We all experience stress, and stress is likely one of the leading topics that you speak about with your clients on a daily basis. With November 2nd being Stress Awareness Day, it’s a good time for us all to reflect on the role that stress plays in not only our clients’ lives, but in our own.
Stress Awareness Day was established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help provide strategies on how to address and manage stress.
Therapists, psychotherapists, and social workers understand that stress is a natural bodily reaction to the challenges that we face, but that doesn’t result in our own immunity to stress. There are times when even the most balanced professional can feel off kilter under the demands of a busy practice. This is an ideal opportunity to look at own situations and break down the stressors that we encounter in practice management.
4 Tips for Managing Stress
1. Take Charge of your Schedule
As you probably tell your clients, working more hours does not make you more productive. Working more can just cause more stress, and when you’re working under pressure, you can be less productive.
Have you heard about Sweden’s 6-Hour Work Day? The idea behind this social experiment is that humans can actually accomplish the same amount of work in six hours as they would in nine and be healthier and happier as a result. What a novel concept!
Here in Canada, we might not be able to whittle our schedules down to just six hours, but taking control of the time we spend working is a step in the right direction. Productivity is at its highest when we feel focused and balanced. Taking breaks throughout the day and leaving work at an appropriate hour will make you more effective when you do sit down to work.
When you’re not working, spend time with the people in your life who matter most. Rest, and make sure to prioritize time for taking care of your physical and mental well-being. It’s so important to your work/life balance.
2. Make Exercise, Eating Well, and a Good Night’s Sleep a Priority
We all recognize the importance of the eat-sleep-move trilogy, but we too often let bad habits interfere with our health. Part of learning to manage your schedule to reduce stress is learning to prioritize time in your day to take healthy walks outdoors, prepare wholesome meals, and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
3. Take Action
Learn to act rather than waiting to react. Much of the stress that we experience is triggered because we feel out of control in some way. When you identify what aspects of a situation are causing you to feel that way, you can find areas within the situation where it’s possible to take action.
Are you overwhelmed by paperwork? Are the petty details of managing your calendar taking up too much of your precious time? How are all of the e-mails, phone calls, and appointments making you feel?
Give your attention to one component of these stress-triggers at a time. Find active ways to problem solve each stressor so that you can take control.
When it comes to the organization of your Canadian practice, many therapists, psychotherapists, and social workers across the country are finding Owl Practice to be a helpful, streamlined solution to their daily practice administration.
4. Take Control of Interruptions and Distractions
Whether it’s email and phone calls or the distraction of social media and technology, it can be very hard to stay focused. These distractions and interruptions exist, but you don’t have to succumb to them. You can take steps to either eliminate or block out some distractions, and choose how to respond to others.
In many cases, you can group tasks and create structure around the way that you choose to spend your time, focusing on one task at a time to increase your efficiency and reduce stress. Choose to check email only at certain times of the day. Let the phone ring to voicemail, or better yet, turn off the ringer so that you don’t hear the interruption. Then, choose specific times of the day to return phone messages in groups.
In other cases, you might not be able to control the interruptions, but you can control the way that you respond. Be present and focused. Start by keeping a notepad beside your desk. Whenever you’re interrupted, make a note. If you suddenly become distracted by an idea, write it down to get it off your mind, and then return to the task at hand. You can return to that idea at a more convenient time. If there are people who interrupt you, tell them politely but firmly that you’re not available at the moment but that you’ll follow up with them at a more convenient time. Don’t be pulled away from your tasks. Make a note, respond, and follow up later.
Identify and Act on your Stressors
Stress Awareness Day is a reminder for us to remove or implement ways to manage the stress in our lives. What is causing your stress? Find ways to take control of your stressors before they accumulate and result in health problems.
We believe in finding easier ways to manage your practice. An organized workspace is one of the primary benefits of transitioning your practice management to Owl Practice, and will certainly help to make your work environment less stressful. It’s our goal to find solutions that will allow therapists, psychologists, and social workers to spend more time focused on clients while at the office, and less time thinking about your practice when away from the office.
With features like Calendar Management, Secure Client Data, Clinical Progress Notes, Workflow Management, and Invoicing, we’re striving to make your job as a therapist easier so that you can focus more in the moment without the distraction of inefficient administrative work. Click here to start your free trial today, and we hope that your Stress Awareness Day is as mindful and restive as possible.