Addressing Stress During Prematurity Awareness Month
The last year and a half has been anything but ordinary. While everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, you have carried an unbelievable burden. That’s why this year during Prematurity Awareness Month, we’ve pulled together some strategies and tools to avoid workplace burnout and alleviate stress.
5 Tips to Alleviate Stress
- Practice mindfulness: Pay attention to the sensations of your body and the emotions you experience. It takes only a few seconds to implement mindfulness, and it can be incorporated into your existing activities, such as when washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.
- Find and focus on the positive: Notice small acts of kindness from your colleagues and organizations. Write down what you are grateful for or what went well in your day. In a small pilot study, healthcare professionals who kept a daily log of positive things that happened and the role they played experienced less emotional exhaustion and more happiness when compared to pre-intervention.1
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing: This technique involves inhaling deeply through the nose, pausing, then exhaling slowly and completely through the mouth. Repeat this breathing pattern for approximately 10 minutes. It’s believed that diaphragmatic breathing reduces stress by activating the parasympathetic system, which sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.2
- Maintain healthy habits: Bring in healthy meals and snacks from home and schedule walks outside during your shift. Continue to practice healthy habits outside of work. This includes limiting alcohol use, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
- Seek support: Take advantage of any therapeutic or counseling services offered by your hospital. You can also find these types of services outside of work. Or find a connection by talking with a fellow clinician at another hospital or a good friend who is also a great listener. And if someone asks you how they can help, take them up on the offer and tell them.
1 Sexton JB, Adair KC. Forty-five good things: a prospective pilot study of the Three Good Things well-being intervention in the USA for healthcare worker emotional exhaustion, depression, work-life balance and happiness. BMJ Open. 2019;9(3):e022695. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022695
2 Hopper SI, Murray SL, Ferrara LR, Singleton JK. Effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing for reducing physiological and psychological stress in adults: a quantitative systematic review. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2019;17(9):1855-1876. doi:10.11124/JBISRIR-2017-003848