Most people go into nursing because they are enthusiastic about helping others and they have a passion for the job. Unfortunately, they soon find out that this profession is extremely taxing because it often includes long shifts, challenging patients, and difficult relationships with coworkers. Nurse burnout is a significant risk that could put an end to your career. That’s why learning nurse stress management techniques early on is crucial.
So, how can you keep stress at bay even if your job is challenging? To stay healthy, it’s best to employ a range of techniques, including eating a healthy diet, exercising, pursuing outside hobbies, speaking to trusted colleagues and friends, getting enough sleep, and using relaxation techniques. Nurses on the brink of burnout could also consider lower-stress positions, at least temporarily.
Nurse Stress Management: 9 Keys to Managing Stress and Nurse Burnout in the Early Stages
1. Pay Attention to Your Diet
Luckily, there are many ways of eating a healthy diet without having to spend hours in the kitchen each day. Some nurses plan and cook their meals ahead of time, for example, once a week. That way, they can simply take a ready-made portion out of the freezer whenever needed. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, getting groceries delivered is much easier, so nurses who don’t have a lot of time can skip the trip to the supermarket.
2. Get as Much Sleep as Possible
You can also come up with a bedtime ritual, which calms your body down and gets you in the right mindset for sleep. Some good activities include reading, having some tea or a light snack, listening to calming music, stretching, or practicing meditation. Leave your devices alone for at least an hour before bedtime because the blue light can restrict your melatonin production.
3. Move Your Body
This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising or lift heavy weights at the gym. A short run, cycle, or swim can be enough to get your muscles moving and release endorphins. If you don’t have a lot of time, consider incorporating exercise in your everyday life. Walk all the way or part of the way to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, cycle to the supermarket, or meet your friends for a stroll in the park instead of for a sit-down meal.
4. Speak to Trusted Friends or Counselors
If you don’t have anyone to talk to or you are concerned about nurse burnout, consider speaking to a counselor who has experience with this problem. They can help you articulate and figure out your feelings so you can come up with a solution that fits your lifestyle and goals. In addition to helping you implement the tips in this article, a good counselor will consider your individual situation and help you access resources in your community.
5. Pursue Hobbies Outside of Work
Some great activities include painting and other types of crafts, attending an exercise or meditation class, gardening, cooking or trying new healthy foods at restaurants, and spending time with animals, either through volunteering or by getting a pet. There are countless options out there, some of which might be unique to your area. Why not explore a few things to find out what you enjoy the most?
6. Leave the Gadget at Home
To give yourself a break, consider building gadget-free times into your day. Don’t take your phone with you when you exercise, spend time with friends, or pursue your hobbies, and turn it off several hours before you go to bed. That way, you can spend quality time with your loved ones or indulge in your self-care routine without having to worry about receiving notifications or answering text messages.
7. Speak to Superiors and Peers
Nurses often feel that doctors don’t listen to them or don’t treat them with respect. If the atmosphere is negative in your workplace, consider speaking to your superiors about the problem. They might be able to organize a motivational speech or a training course that can improve the situation, or they could transfer you to a different department.
8. Use Deep Breathing or Meditation Techniques
Similarly, meditation can be a great technique for people who would like to clear their minds and calm their bodies. Again, there are many methods to choose from, including guided meditation, Tai Chi, and Yoga. You can experiment with different techniques by buying books, downloading apps, or attending in-person courses in your area. While it might take some trial and error, most people find a breathing or meditation style that works for them.
9. Switch Jobs If Necessary
Nurse burnout is a common problem, affecting up to 95% of nurses at some point in their careers. Taking good care of your body and mind is an important first step, but it might not be enough. Additionally, you will have to speak about your experiences, discuss your situation with your employer, or even change to a less stressful position. Contact Dr. Feyi at WaistedRN to find out more about nurse stress management or to book a motivational speech.