Stress management is a commonality for many occupations these days. Nurses, in particular, deal with stress from direct contact with humans in their daily work environment more than people in other occupations. This is because they deal with so many different types of people and during times of change and transformation at large, stress from health issues can very easily become contagious. When it comes to your experience as a nurse with stress, think about becoming aware of your thoughts in the moment. We’ve done a little research to come up with 7 powerful techniques for stress management for nurses. Please read on for fresh ideas about how to stay centered in the line of duty.
1. Take a Breath
When stress arises, it is a good idea to remember that your thoughts come and go everyday. Take a moment to experience the thought with a deep breath and let go of your thought intentionally as you breathe out. You could find that taking a moment to stop and focus on a few deep breaths will really help you to actualize the biochemical reaction that you are experiencing while a stressful thought comes through your mind. Deep breaths tend to help you focus on the moment and rise above the physical tension that your thoughts create when you experience stress. Deep breathing has been a proven technique to help blood and calming energy circulate throughout your body. When you breathe deep and create the feeling of relaxation, you are more likely to fall into relaxation. For this reason, any time that you feel stress or anxiety while you are at work, try taking a few deep breaths to help your state of mind.
2. Suck on a Mint
Your body most likely has a physical reaction to stress. To help ease your mind and body, think about keeping a few mints in your pocket. Not only will this help your mind to shift with a sweet sensation, but it will also give you something on which, you will focus. You might center your thoughts on the sweetness. Think about the shape and feel the mint take over your mouth. Breathe in through your nose and experience a minty breath of fresh air. This should help you enjoy your deep breaths and become aware of something else other than your stressful thoughts. It is also nice to have something on your person to share with a team mate, should their stress and anxiety become yours. Candy can be high in carbs and sugar, while a mint is a better alternative for your patient-facing occupation. The next time you feel stress or anxiety, challenge yourself to focus on your breath by deep breathing with minty cool air.
3. Experience the Scent of Lavender
Lavender is known to have calming effects and can help ease tension in your body. It might be a good idea to saturate a cotton ball or cloth with lavender and keep it in your identification badge or pocket. This way, you will have the scent on your body during your shift. When you feel stressed or start to have anxious feelings, simply put the scent to your nose and focus on your deep breaths again. If lavender does not tickle your fancy, try a meaningful fragrance that you can conceal in a plastic bag that you might tuck into your lunch kit. A spray to a handkerchief might work well also, to help relieve tension at work. This aromatherapy technique could help manage stress for nurses and works well with any sort of fragrance oil. These small moments of self care with yourself should help you relax into a better day.
4. Pack a Lunch
Often, a poor diet can leave us feeling irritable and unsatiated. This fact could be a recipe for even more stress on the job. Stress in a nurse’s work environment is often a daily working condition. It could be considered as, ‘just part of the job’; however, stress that comes from lack of proper nutrition can be negated with a simple lunch kit. There are very many ideas for meal preparation online. If you take some time at home to enjoy your kitchen, collect fresh ingredients and think ahead of time, you might notice that preparing a lunch can help you out with budget, your daily sense of well-being and stress relief. Also, if you find serenity in snacking, preparing a few healthy snacks could cease your trips to those glowing vending machines. Packing a lunch could help ease stress and anxiety in more than a few ways. We highly recommend lunch packs for stress relief.
5. Sing a Song
If you’ve ever practiced meditation, you might recall the joy of centering your attention on your own mind and body through momentary escapism and breath. If you can excuse yourself to a closet, a patio or to take a walk outside, you might discover that attempting to sing a short melody or song could help ease tension all the same. Not only will it take your mind off of what is going on, but humming or singing a short, silly song could bring you back to a place where you might ease tension with a smile. Even if you can’t sing, you could hum the alphabet and remember that centering on anything other than your stressful thoughts can help reduce stress on the job.
6. Drink Your Water
Dehydration is known to cause higher cortisol levels. This kind of stress creates an increase in belly fat. If you don’t drink enough water during your day, your body could suffer from bloating and inflammation. Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water will help flush out toxins and decrease cortisol. Cortisol-induced stress isn’t the easiest thing to combat because drinking a lot of water creates more trips to the restroom during your shift. With a little bit of self awareness and the intention to mind your body, you can build a habit, one day at a time, to increase the amount of water to help flush out discomfort. Investing in a water bottle that brings a smile to your face is a good idea to help support your water intake efforts. If you enjoy refilling your water bottle, you will most likely do it more often. There are many different types of water bottles on the market for you to choose from. Staying hydrated with an insulated water bottle is a good idea to help decrease stress in the body during your work day.
7. Yoga Class
No doubt, nurses work long shifts and struggle with time management as much as the next person. However, if you can manage to fit in an hour of yoga before or after your shift, you might delight in the way that your body feels from head to toe. Yoga helps people focus on their minds, body and spirit. You should learn how to control your breathing, set intentions and become more in tune with your personal vibration. A class would help to relax your body and support your relationship with yourself and how you tend to handle stress. The more centered you are, the easier it should be to take care of your patients without stress or worry. Yoga is a great way to ensure that your body is functioning at an optimal level. Stretched muscles can ease tension from head to toe. When you attend yoga class, you’ll remember a pose or two that you can do on your own when stress rises to the surface. For that reason, we highly recommend trying out a yoga class or incorporating exercise into your weekly routine.
No matter which technique that you try out so as to relieve stress during your nursing shift, remember to be patient with yourself. It takes time to combat stress and you’ll need to recognize that your body has more cellular receptors for the biochemicals released most often. With time, you’ll establish habits and form new ways of processing tension and anxiety. We hope that you’ll try out a few of these ideas for stress release on the job. It might be a good idea to try to incorporate new habits one week at a time. With a little planning ahead and patience, you can help improve your experience.
Stress can lead to feeling tired, overwhelmed or cause you to burn out. Nursing requires you to handle a multitude of interactions and learning how to manage it only calls for your attention toward relief. Between long hours and so many different personalities, we know that stress from your nursing job creates a challenge for you to take care of yourself. While there is so much information on the internet that you can use to begin new habits, we hope that you’ll bookmark this page and take some time to enjoy each opportunity to combat stress.