There is no denying that nursing is one of the most rewarding and lucrative careers in the healthcare sector. So many people pursue this career who wish to help others and positively impact other people’s lives.
However, while there are many benefits, the profession also has some cons. Stress ranks high among them. Nurses feel stressed and burned out, including increased workload, unconventional shift hours, lack of management support, emotional burdens, etc.
Moreover, since the rise of the COVID-19 cases two years back, more and more nurses say that their emotional health is deteriorating.
Even though stress is a common part of a nurse’s life, failing to deal with the stress can negatively affect performance.
So, if you wish to excel in your nursing career, you need to know how to deal with stress. Only then can you provide the best quality of care to your patients.
Following are some easy and practical stress management tips for nurses.
1. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR HOBBIES
A great way to reduce stress is by having some “me time.” Look for the activities that make you happy. It could be watching a movie/TV series, listening to music, reading a book, painting, knitting, etc. Spending time on your hobby can help improve your mental health.
Moreover, you might be stalling pursuing advanced education because of your hectic daily schedule. However, just like making time for your hobbies, you can also squeeze in time for continuing your education.
Advanced education can open doors for leadership roles in healthcare. If you’re wondering which degree to pursue to take your career to higher levels, consider an MSN in nursing administration.
And what is a Nursing Administration MSN Degree? It’s an advanced administration degree that encompasses informatics, financial management, nursing management in the healthcare environment.
2. IDENTIFY STRESSORS
You can only manage and cope with your stress when you know its reason. Therefore, look for the people or conditions that cause you stress. For instance, you might feel stressed some days because you had late lunch. If such is the case, make sure to have some nutritious snacks to control your hunger.
There is also a high possibility of feeling stressed because you had a conflict with your fellow worker, so have a healthy discussion instead.
Other stressors may include long shift hours or heavy workload. A pro tip is to jot down the circumstances that cause you stress.
3. PRACTICE MEDITATION
While it is true that everyone relies on different strategies when it comes to calming their minds, however, proper meditation is the best way to alleviate your stress.
You need to spare a few minutes during or after work to practice mindfulness meditation. Startby meditating for one minute for a few days before increasing your time.
To find inner peace, make sure to find a quiet place where you feel comfortable meditating. Meditation also has physical benefits such as lower blood pressure, heart rate, improved memory, and better sleep.
4. CONSUME A HEALTHY DIET
Another way to reduce your stress is by eating a healthy diet. First of all, avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
For example, you can drink green tea instead of coffee. Moreover, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
It is also advisable to fill your tummy with a healthy diet before starting your shift. Your healthy diet can relax your nerves and provide the energy you need throughout your shift.
Your nutritious meal must include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Make sure to don’t skip your meals.
5. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
Are you one of those people who feel shy sharing their emotions or feelings with others? Then, you might need to change that if you want to reduce your stress level.
Bottling up emotions can invoke frustration, anger, and hatred in you. Therefore, find yourself a family member or friend whom you can trust.
However, expressing their emotions is not easy for some people, and if you’re also dealing with this dilemma, you can practice writing down your thoughts.
All you need is a personal notebook and pen. It is the safest way to relieve your emotions.
6. GET QUALITY SLEEP
You can reduce stress and rejuvenate your mood by going to bed early. Sleep is a natural and powerful stress-reducer. Lack of sleep will leave you anxious and distressed.
You needat least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. In addition, ensure physical activity throughout the day and limit your caffeine intake before bedtime to improve sleep quality.
It would be best if you also stick to a strict sleep schedule. Keeping your room dark and quiet can also help you get good-quality sleep.
Moreover, getting good-quality sleep can reduce your risk of severe health issues like diabetes, heart disease, etc.
7. POSITIVITY GOES A LONG WAY
Lastly, nurses can stave off stress at the workplace through a positive mindset and attitude. Undoubtedly, as a professional nurse, you experience different challenges each day.
The emotional burden is nothing new to nurses. Yet, it can increase stress in many nurse professionals. Some days you might act as a life savior for your patients; other days, you might come across saddening news related to your patients.
However, practicing a positive attitude can help you reduce your stress. So, start your day by practicing gratitude and avoiding interacting with negative people at your work.
It is not surprising that stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s life. If you overlook the importance of stress management, it can negatively affect your life.
For example, you will lose concentration, feel demoralized, suffer from mental and physical illnesses. Therefore, as a professional nurse, you need to be healthy and active to offer the best care to your patients.
In addition, being less stressed will help you foster healthy relations with your patients and colleagues.