Nurse exercising in off time to combat stress

Here are 3 Quick Ways for Nurses to Relieve Stress

What is the secret to lowering stress for nurses?

Stress is not uncommon in the nursing industry. How do we cope? How do we go back in for our next assigned shift? 

Stress As We Know It

The Nursing profession seems like a revolving door of stressors that can be overwhelming. Constant call-lights going off, the never-ending medication pass, new orders just placed by the doctor, the confused and not-so-pleasant patient attempting to climb out of bed for the eighth time since shift change, or the patient that just decided to crash. Conventional Wisdom acknowledges that nursing is an incredibly stressful career and recommends making real efforts to manage that stress. RegisteredNurse.org discusses stress management strategies such as:

  • Talking about it
  • Recruiting support
  • Exercising
  • Finding a Hobby
  • Breathing Deeply
  • Seeking Help if stress is getting too great

Whether you are aware of it or not you have probably used stress-reducing techniques so you can face another day. In my own career, I inadvertently implement several of those techniques to reduce my stress at different times; talking out stressors with my family, exercising, or eating a healthier meal. But I find there are three techniques that have become my essential go to’s for quick stress relief throughout the shift on a regular basis.

Quick Stress Relief

  1. Deep Breathing – Do you often find yourself taking a deep breath or a giant sigh when you are about to walk into a patient’s room? This can be a great thing. It is something that doesn’t take an hour away from your day, but can literally be done within a minute. Focusing on that one moment and really centering your mind on the tasks at hand can be a tremendous help and allow you to keep moving forward in your day. 
  2. A Proper Lunch BreakDon’t get me wrong… when I first started out in my career I sacrificed a lot of “full thirty-minute” breaks to get back out to my patients. I thought I was that “super-nurse”, but quickly learned that I was not helping ANYONE by doing that. I ended up feeling more drained and burnt out by the end of the day versus when I would sit back, slowly eat my lunch, and get away from the workflow. I reminded myself that the work would always be there and I needed to take care of my well-being so I can take care of the sick and those in need. They would always benefit more from a well-rested nurse after her lunch break. 
  3. The Right TunesI find myself after a long shift quickly turning on something to help me “defrag” from my day. The majority of the time it is something uplifting like a spiritual talk or peppy music. And on other days it’s an educational podcast. Some days I don’t even turn on the radio… but on the days that I do a  great song can totally change my mood! It immediately changes my attitude and gets me ready to meet my family with a happier and less-stressed out heart. 

Find Your Pace

Stress is a normal and natural part of the nursing profession. Our assignment as nurses is to find out what stress relief techniques work best for each of us in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Now is the time to get to know yourself and figure out the best techniques for you. Try new things, explore new avenues, but stay grounded and stress-free.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and everything will be a-okay.