Nursing is one of the most stressful jobs imaginable. There’s the constant hum-drum of the hospital or office, patients to take care of, medicine to pass out, vital signs to take, charts to fill in, IVs to start, meetings to make it to, and doctors to answer to. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Nurses also work longer hours with salaries which don’t reflect the amount of hard work that they put in.
With odds like these, how on earth is a nurse supposed to stay afloat in stressed out environments?
Here are 10 brilliant ways for working nurses to find a little bit of peace and positivity amidst all the craziness.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
This simple trick can do wonders to reduce your stress levels. Not only are deep breathing relaxation techniques good for reducing stress, they also lower tension levels thereby reducing body aches, and also release endorphins. These are a group of hormones in the brain and nervous system, which, when released, trigger positive feelings in the body and mind. In fact, endorphins have the same molecular makeup as morphine!
To get your dose of this natural feel-good ‘drug’, all you need to do is practice mindful, deep rhythmic breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose and count up till four; hold your breath in for 1-2 seconds and then slowly breathe out through your mouth to the count of four. You can do this whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Mediation is an excellent way for you to quiet your mind, relieve stress, and ground yourself in the moment. You can download guided meditation apps on your smartphone or practice a combination of techniques such as visuals and guided breathing.
Find a quiet spot and take 10-20 minutes out to mediate. This will help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and tension
3. Have a Laugh
The old adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’ could not be more true. Numerous studies have been done about the therapeutic benefits of laughing. One of the reasons why laughter is considered to be so therapeutic is because the act of laughing releases endorphins, or the ‘happiness hormone’. What’s more, laughter is a type of medicine which has no side effects, is abundant in supply, and is absolutely free!
Go through old photographs, visit a funny website, or recall a funny story; whatever makes you laugh, seek it out!
4. Stay Healthy
Never underestimate the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially when you’re working under stressful conditions.
In order to stay healthy, make sure you eat regular meals, drink plenty of water, and keep healthy snacks with you such as nuts or fruit.
If you eat well and maintain a healthy diet, your efficiency, concentration, energy levels, stamina, and patience will all be greatly benefited.
5. Get Some Exercise
Getting some exercise is an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the wealth of physical benefits that exercise affords, it also has a profound effect on your emotional well-being.
Getting regular exercise can help you:
• Reduce anxiety
• Relieve stress
• Cope with and reduce depression
• Improve your mood
• Aid in memory and concentration
• Help you get proper sleep
When you’re working, you can incorporate a little exercise into your routine by talking a walk or climbing up and down the stairs.
6. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
Numerous studies have been done into the importance and benefits of getting enough sleep. Experts recommend that adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Anything less can cause a host of problems.
Getting the right amount of sleep:
• Ensures that you’re fresh and alert
• Boosts immune function
• Aids in memory and concentration
• Keeps you in a better mood
• Boosts your metabolism
• Helps in learning
• Increases your lifespan
7. Take a Break
Although it may be hard to take a break when you’re swamped with work and you’re dealing with patients, breaks are an important way to combat stress.
Ask one of your colleagues if they don’t mind covering for you for a couple of minutes so that you can catch a bit of a breather. Taking short breaks like this will help you become more relaxed and stress free when carrying out your duties.
8. Make Friends with your colleagues
Having friends in your workplace can also help you reduce your stress levels. Other nurses and doctors in your place of employment are likely to be familiar with the rigors and demands of the job. They therefore know firsthand how stressful the job can be.
By making friends with others around you, you’ll have their companionship to look forward to at work. You can grab lunch together, hang out during breaks, cover for each other, share a few laughs, and even vent your frustrations.
9. Think Positive
This might sound clichéd but thinking positive thoughts is very important when it comes to coping with stressful environments and situations. Your attitude determines your experiences. If you think positively and expect positive things to happen, you’re likely to receive positive outcomes.
When you develop a positive attitude at work, your experience will reflect your most dominant and prevalent thoughts.
Always remember: you can’t always control what happen to you, but you can control your reaction to it.
10. Stay Organized
Staying organized will help you avoid many potential freak-outs. If you have an organized work space and routine, you can begin your day on the right foot. You’ll also likely be in a better frame of mind at work knowing that you’re organized.
Nursing is a profession which has its fair share of stressors, including environments and situations. As a nurse, you’re expected to find a way to deal with all of this on your own. If you incorporate certain tips, tricks, and strategies for stress management and positivity into your routine, you can make your work life a lot less overwhelming.
Kim Lee is an online education and career reporter in college and has been working as a freelance writer for Excite Education