Most nurses absolutely love their jobs. But, it’s no secret that nursing can be taxing at times. So, nurses must find ways to diffuse stress and efficiently carry out their job duties. If you’re beginning to feel burned out, there are several strategies you can use to take the edge off the tension. We have ten tips to help nurses reduce stress.
1. Separate your work life from your home life.
Your home should be a relaxing and welcoming place for unwinding after a long workday. Try displaying your favorite scented candles or flowers, stocking up on calming teas, or investing in a cozy lounge chair. Having these items waiting for you after a nursing shift ensures a warm and calming environment.
2. Meditate or perform breathing exercises.
Numerous studies confirm the value of controlled breathing and meditation to calm a person’s mind. These exercises can help even the most stressed-out nurse find a healthy head space. Dozens of apps and websites offer guided meditation and breathing exercises, making these tools readily accessible to you at any time or place.
3. Think about the reasons why you became a nurse.
Many people become nurses because they have a passion for caring for others. Helping a patient overcome a sickness or an injury is incredibly rewarding. Remembering those purposes can lead a nurse back to a healthy state of mind. The difficulties you are facing are only temporary. The ultimate satisfaction of a patient pulling through an illness makes everything worth it.
With long hours and busy shifts, nurses often struggle to maintain a consistent workout routine. However, if you squeeze in a couple of workouts a week, you’ll feel better and manage stress more efficiently. Any physical activity is good activity. Try setting aside half of your lunch break to go for a brisk walk, or taking ten minutes before bed to crank out a few push-ups. Even the littlest movement makes a difference.
5. Remember, it’s not personal.
Some nurses attribute their stress to a particularly trying patient or family member. Your patients and their loved ones are going through an incredibly difficult time and, unfortunately, nurses can become the target of that frustration. Remind yourself that you’re providing the best care possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a supervisor if someone’s behavior gets too out of control.
6. Spend time outdoors.
Nothing quite compares to leaving all material possessions behind and spending time with nature. Whether you go on a long hike or curl up in a park with a snack and a good book, being outside will do wonders for a stressed-out mind.
7. Eat healthy foods.
As a nurse, you’ve probably told your patients dozens of times that when they eat better, they feel better. So practice what you preach! With a nutritious diet, you can maintain a healthy state of mind and manage stress more efficiently. To avoid stress-eating when a craving emerges, rely on a wholesome snack that is easy to grab on-the-go, rather than unhealthy vending machine options.
8. Take time to get organized.
Nurses have an incredible number of responsibilities, and at times they can seem overwhelming. Duties that appear to be spiraling out of control can cause you unnecessary stress. Create an organization strategy to keep track of your responsibilities and is flexible enough to account for unexpected circumstances. Something as simple as a small notebook with to-do lists will help you stay on top of your tasks and alleviate unwanted stress.
9. Communicate clearly with your colleagues.
Another source of frustration for many nurses is a lack of communication. Limited contact can have severe and stressful consequences, such as the inadequate care of a patient. Avoid these stressors by making a concerted effort to communicate as much as possible with your colleagues, which will encourage them to communicate in return.
10. Reserve some time to do something that makes you happy.
In nursing, you can easily fall in a routine that only consists of working, eating and sleeping. Regardless of how much you might love your job, that repetitiveness simply isn’t fulfilling, and you’ll likely experience burnout. Break that cycle by setting aside some time every day to do an activity that you enjoy, such as reading a book, creating some art, watching your favorite TV show, or hanging out with friends.
Nurses face many challenging situations. But maintaining a strong state of mind, staying physically healthy and doing things that they love will certainly help nurses deal with stressors, provide better patient care and lead happier lives.