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Lab Life Hack: Identify Your Stress Management Strategies for Busy Days

Jun 26, 2018

Healthcare professionals’ lives are often hectic, making it important to have strategies for staying calm and focused. Check out these ASCP members’ tips on how to improve your daily life, both professionally and personally.

Pathologist

“When I first started practicing on my own, I would definitely get stressed from time to time on particularly busy days, especially when numerous specimens were coming into the frozen room. I have since learned to slow down, take a few deep breaths, relax my shoulders and other tension prone areas, and remember that I do my best work when I am not anxious. I go about the process systematically so that I do the same steps each time in handling every frozen section specimen. I perform the tasks as quickly as I can, but not so fast that it compromises patient care or the most correct diagnosis that can be given at the time. I know I can only do so much at one time and just start chipping away until everything has been completed.”

Amberly Nunez, MD, FASCP

Laboratory Professional

“I am a list maker. My list of tasks helps me to stay on track, with the priority items at the top. Everything else will have to wait. Letting things go gets easier. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I had a mentor who once said to me, ‘Do you hear that?’ I didn’t hear anything. He said, ‘That’s the sound of another deadline passing.’”

Raquel M. Martinez, PhD

Resident

“Right before a call shift starts, I try and do a mindfulness session with an app called Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/). It really helps calm me down, and I find that I am able to approach issues with a calm and straightforward problem-solving manner. Also, during call weekends, I try and find time to do at least 10 minutes of mindfulness for each day to help keep my mind quiet. It helps me to be able to minimize some of the anxiety that can come with not knowing an answer right away and realize that I have the tools to stay calm and figure out an appropriate response for whatever issues come up during call days. Call shifts can be busy, but that doesn’t mean that my mind needs to stay needlessly busy the entire shift. When a call issue comes, I try to effectively and calmly arrive at the solution and resolve the issue. Then I can process it appropriately in my mind and move on, all while trying to stay calm and quiet in my mind. This has been really helpful and has improved as I have gained more experience and implemented mindfulness.”

Jeffrey Mohlman, MD, MPH

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