Those who work in nonprofit or government agencies deal with high levels of stress daily. It can affect both your job and your home life. Unfortunately, case manager stress relief is something that is rarely put into practice.
With a seemingly never-ending workload, it is easy for case managers to overlook their own needs and remain solely focused on the needs of the clients. Still, it is vital to learn effective and healthy forms of case manager stress relief so burnout and potentially serious health issues can be avoided. Remember, stress is inevitable, especially in a case manager’s world, but burnout doesn’t have to be.
Stress vs. Burnout
Symptoms of stress can include difficulty sleeping, weight gain or weight loss, stomach pain, headaches, difficulty concentrating, social isolation and irritability. Stress is also commonly referred to as the “silent killer” since it can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain and irregular heartbeat. Burnout is the result of the accumulation of excessive stressors that ultimately lead to unmanageable stress levels. Basically, when you reach the point of no longer being able to cope, burnout has happened.
Working Stress Relief into Your Daily Routine
So how do you successfully work stress relief into your daily routine? First you must understand and identify your stress sources. When you know what the stressors in your life look like, it will be easier to combat with a stress relief routine. Do you know what your stress signals are? Take note of your body’s alarms, like headaches or stomach pains.
Once stressors, sources and signals have been identified, you can then successfully deal with the situation by either changing it or changing your reaction:
- Avoid or alter the stressor
- Adapt to or accept the stressor
Physical Ways to Enhance Case Manager Stress Relief
Here are a few healthy ways case manager stress relief can be worked into everyday life:
- Practice breathing exercises. If feeling overwhelmed by stress, sit and close your eyes then take a deep breath that fills your lungs completely and exhale until they are empty. Repeat this process five times.
- Take a five-minute walk. Getting up and removing yourself from the stressful situation, even if temporarily, can be highly beneficial. Take a quick walk to help clear your head, and if possible, take that walk outdoors.
- Exercise daily. Fitting exercise into a busy schedule can be difficult but try to implement at least a 30-minute workout each day. You could go for a brisk walk, practice yoga, do a workout DVD or even stretching exercises. Whatever you choose to do, just remember that it is helping keep your body healthy and releasing endorphins, which can help you feel better overall.
- Eat right. When you are stressed, you tend forget to eat well and resort to sugary or fatty snacks. Plan ahead and have fruits and vegetables on hand for snacking at work. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce stress symptoms. So a tuna fish sandwich or salmon are healthy stress relieving food choices.
Remember, it’s easy to push aside your needs while placing a higher value on those of the clients. Case manager stress relief is something that should not be ignored, as your health and overall well-being is vital in being able to successfully care for others.