In today’s fast-paced world, every job comes with its challenges, and this leads to experiencing stress. Even though stress is part and parcel of every kind of job, it is especially true for nursing. Nurses have to work long shifts, take care of patients in all types of situations, from regular checkups to emergency rooms, face emotionally challenging situations, etc. all these cause stress.
Other factors also add to the stress, like the pressure of getting things done on time, lack of control over your work, workplace conflicts, etc. Stress is harmful to nurses' health and can also affect their ability to take care of patients. Thus, leading to patient security concerns.
So, active nurses and those studying nursing and looking forward to becoming a nurse one day must know these four stress management tips.
Having nothing to focus your mind on and diverting your attention to can be the biggest stress contributors. Take rest as you need or if you have free time on your hands. Focus your attention on something positive; otherwise, your mind will keep focusing on the workload, time remaining in shift, etc. Thus, it’s best to keep busy with an activity or hobby. You can knit, read a book, exercise, etc. The best thing would be to get additional education.
Nowadays, many reputable institutions offer online nursing degrees like BSN and MSN. The best thing is many universities offer accelerated BSN programs. This means you can get your degree in as little as one year. If you enroll in, say, online ABSN, you will reap many benefits of an ABSN degree. This includes moving up your educational hierarchy and staying busy with something positive and beneficial.
The best way to get the stress out of your system is to talk about it. When you come home from a long tiring shift, you will likely prefer zoning out. But this way, you will not be tackling the stressor. And when you begin your shift the next day, the stressor will be very much there, triggering stress and anxiety before something stressful even happens. That is why a verbal therapeutic venting session with someone is much needed. If you have a partner or friend who does not work in the nursing field, they might not completely understand your struggles. Or, they may not know what to do to eliminate your stress, but this doesn’t mean you should not talk to them. The goal here is to just let all the frustration and stress out of your system by talking to someone about it. Even if they can’t propose a solution, a sympathetic ear and words of encouragement will be enough to get you back on your feet.
Moreover, if you want to talk about stress and find a solution, it's best to talk it out with your fellow nurses. Nursing coworkers are a tight-knit family, and they all have similar work-related problems and stressors. So they would relate to what you are saying to a deeper extent. When you discuss your concerns with people in the same situation, they will all share their ideas about solving the issue. Together, you all will be able to get to the root cause of the problem and solve it.
No one can deny the importance of a good diet in improving health and overall well-being. If you are ignorant about your diet, that can add to stress and health-related problems. Good and nutritious food can be your biggest support in combating stress. When you analyze your food-related habits, you will find that many of your stress-related problems increased manifold because you were not consuming enough nutrients and the right foods. For example, it’s common for nurses to get dehydrated and stay dehydrated as they are busy working long shifts. Dehydration can cause severe headaches and other health issues like skin problems.
To tackle stress, your body and mind must have enough energy, which can come from eating right. Instead of consuming processed foods, sugars, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates that cause depression, eat healthy snacks like protein bars, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetable salads, etc. Make healthy dips and carry these dips with celery or baby carrots with you for a quick, healthy snack. Include food in your diet, like milk and salmon, that are a source of calcium and protein. Pack your snacks when you know you are going for a long shift so that when you get hungry during the shift, you will have a healthy alternative ready, and you won’t get indulged in unhealthy snacks.
Getting a good night's sleep solves almost every health concern. Especially when you are stressed and continue to work in a stressful environment, your body needs quality sleep. Our body needs sleep so that it can function optimally. Good quality sleep reduces your risk of stress, anxiety, and depression. When you don’t get sleep for enough hours or don’t get quality sleep, it leads to poor memory, inefficient decision-making, slow thinking, lack of attention and focus, etc. And you can see, as a nurse, you cannot risk developing any of these problems. Since you are taking care of the patients, sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. Therefore, you need to be active and think quickly to solve the problem at hand.
Thus, you need to get enough sleep; otherwise, you will only add to your workplace stress by feeling lazy or completely zoned out. A good night’s sleep will help you distress and relax. It’s also found to lower the risk of developing dementia. To get good quality sleep, don’t use your mobile phone while in your bed. Also, try not to bring work to your bed, and don’t eat right before going to bed as your body will then have energy. Thus, you will have difficulty falling asleep right away. Also, use a sleep mask and room-darkening blinders if you must. After all, the body produces melatonin in a dark room, which helps you get into a deep sleep.
As a nurse, there is no denying your job is hectic and stressful. But remember that stress is not only your health's enemy, but it can also have serious impacts on your job. Especially, if it keeps getting in the way of your efficiency at work, which it certainly does. That is why, as a nurse, you must know these four stress management tips to stay stress-free in your workplace and provide excellent patient care.