4 Key tips for managing stress as a nurse

It’s simple; nursing and stress shouldn’t mix - but frequently do regardless. To be a nurse is to be a constantly energetic, compassionate, upbeat and generally ready-to-help presence in any hospital or nursing home.

However, from time to time stress enters our lives and works against us to try and prevent us from fulfilling our role.

Here’s a few tips to help retain positivity during stressful periods, to ensure that you can continue to perform to the best of your abilities.

Stick to healthier foods

Eating fresh foods that can stimulate your body in a positive way is key when trying to manage stress levels. Fatty, sugary meals and foods high in salt can inebriate brain activity essential to fighting stress and fatigue. By eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies as well as lean proteins and foods packed with fibre, our body benefits from more nutrients – nourishing body and soul.

Make the most of time off

Your weekly day off is time that you should cherish and capitalise on. All too frequently, the ‘sofa instinct’ is all-to-appealing, meaning that our days off from nursing become time ‘wasted’. On your day off choose to do something active or interesting to truly take your mind off of work. Expanding your horizons can really help manage your stress levels, and after all – watching TV never truly takes your mind off of your biggest challenges that are coming up ahead.

Create an exercise regime that you stick to

Nursing itself can be quite a challenging role physically as well as mentally. Being physically fit is important if you want your nursing career to have longevity, but can also play a vital role in your overall mental strength.

Exercise releases a large amount of endorphins – a ‘feel-good’ hormone which helps our body and mind to relax.

To help reduce stress levels, design an exercise regime that you can realistically stick to considering your intense work schedule. This could be a brisk walk every morning for 30 minutes. Or a 10-minute jog on the treadmill before work, and some core exercises in the evening.

Identify what is making you stressed

Lastly, and arguably the most important, the direct approach to managing stress is identifying exactly what it is that's stressing you out and confronting the problem head on. For example, if a colleague at work has upset you, causing you emotional distress, you should take the appropriate reaction to resolving this issue, be it with the person responsible, or with your superiors.

Knowing what is making you stressed will allow you to distinguish that horrible feeling of not being in control. By taking back control you are already well on your way to better managing your stress levels.

About the author
Emma Payne

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