Top Seven Ways to Handle Nursing Stress

The pressure of working in the health care environment can cause enormous stress among nurses. They tend to focus on nursing care so much that they tend to neglect their own health. It is vital for nurses to find ways to deal with stress.

1. Stay positive. Attitude may be the singles biggest difference in handling stress. You must try to adopt and maintain a positive outlook in spite of the misery surrounding the workplace. Celebrate the positives in nursing even though it can get really gloomy if patients suffer and die. If you used to feel good about being a nurse but have become cynical, you need to recapture that ideal that led you to nursing in the first place. You will discover that you almost instantly ease your stress just by having a positive attitude.

2. Take breaks. Nursing tasks come in quick succession. There is always something to do with little time available to do it. Nurses are multitaskers and it’s no wonder their stress levels are high. Knowing this, nurses must make a conscious effort to take periodic breaks. Go ahead and take that much-deserved break. You will come back with less negative emotion and renewed focus. There are times that a doctor or supervisor is breathing down your neck or a patient is saying nasty things about you. When you experience these situations, it is time to de-stress and take a short break when the dust settles.

3. Get enough sleep. Sleeping enough hours at regular intervals can boost your energy level for the next working day. Remember that day when you just couldn’t do anything right during your shift because you lacked sleep from partying late the night before? Make those days a rarity. If you don’t get enough sleep you will feel weak, your concentration will suffer and you will likely commit errors at work. Sleep deprivation can get you into trouble. So make sure you get uninterrupted sleep everyday regardless of your work schedule.

4. Eat healthy. Refrain from eating junk food and overly sweet snacks. Stick to heapful servings of fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water. You already know what makes up a healthy diet and you always talk about that during patient teaching. Now it’s time to walk the talk and eat right. Nutritious food will help you maintain your energy and boost your immune system. Eating a healthy diet can reduce your stress levels significantly.

5. Take up a hobby. A hobby is an excellent stress-buster. It allows you to take your mind off work and enjoy other things. Take photography lessons, resurrect that stamp collection, play frisbee or start a blog. Anything that distracts you from your stressful working life will do wonders for your well-being. Hobbies can make you feel good about yourself so that you can come back to work feeling refreshed.

6. Relax. Many nurses get high-strung because of the demands of work. You should remind yourself to relax. Engage in activities that reduce feelings of stress. These activities can include yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, exercise, watching movies or concerts. It just takes mere minutes to do these relaxation activities and you can easily incorporate them into your everyday schedule. Relaxation eases the tension you feel at work.

7. Seek support. Don’t collect pent-up emotions. Talk to your fellow nurses, friends and family about your work situation or a particularly stressful incident. Nursing stress can exact a heavy emotional toll on nurses. Just talking about it can relieve anxiety or depression. Holding it all in will do you no good. It only leads to burnout and may make you quit the profession. Remember, reach out and talk to someone when you are feeling stressed out.

Nurses experience a lot of stress at work. By doing some lifestyle changes, staying positive and seeking emotional support, nurses can alleviate work stress effectively.

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