I had been scared off for years by some message that conf-interpreting is so tiring that some suffer from sleepless night after the work. It's also said that the conf-interpreting is an activity employing human's potential to extremity. Needless to say, normally it is quite energy-consuming; while on the hand, there must be a lot methods to deal with it, and many practical and proven-to-be-successful ways.
As quoted from some lecture, brain is our most valuable asset, i.e. health is our vital aspect in not only our life but also our profession, so attention for health can never be more. Individual's methods tend to be individual, so I will keep this question open for as many answers as possible to come, but points will be awarded at the same time from my karma.
Thanks for your participation in advance. :)
Please don't let yourself be scared off by any such messages! Yes, it is tiring, as the workload study shows (http://aiic.net/page/888 and see also http://aiic.net/page/660), BUT our "forefathers and foremothers" in conference interpreting have seen to it that professional standards were developed in order to guarantees the best possible quality for interpretation AND working conditions which help to lead a sustainable life as an interpreter http://aiic.net/page/54. This of course does not take away the personal responsibility we all have.
Adhering to the professional code of ethics (see link above) actually reduces stress considerably because it gives you quite clear guidelines of what to accept and what not - for good reason since we would otherwise jeaopardise our health (and, believe me, also our state of mind!).
Another way to reduce stress in the life of an interpreter is to act as a true team during the assignment! This is one of the reasons why recruiting interpreters try to make sure, whenever possible, to recuruit interpreters who not only are capable of doing the job properly but who also get on with one another and who don't act as primadonnas or have other things on their mind, leaving colleagues to do the jobs more or less on their own...
In the interpreting community we are also discussing coping techniques http://aiic.net/page/3589 much more openly than in the past - and the value of learning from one another by sharing our best practices can never be underestimated. During our recent Interpreters-for-Interpreters Workshop in Berlin one of the much-acclaimed sessions was titled "Yoga in the booth". Our colleague Conrado Portugal gave us wonderful hints of what we can do to physically relax.
Some stress can be rather emotional - for example secondary or vicarious traumatisation when having to interpret reports on atrocities or criminal preseedings for example. It is also in this field that more and more research is being done and the mere fact that we are starting to share our feelings on these subjects helps to reduce emotional loneliness and to find ways of adressing such situations as an interpreter and as a human being.
Over and above all this personal happiness is extremely important to be able to cope with stress. Everybody must find their own way towards it but certainly it also helps to be financially safe and to provide for your old age. So it is important to think about the value of our services to others and the value of our time to ourselves. Julia Böhm triggered a discussion on this subject some years ago. We have started to think more about how fees ought to be calculated : http://aiic.net/page/2760/budgeting-time-and-costs-for-professional-conference-interpreters-who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire.
These are just a few thoughts that come to mind - I am sure there is much more, but don't be discouraged. It is a wonderful profession - and once you are passionate about it, the stress level will automatically reduce.