Stressed Out Much??
As of this moment, Thoughtful Thursday is a thing, and I’ve got a thinking question for y’all! What does your ‘Nurse Utopia’ look like?? I know what’s running through your mind; ‘nurse’ and ‘utopia’ do NOT belong in the same sentence. But, hey, I asked you to think so hit me with your best! Does it involve adequate sleep? A healthy BMI? A perfect work/home balance? How about a constantly advancing career? Or proper patient/staff ratios?? Alright, alright, I’ll stop before I send you straight to lalaland. Fact is, all nurses struggle; nursing is practically synonymous with stress. And while chances are no single nurse will ever reach that goal of ‘Nursetopia,’ there are things you can do to help alleviate the stress that comes along with job. And as an FYI, stress can lead to actual physical illness and burnout! The month of April in particular is dedicated to stress awareness, so why not take note of the numerous ways you can help rid yourself, and subsequently the others you work with, of that ugly six letter word! S-T-R-E-S-S!
1. Take slooooow, DEEP breaths. It seems almost too simple, but rhythmic breathing is in fact one of the best ways to cope with stress. Breathe in through the nose…out through the mouth…in through the nose…out… and feel the release of all those calming endorphins. Sooooo next time every single one of your charges wants a chunk of you at the exact same time, remember- breathe easy and then face the music.
2. Keep fit. So here’s the good news; as someone who is on their feet for practically all of their waking hours, you’re probably doing pretty well in the fitness department. For many, though, making the rounds is simply not enough. Try to squeeze in a gym session every now and then and always opt for the stairs. Exercise is a great way to release all that pent up stress.
3. Be open. Talk about what’s stressing you out. When it’s all out there it helps put things in perspective and alleviate the feelings of stress. If you’re by nature a private person, this may be difficult for you. But never underestimate the power of talking things through. Should you decide to take this route, be sure to open up to a positive minded friend/coworker ONLY. No naysayers; uh-uh!
4. Take a break. HA! As if that’s possible on the job. My comeback to that? Nothing is impossible! When in a stressful situation, sometimes the best thing to do is to remove yourself. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, there are patients involved. But even a small break in which you can incorporate some breathing techniques will allow you to return to your patients as a calmer and more effective nurse.
5. Laugh. A lot! You don’t need me to tell you that laughter is the best medicine. Don’t ever be that Debbie Downer. Incorporate humor where appropriate to lift spirits, relieve tension and create lasting bonds.
As cliché as it sounds, the list DOES in fact go on. Adequate nutrition, proper sleep, being organized etc. These are all ways to keep your stress levels low and your productivity rates high. Happy (end of) Stress Awareness month to you and best of luck!!