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FUN-Damental Holiday Stress Busters
By Sherri Issa
Although anyone in any profession
can experience increased stress during the holidays,
healthcare professionals are especially vulnerable. They
tend to be obsessed by a need to contribute to life
through their career dedication.
They have to deal not only with a variety of clients and
their loved ones, but also with other stressed-out
colleagues. Many of these overburdened and often
under-appreciated professionals give 110 percent to
their careers. Consequently, they lose their creative
edge, grow cynical more quickly, burn out faster, and
spend just as many holiday working hours pouting than
producing. The following strategies may help alleviate
some of the tightening up that Care Professionals
experience during the holiday season.
If you are anything like I am you will probably try all
of these approaches at once in order to have them
perfected by the holidays. I advise against such
obsession. Such a fanatical approach to lightening up
more often leads to tightening up.
Think of the world as a wonderful playground - a giant
park full of characters, fantasies, dreams, and love.
Learn to play on that playground, to play so hard you
lose all sense of time. Many Care Professionals do not
really know what it means to play. They willingly agree
often making statements such as, “I play hard and work
hard!” However, they do not understand that play is not
supposed to be hard, that is why it is called play.
Playing means having fun. Each person has to define what
play means for themselves. But, if you have to work at
it, you need to evaluate how you look at play. Play
means spending time inside your body, breathing oxygen,
and laughing aloud. Adults who know how to play enjoy
“belly laughs.” They know adult play can be as exciting
as playing good Hide-and-Go-Seek when you were a kid.
Trust me, there is nothing like a good belly laugh to
get the endorphins working.
Sure it sounds scary to do nothing, especially during
the holiday season. Many of you have “tried” to meditate
or “do nothing” but became over-involved in the trying
part. The little voices in your head bombard you with
daily stress, and focus your attention on holiday
demands. It is not easy to learn to do nothing or to
meditate and often it feels so selfish. However,
persistence pays off. Start with sixty seconds a day to
be truly alone, Take one full minute to deeply
communicate with yourself. After a while, this
“centering” time can be expanded to three or four
minutes to connect with your spirit. We all have a safe
place inside ourselves, where our spirit is at rest.
Learning to just sit with our feelings can have a
profound and comforting effect on our lives.
DURING THE HOLIDAYS, QUIT BEING A WORKAHOLIC
There is nothing wrong with career dedication or working
through the holidays. What does bother me is losing
perspective by placing too much emphasis on work. It is
too easy to find yourself out of balance that way. Don’t
subscribe to myths such as fun and silliness preclude
seriousness, and that somehow, humor is unprofessional.
There is a great deal of wisdom in the expression “dead
serious.” So take a little time to be silly, you may
find you enjoy it and live a bit better.
STRETCH OUT - TO OTHERS
Stretching out to others goes beyond just reaching out.
It means delegating and cooperating. It means asking
loved ones to reach out, to include you. It means
asking colleagues and bosses for conversations,
laughter, and direction. Stretch yourself to make more
room for love. Practice stretching yourself by
listening, negotiating, and sharing yourself. It will
make you flexible and squash your stress. Watch yourself
stretch to new heights! In the ever-changing field of
healthcare, failure to practice stress reduction in the
workplace undermines productivity, creativity,
adaptability. It literally leads to career suicide
(often referred to as burnout.)