted this schedule.

Full disclosure, I was already pretty physically fit but I wanted to balance my life. I wanted to face stresses at work with calmness without being perceived as aloof. I wanted to lead my team without being pushy. I wanted my weekends to be fun and my nights restful with 6-8 hours of continued sleep.

My Daily Plan

5:00 Wake up

Brush my teeth, large glass of water, bathroom use as needed

Quiet breathing exercises – using mostly “5MinRelax” iPhone app, but I mix it up.

A few last slow breaths with my 6 words to focus on for the day: Patience, specific, ambitious, etc

I review my goals for the next 3-6 months in different areas: work, family, fun, health, contributions, etc

I repeat 3-4 affirmations based on those goals

Gratitude Journal (I use Evernote, a note for each day, which includes the above goals and affirmations)

Protein bar and caffein (I am not a coffee drinker, but I have my personal preferred drink)

Reading, usually a business book. I recently read Delivering Happiness, which was great.

Exercise – Tue, Thu, Sat Run 6 miles

Mon, Wed, Fri – weight circuit training in my home – two 20 pound dumbbells and a yoga mat

7:00             Leave for work

—– Real life happens —–

8:00 pm      No more bright screens – No computer, iPhone or iPad

8:45 pm        Review Gratitude Journal from the am, floss, brush teeth and remaining bathroom ritual

9:00 pm        In bed reading with Kindle (Easier on my eyes then iPad). Only fiction or other pleasure reading.

9:30               Sleeping, at the latest.

A few other notes: I personally have a salad or sandwich for lunch and a large salad for dinner Monday through Friday. On the weekends I make reasonable choices but make exceptions if I am at a football game or out with friends, for example.

In choosing to to plan meaningful time for myself, I feel better.

What is more important than that?

 

References:

The Success Principles(TM) – 10th Anniversary Edition: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) (The Miracle Morning Book Series 1)

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

 

Dr. Vachon
Dr. Vachon