This is the second in our series on case manager stress relief. In our first post, we talked about the physical things you can do daily to relieve stress. Today we'll talk about the mental ways to find case manager stress relief.
Day in and day out case managers deal with an overwhelming amount of stress, often neglecting to find the time to provide themselves with adequate stress relief. The needs of the client are the most important thing in your world and we completely understand why, but you should also know that relieving stress is vital for your mental health.
Watch Out for Burnout
One of the most common mental health impacts of stress can be burnout. While burnout can manifest in physical ways, the symptoms tend to be more of the emotional variety. Someone who is feeling burned out will usually experience a degree of the following symptoms:
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Cynicism and detachment
- Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
Accompanying these symptoms could be:
- Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of enjoyment
- Increased irritability
- Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
- Lack of productivity and poor performance
Fortunately, mental stress and burnout can be handled in healthy, effective ways. While we know it may be difficult, learn how to say no, especially when it come to taking on new commitments or responsibilities. Saying no is an excellent way to start giving your brain a break. You can also try out mental exercises like guided imagery, deep breathing and meditation - focus on the positive, while reframing the negative thoughts into positive ones.
Give Your Brain a Break
Another case manager stress relief approach you can take towards giving your brain the break it deserves is to simply go outside and connect with nature. The University of Michigan found that after only an hour of connecting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20%. So for your next lunch break or 15 minute brain break, try to find a spot outside to go sit and just enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
Automate or Delegate
Also, look for tasks you can automate or move on to others in your team. Having the right case management software can organize and automate some of your workload. This gives you more time with your clients and less stressing about paperwork and ancillary tasks. Offloading some of these tasks to fellow team members will lessen your load as well.
Leave Work at Work
As hard as it may be, one of the best ways to give your mind a break is to not take work home with you. We know how hard that can be for case managers, so if it’s not entirely possible to leave work in the confines of work hours, be sure you’re utilizing some of the ideas and exercises above to help keep your mind fresh.
Wanting to put the clients and organization first is an admirable trait, but we want to be sure that you’re also looking out for your own health and needs. Dedicate some time and efforts into making sure your own mental health is not suffering from the stressful demands faced daily. After all, taking proper care of yourself helps ensure the clients are getting your very best.