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5 Ways for Medical Professionals to Manage Stress and Anxiety at Work

Generalized anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans who are 18 and older. Although anxiety can occur anywhere, it’s especially common at work.  One survey, conducted by the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), found that work-related anxiety affects: 
  • Job performance
  • Relationships with coworkers and peers
  • Quality of work
  • Relationships with management
Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that more than 70% of people with work-related anxiety experience symptoms that spill into their personal lives.   To truly get a handle on job-related stress and anxiety, you need to approach your day strategically. Here’s a list of 5 tips for doing just that. 

1. Schedule a time to sit down with your manager.

The feelings that work-related stress and anxiety trigger are real. It’s important you listen to them instead of trying to ignore them or stuff them down.  One of the most effective things you can do is schedule a meeting with your direct supervisor. During your meeting, explain that you’ve been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and describe how it affects your life. You don’t have to over-explain, but some basic background information can go a long way in helping your boss understand your needs.  Honesty is always the best policy and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects anyone with an anxiety disorder from workplace discrimination.  

2. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle.

There’s no cure for anxiety disorders, but it’s possible to minimize their symptoms by living a healthy lifestyle.  Set yourself up for success by treating your body well. If you’re unsure where to begin, try: 
  • Eating three nutritious meals per day
  • Drinking at least eight, 8 oz. glasses of water
  • Exercising for 30 minutes three to four times per week
  • Getting between seven and eight hours of sleep each night
In addition, visit your primary care physician at least once a year for an annual checkup. By undergoing a physical exam and blood work every 12 months, it’s possible to detect and treat potentially serious health problems before they get out of hand. 

3. Create a to-do list every morning.

Do you wake up in the morning overwhelmed with everything you need to get done? Is every moment of your free time spent worrying about things at the office? It’s important to remember that you’re human, just like everyone else. Even the best employees need time to get things done. 

If you’re tired of dealing with ruminating thoughts, set aside 10 minutes in the morning to write everything down. By converting your thoughts into actual notes on a piece of paper, you can get them out of your mind. Plus, a list gives you structure. As you get things done, you can cross items off and feel like you’re making progress throughout the day. 

4. Stick to your designated breaks.

If you experience workplace anxiety, you might be tempted to skip breaks or lunch. Dedicating your break times to work may increase productivity, but it can also lead to burnout. Instead of trying to do more, get up and move around. Just 5-10 minutes away from your desk can provide the energy needed to get through the day. 

What’s more, taking breaks is good for your health. Getting outside in the fresh air eases muscle tension and lowers your blood pressure. Exposure to sunlight is thought to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase the production of endorphins, which promote happiness.  

5. Make yourself comfortable.

What does your workspace look like? Is it dark and cold or bright and inviting? Believe it or not, the aesthetics of your office can significantly impact your mood and productivity.  If you have a work area to call your own, make it as comfortable as possible. For example, you could hang up pictures of your friends and family or frame a few motivational quotes. You might also want to listen to music you enjoy if it’s allowed and doesn’t bother others. When your office is welcoming and decked out with things that make you happy, it’s much easier to spend time there.  

These are just a few of the things you can do to manage stress and anxiety at work. If you have any recommendations you’d add to this list, please sign in and submit a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Ways for Medical Professionals to Manage Stress and Anxiety at Work
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.