While nursing is one of the most rewarding professions, it is also one of the most stressful. For nurses, stress can lead to critical errors in patient care and even increased mortality rates. Stress can be caused by a myriad of reasons including (but not limited to) understaffing, overworking, difficult patients, issues with coworkers, a nurse’s personal life, the list goes on and on. Just because the work can be stressful, doesn’t mean that you’re stuck being stressed forever. Managing stress is essential to prevent burnout and provide your patients with the best care. We’ve got some tips and tricks to reduce stress, keep reading to find out.
Travel nurses often have busy schedules, so finding time to exercise may seem daunting. If you can’t fit in a full workout a few times a week that’s okay, don’t let it add to your stress! There are tons of quick workouts available online and even taking a brisk stroll around the block will get those endorphins flowing. Endorphins boost serotonin levels, which can improve mood, appetite, and sleep cycles.
Meditation or yoga
Doing a yoga class or taking some time to meditate every day is a sure way to leave you feeling refreshed and clear-minded. Try your best to let go of everything going on around in your world and focus on you and finding a moment of peace. According to the NIH, practicing yoga can lead to an improved quality of life by reducing stress, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and relieving anxiety. Whether you want a morning routine to keep you going through the day or an evening routine to unwind with before bed, we’ve got you covered. You can also download apps like the Calm to help you meditate and unwind.
Maintain a healthy diet – but treat yourself when you want to
It’s been proven that “eating a healthy diet can reduce the negative effects of stress on your body.” On a nurse’s schedule, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can be challenging, but not impossible. One tip that can help is using one day to meal prep to keep you on track, here are three fun recipes to get you started. Another tip is to make healthy swaps. This means you don’t have to change your routine or diet, but instead of crabbing for those Doritos reach for some carrots and hummus instead. That being said, don’t forget to eat food that makes you happy, restrictive diets aren’t healthy or stress relieving. Listen to your body and what makes it feel its best.
According to a study at NIH, the “use of essential oils to decrease work-related stress among nursing staff may improve retention, workplace environment, and increase nurse satisfaction.” There are many ways that aromatherapy can be effective including candles, diffusers, lotions and body products, oils, and more. Some scents that aid in stress reduction are lavender, jasmine, bergamot, chamomile, rose, and lemon balm. Pro tip: carry a tiny satchel of lavender in your pocket and if you’re feeling overwhelmed on your shift take a deep breath and smell the pouch for a little moment of zen and rebalance.
Take a mental health day
If you’re feeling burnt out and feeling like you’re on the verge of cracking that’s a sure sign that you need a mental health day. Mental health days are just as important as taking a sick day if you aren’t feeling well. You can’t show up for your patients and deliver them the best care if you aren’t putting yourself first. Take a look at our article on signs that you need a mental health day.