In order to provide the best possible care to a patient, an optician or ophthalmologist must first care for themselves and manage their stress so that they can stay focused and on task in order to handle the needs of their patients in a friendly, welcoming, and attentive manner.
The stress of a workplace can bleed into every aspect the workday, often leading to irritability and compromised productivity. Stress, especially chronic stress, can cost you more than patients. It can also cost you in your own health and medical bills, not to mention your quality of life. But working as a highly skilled and expertly focused healthcare provider in a clinic that is a bustling, complex business can often generate these stressful situations.So how do we manage stress in a job that seems to demand it? Having a plan can help.
1. Realize You Are Not Perfect
Healthcare providers are held to almost impossibly high standards, and are often perfectionists themselves. But mistakes happen, and being gentle with yourself is a large part of limiting stress. When something goes wrong, acknowledge it and do your best to resolve any issues it may have caused to you, your staff, or your patients. Then make a clear plan for yourself so that you can prevent the situation in the future. After you have a plan, let it go and move on.
2. Track Your Triggers
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling stressed without a clear understanding of how we ended up so on edge in the first place. One of the best ways to prevent an issue is to identify it and learn how to avoid it in the future. Take a month and keep a journal, writing down the specific events that cause you stress. At the end of the month, reflect on your list and see what you can do to address those stressors. Perhaps you can reconstruct or streamline a clinic process, perhaps it’s time revisit procedures with staff members, or maybe you just need to find a way to get more ‘me time’ into your schedule.
3. Take Time to Focus on Yourself
As an optician or ophthalmologist, your job revolves around focusing on others. With so much practice on this type of focus, it can be difficult to shift it inwardly, if even for short amounts of time. But taking time for yourself is one of the most important de-stressors we have at our disposal. Exercise, a healthy diet, good sleep, and downtime are not just lackadaisical suggestions. They are instead critical components of a healthy body and a healthy mind. Make time for hobbies, your family and friends, sports, healthy meal planning, and to just relax.
4. Set Boundaries
If you find that all of your free time naturally fills itself with work requirements throughout the week, try scheduling it on your calendar. Set boundaries for when you are and are not available, and stick to them. Oftentimes you are only as essential as you make yourself, and teaching your business to run while you are not there is important not just for your health, but to safeguard the clinic in the event that you become injured or ill.
You owe it to yourself and your clinic to be able to put your best foot forward when you are on the clock by taking good care of yourself when you are off. By implementing boundaries, taking full advantage of your free time, tracking your stressors, and bouncing back from your mistakes, you can help manage the stressful environment of a flourishing clinic and thrive along with it.