How to…avoid stress at work

Work at an appropriate level  

Working above your level of competency can be stressful. If you feel concerned about a case or procedure, talk to a colleague or trainer.  

Prioritise your workload  

Rank work in order of importance, and delegate to other members of the team where necessary.  

Change your practice  

Many of the roots of stress arise from doctors’ own habits: overbooking patients, starting surgeries late, accepting commitments too soon after surgeries are due to finish and allowing inappropriate interruptions. Higher pressure scores are found in doctors with fast consultation rates than those with slower ones.  

Maintain a good work–life balance  

Be sure to take breaks through the day, even if they are only short ones. Have two hours for yourself, two or three times a week. 

Leave work at work  

Try not to take patients’ problems home with you. If a problem is bothering you when you get home, look it up or deal with it straight away. Then leave it alone. Learn to unwind once you have left work.  

Do not rely on substances  

Avoid negative ways of coping with stress, such as smoking, drinking or compulsive eating, as these will ultimately cause more stress as you try to break the habit. Try to learn a relaxation technique.

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