How Lab Personnel Can Deal with Stress –
Tired laboratory staff resting heads on laptop in office
Working in a laboratory is not always as relaxed as TV shows or movies make it seem. Here’s how you as a laboratory worker can cope better in this stressful environment.
Whether you’re a medical technician or a full-time researcher, working in a laboratory can affect your physical and mental health. Laboratory workers are often exposed to high stress environments, not to mention the work-related risks they deal with on a daily basis. In addition, when compared to other work environments, working in a laboratory often offers no opportunities for socialization.
High levels of stress can burn out even the most experienced employees. So if you work in a laboratory, here are some pointers to help you meet the needs of your job:
1. Look out for signs of burnout
To prevent full blown burnout, you need to spot the early warning signs before they get worse:
- Difficulty with simple tasks like finding an autoclave to sell or managing routine activities
- Slight irritability
- Sadness, loneliness, guilt, shame
- A tendency to blame others
- Feeling indifferent or apathetic
- Trouble sleeping, nightmares
- Constant worries or fears
- Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating
- Physical symptoms such as nausea, headache, dizziness, etc.
If you start to see signs of high stress, it’s time to take a step back and let yourself breathe. Otherwise, you expose yourself to the risk of long-term stress, e.g. B. Mental health problems, cardiovascular diseases, nutritional problems and gastrointestinal problems.
2. Recognize your stressors
What things are often stressful for you at work? Are there any appointments? Arrogant employees? Demanding tasks? Understanding the causes of your stress is important so that you can find ways to avoid it. For example, if you are very stressed when the deadlines are approaching, you may need to revise your schedule. If it’s your co-workers or supervisors, look for ways to communicate to minimize disagreements or misunderstandings.
While avoiding stressors in the workplace is not always possible, it is a good place to start in trying to manage your stress.
3. Don’t skip your breaks
It is a common habit for lab technicians to skip breaks so they can keep working. However, if you don’t give yourself enough time to eat or rest throughout the day, it can do more harm than good. You may be working on your residue or speeding up research, but you may not be doing your best because you are hungry and tired. Also, you are more prone to failure when your body is stressed from hunger and fatigue.
Don’t skip your breaks unless you have to. Take your regular lunch breaks to eat, rest, and connect with others.
4. Set your limits
When you are a researcher, the laboratory environment is often a highly competitive one. As a result, you may feel the need to outdo your peers and give all you have to your work.
It is necessary to work hard to achieve your goals, but it should not come at the cost of your physical and mental wellbeing. Set your boundaries and learn how to say “no” to work that you can’t handle right now. It may be tempting to take on every little task that you are given to look your best, but when overloaded with work it can lead to underperformance or critical errors that harm your research.
5. Increase efficiency
The more efficient you are, the easier it is for you to finish your job and leave the lab on time. Remember that the quality of your work is not directly related to the time you spend on it. Working more efficiently is therefore imperative to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
To increase your efficiency, here are some tips that can help you:
- Limit distractions and avoid using personal devices while working
- Set a specific time to answer emails, make calls, etc.
- Prioritize the toughest and most time-consuming tasks
- Stay organized and keep your workplace clutter free
- Keep a detailed log of documentation to avoid confusion later
- Identify inefficient processes and find ways to address them
- Use automated technology
6. Take care of your health
Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat healthy, balanced meals. Avoid alcohol, smoking and drug use during leisure time. Finally, you should get enough exercise, especially if your physical activity in the laboratory is limited.
It is impossible to eliminate stress in a highly competitive, high stress environment like a laboratory. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to learn to live with it. If you want to reach your full potential and translate that into great performance, you need to put yourself first. Use these strategies to help keep your stress in check and find more ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance.