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Top Strategies for Healthcare Leaders to Manage Stress

Healthcare leaders experience many challenges in today’s workplace, some of which include:

  • Increasing Costs

As healthcare costs continue to escalate, leaders face the challenge of finding cost savings while providing quality healthcare.

  • Increasing Government Regulation

Ever-changing government regulations require leaders to stay current on the latest laws and understand the implications for their organization.

  • Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction incorporates quality care, communication, and customer service. Rising healthcare costs and staffing shortages make patient satisfaction challenging for leaders.

  • Staffing Shortages

Staffing shortages have tremendous impact on productivity, co-worker morale and wellbeing, and quality patient care. High turnover is costly for the organization. Leaders are challenged with finding and retaining quality talent, while reducing costs.

  • Technology

Leaders are challenged with managing the adoption and usage of new technology, for productivity, customer service, and patient care.

These challenges, in addition to others, create a high-stress environment that can lead to chronic stress, burnout, and an out of balance life.

Finding strategies to manage stress and prevent burnout are essential. Impactful ways to manage stress include:

  1. Prioritizing Self-Care

Getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night, eating balanced meals, staying hydrated, and being active are essential to overall health and wellbeing.

Getting good sleep impacts what we eat and how we move our body. When we are sleep deprived our bodies over-produce cortisol, which can cause weight gain and cravings for high fat, high calorie food. We often reach for fast food and caffeine that gives us quick energy. When we’re tired, the last thing we want to do is exercise.

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is necessary to ensure good sleep. Going to bed and waking at roughly the same time each day prevents disruptions to circadian rhythm, which can make deep, restorative sleep difficult.

Alcohol consumption can also disrupt circadian rhythm. Stopping consumption 2-3 hours prior to bedtime is recommended.

Eating heavy meals before bed may cause indigestion and prevent restful sleep.

Consuming caffeinated beverages prior to bedtime can prevent deep, restorative sleep, which is necessary for cell and muscle restoration, mental clarity, and a healthy immune system.

Turning off electronics an hour prior to bedtime reduces mental stimulation, which can make going to sleep difficult. When reading, set tablets or I-pads to night-time mode if reading to relax.

Cool, dark, quiet rooms are best for restful sleep. Wear an eye mask if you’re light sensitive. Put your phone on sleep mode and wear ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.

  1. Staying Mentally Fit

Practicing mindfulness and mental fitness techniques are great ways to manage stress in the moment and prevent burnout. Engaging your senses in a series of short micro-meditations may look like:

-Counting to three, breathing in slowly through your nose, and exhaling slowly to a count of three.

-Focusing intently on something you can see, noticing tiny details, such as colors, shapes, and textures.

-Listening to something you can hear. Noticing the most distant sound you can hear, then, shifting your focus to the sound of your breath.

-Rubbing two fingertips slowly together, noticing the fingertip ridges, the temperature of your fingertips, and the texture (are they dry or smooth).

Each short micro-meditation takes between 10-15 seconds to complete.

Check out my TEDx to see these mental fitness techniques in action:

  1. Setting Healthy Boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries is necessary for practicing self-care. Healthy boundaries look like:

-Saying no to tasks and invitations that generate stress and prevent time for self-care. A simple “no thank you” OR “thank you for the invitation but I must decline,” will suffice. It is not necessary to provide a dissertation.

-Never apologize for saying no, as you are putting yourself first. As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

-Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life, by setting office hours, and not responding to work texts or email after hours.

-Time blocking self-care, family time, breaks, and lunches.

-Taking short breaks to move your body. Stretching counts!

-Protecting your energy by limiting exposure to negative influencers such as toxic environments, people, the news, and social media.

  1. Seeking Support

Connecting with a colleague, friend, family member, coach, counselor, or pastor for support and accountability. It’s important to have someone who is objective and trustworthy.

Woman writing in daily gratitude journal

  1. Practicing Daily Gratitude

Reflecting on the positive aspects of work and personal life can change mindset and help attract more positivity. When we have a positive mindset we are better able to rebound from challenges by seeing the gift and opportunity in the situation. The more we practice gratitude, the more we find to be grateful for.

  1. Engaging in Relaxation Techniques

Activities like yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy can help relax the mind and body. Time block these activities.

  1. Taking Vacations and Regular Time Off

When taking time off, completely disconnect from work. Do not respond to work texts or email. Time off is meant for resting and recharging.

  1. Finding Ways to Experience Daily Joy

Doing something daily that brings joy, generates happiness and improves health and wellbeing.

-Taking a walk

-Reading a chapter in a favorite book

-Savoring a cup of tea or coffee

-Playing with kids, grandkids, and/or pets



-Listening to music

-Watching a favorite comedy


When managing stress to prevent burnout, it’s important to recognize that everyone is different. Adopting best practices that work for you is the key to a healthier, happier, more balanced life.

To learn more practical tips for managing stress and living your best life, check out my international best-selling bookFrom Burnout to Best Life, How to Take Charge of Your Health & Happiness

For additional questions or to schedule a complimentary consultation on how you can reduce your stress levels and lead a more balanced, happier and impactful life, while maximizing your potential, please email me at


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