We all face stressful moments at work. Stress management helps us become alert and come up with solutions to various problems that occur in the workplace. Once we solve the problem, cortisol levels decrease and we are stress free. Then, we return to our usual rhythm and everything is fine. But, what do we do when each day spent at work comes with high and constant levels of stress?
This is the case for those working in the medical field. Today, we address the topic of nurses who confront stressful situations all the time. Patients’ health is a high stake, so it is normal for nurses to feel agitated at work compared to professionals in other areas.
As a nurse, to be able to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. High levels of stress over long periods can affect your health, job satisfaction, and how you interact with your patients. So, here are the 5 ways to reduce stress at work for nurses.
1. Take care of your body
You will say you don’t have time, but do not underestimate the impact of physical movement on your mental health. If you don’t like going to the gym, run for at least half an hour around the block or take the stairs up and down. Be careful to eat as balanced as possible, stress symptoms lead to overindulgence, or skipping meals altogether.
Whatever supplements you take, they won’t make up for a proper diet. Don’t forget to hydrate, I know you hear this on TV, radio and online all the time, yet, people still don’t drink enough water! Last, but not least, keep up with your sleeping schedule. Rest for at least 7 hours per night, or how much you need to feel fresh.
You know all this, but it’s important to realize each step’s impact and to keep up with them to avoid nurses’ burnout. When you are healthy, you will be able to cope with stress better than when you’re tired, thirsty or starved.
2. Get yourself organized
If you are experiencing problems in your personal life due to lack of organization, start a calendar. Use an app on your phone with confidence, or if you prefer to take notes, adopt a pocketbook with numbered tabs. Plan your tasks as early as possible and set an alarm to remember important ones.
Focus on the present and stop multitasking. It doesn’t help to think of the next 10 things you have to do once you finish what you’re doing. Cut down stress and anxiety and dedicate yourself to one task at a time.
3. Take up a hobby
Leave the work at your job and enjoy the time you spend outside of the workspace. It’s time to start a hobby! Take up a physical activity, reading, or drawing, learning a foreign language or going to the movies to disconnect from the daily stress.
4. Talk about your problems
Did you have a stressful shift? Talk to one of your colleagues, a family member or a friend about the hardships you encountered that day. If you can, talk to a more experienced nurse, somebody who has stressful situations under control. Don’t be shy; ask if they have a few minutes to talk about the problems you are facing.
Don’t let frustrations accumulate and pressure you. It’s possible that by talking about the issues you’ve been through, you can figure out what you could have done differently and how you can react next time.
5. Take a break
Are you dealing with a difficult patient? It’s only noon, but you feel like you’ve worked a 10-hour shift? Take a break. Take 10 or 15 minutes to walk around, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch your breath. A break from the usual environment will recharge your batteries.
Take a mental break after work, meditate or keep a diary. Writing your thoughts works as good as talking about your issues. This gives you a new perspective to come up with coping mechanisms for next time.
Nurses’ jobs will always be more demanding. Stress relief should be a priority for leaders, employers, but also you. It’s important to know what you can do to deal with difficult situations and be healthy and happy at work.
Do you have any tips when you’re stressed at work? Leave us a comment below and share with us your experience.