Being a travel nurse is not an easy job. You have to work twice the amount of hours as a regular person, and you are constantly put in life-or-death situations. It is no surprise that nurses have one of the highest rates of job-related stress. In fact, a study found that nurses have a 36% higher risk of developing stress-related illnesses than the general population.
Are you an active nurse performing their day-to-day activities in a hospital institution or at a patient’s home? Are you dealing with unnecessary stresses that come with the job that bog down your productivity? Time to say goodbye to all such stresses. If you don’t know how to deal with stress or if your current method isn’t working, then don’t worry, there are some ways to manage stress effectively so it doesn’t take over your life. So without further ado, let’s read about them.
Here are our top 10 tips for managing stress as a nurse.
Get Plenty of Rest Before You Start Your Shift
There are a number of factors that can contribute to stress in nurses, including long hours, shift work, high patient loads, and exposure to traumatic events. However, one of the most important things you can do to manage stress is to get enough rest. When you are well-rested, you will be able to think more clearly and handle stress more constructively.
Now ain’t that something? Besides, who really wants to work when they are stressed out with no rest, if you ask me, it’s a big NO!
When we talk about taking plenty of rest one might wonder what are his/her options… Well, the answer is quite simple, just sleep! It might not be that easy to do with the current lifestyle and work schedule but it is important. A good night’s sleep can help improve your mood, increase your energy levels, and sharpen your focus.
If you are finding it difficult to get enough rest, try to take a nap and then engage yourself in relaxing activities like gardening, taking the pet for a walk, cleaning your backyard, baking, reading a book, playing on your console, or listening to calming music before your shift ends.
Make Sure You Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
Another important thing you can do to manage stress is to make sure you are eating healthy and staying hydrated. When you are well-nourished, your body will be better able to cope with stress. Good food is not just good for your mental health, ahem… it’s also great for your immune system and other physical attributes, such as your body. A healthy diet can help reduce stress and improve your overall health.
Make sure to eat plenty of fruits & vegetables. You can also include whole grains, and lean protein in your daily diet. If you’re running out of fresh ideas for putting together the perfect meal of the day, you can always search for some interesting recipes on Google or YouTube. On the other hand, if cooking is not your thing, you can always order food from a healthy restaurant near you. Just remember to stay away from processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine.
In addition to eating healthy, it is also important to stay hydrated. So make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Stay Happy & Keep Your Humor Game Strong!
We all enjoy a good laugh now, don’t we? Well, believe it or not, nothing works more effectively in managing stress than laughter. Laughter is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall mood. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects.
In addition, laughter also helps you to relax and see things from a different perspective. It is a great way to take a break from your stressful thoughts and clear your mind. If you are feeling stressed, try to watch a funny movie or TV show, read a funny book, or spend time with friends who make you laugh.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it is also one of the most effective stress-busters. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects. Exercise also helps to improve your sleep, increase your energy levels, and sharpen your focus.
Having a regular workout routine will give you a break from your stressful thoughts and help you clear your mind. If you can, try to get some exercise every day. Even just a few minutes of activity can make a difference. Taking a brisk walk, going for a swim, or doing some yoga are all great options. Always remember! Working out on a regular basis will keep your body healthy and lighten up your mood.
Talk What Stresses You to Someone Who Understands
If you are feeling stressed, talking to someone who understands can be a great way to let off some steam. When you talk about your stressors, it relieves your mind of the burden and allows you to see things from a different perspective. If you are stuck in a never-ending thought loop and don’t exactly know how to find your way out, find a friend or a family member with whom you’re comfortable talking.
By letting the heat out, you allow yourself to think more rationally and find potential solutions to your problems. Talking to a therapist or counselor can also be helpful if you are struggling to cope with stress. If you don’t have anyone in your life who understands what you’re going through, consider joining a support group. There, you will meet people who are going through the same thing as you and can offer helpful advice.
At such group meetings, you will always find someone who’s looking for similar support.
Take Proper Breaks During Your Nursing Shifts
When you’re a travel nurse, it’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take breaks. In fact, taking proper breaks is crucial to managing stress. When you take a break, even just for a few minutes, it allows your mind to rest and rejuvenate. It also gives you a chance to clear your head and come back to your work with a fresh perspective.
Make sure to take at least a few minutes every couple of hours to walk around, drink some water, or just take a deep breath. And if you can, try to get out of the hospital or your patient’s personal care space for a few minutes each day to get some fresh air, it will definitely do wonders for your stress levels.
Set Aside Some “Me Time” Every Day
In this fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take care of yourself. But if you want to be able to manage stress effectively, it is important to set aside some time each day to do things that make you happy. This can be anything from reading a book, going for a walk, watching your favorite anime, talking to your loved one, or just taking a few minutes to meditate.
Find whatever it is that makes you happy and make sure to do it every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Having some “me time” will help you to relax and rejuvenate, both of which are crucial for managing stress.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
There are many different relaxation techniques that you can practice to help you manage stress. One of the most popular and effective techniques is deep breathing. When you take slow, deep breaths, it helps to calm your mind and body. Other relaxation techniques that you can try include progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and meditation.
Visualization is all about picturing yourself in a calm and relaxing place. It can be anywhere that you feel happy and at peace. Once you have a clear image in your mind, focus on the details of that place and really try to immerse yourself in it.
Meditation is another great relaxation technique, all it takes is a dark silent room or a natural setting or environment to relate with.
Experiment with different techniques and find the ones that work best for you.
As a Traveling Nurse, Keep Yourself Well Organized
One of the best ways to manage stress is to keep yourself well-organized. When you’re a travel nurse, there are a lot of things to keep track of, from your work schedule to your patients’ medical records. Having a system in place to keep track of everything will help to reduce your stress levels.
Investing in a good planner or calendar to keep track of your work schedule is a great way to stay organized. You can also use apps or online tools to help you stay organized. There are many different options out there, so take some time to find the ones that work best for you.
In addition to staying organized, it is also important to learn how to say “no.” When you’re a travel nurse, you will be inundated with requests from patients, doctors, and other nurses. And while it’s important to be a team player, you also need to know your limits. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s perfectly okay to say “no.”
Watch Out for These Common Symptoms
Being a nurse working around-clock shifts can be very demanding, both physically and emotionally. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress so that you can take the necessary steps before things go south for you.
Here are a few signs that you should be wary of:
- Emotional burnout
- Sadness and depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tiredness and fatigue
If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action right away. Consult a doctor, take your leave from the job and go on a vacation, it’s the only way out.
The sooner you start managing your stress, the better it is for your well-being. Believe it or not, but your mental health is key and you need to keep it stable.
So that’s just about it, here we have come to an end of our discussion on stress management for nurses. Stress is a very real and common issue that many nurses face on a daily basis. However, if you find a way to effectively manage your stress, it can make a world of difference in your career.
I hope you found this article helpful and that you will follow the tips mentioned above. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.