The signs of stress are easy to spot. It’s the solutions that can be hard to come by.
If you are just & only focused on your clinic and you’ve stopped exercising, can’t sleep and are eating poorly, you’re heading down a road that could lead burn out. And if you’re far enough along this destructive path that you’ve abandoned your hobbies and interests, can’t find time for friends or family and are obsessed with the clinic day and night, you may actually need an outside intervention.
It’s best to recognize the early warning signs and address them before someone else does. Here are 5 of the 10 common signs you’re under too much stress – and suggestions for what to do about it.
1) You’re chained to your clinic and patients. If you think the universe depends on you, you’re headed for a high-stress breakdown. Hire people who will do a better job than you ever could, and then celebrate their successes, get out of their way and recharge your batteries regularly.
2) You can’t play nice. A demanding attitude rarely reduces stress, so if you find yourself berating reception staff, etc. make a habit of taking an extra minute during every interaction to thank them – and be specific, if possible. In trying to cheer up those who are doing tough jobs, you might also boost your own spirits.
3) Your mind races in circles. You think the root of your stress is that you spend all of your time in a state of intense focus. But really, most people under stress are re-ploughing the same field over and over. They confuse this obsessing with focus, but it’s really the opposite. Problems typically get simpler as you work your way through them, so make sure your solutions involve reducing complexity. Then work on execution in bite-sized pieces that are less demanding than the larger initial problem. When your stress is under control, focus will come more easily.
4) Your favourite phrase is “you’ve got mail.” Email may have become a mindless stress reliever for you; but like most things, it’s a two-edged sword. If you’re disciplined, it’s a time-saver. But if your use of it goes unchecked, it morphs into a constant interrupter, a pestering reminder of all you’re having a hard time responding to. So turn off your email – for hours at a time –and work on developing the discipline to check in on a regular schedule and not more frequently.
5) You wallow in self-pity. If you find yourself feeling under-appreciated, change your surroundings – or, at a minimum, change your attitude. Replace self-pity with gratitude, or better yet, find a way to serve those less fortunate than you. In the process, you’ll discover you have a lot to be grateful for, and you’ll be surprised at how transformative that realization can be.