Although it can be one of the most rewarding professions, nursing can also be the most stressful. Understaffing, limited breaks, ultra-long shifts and a lack of training are among the reasons that nurses are leaving the NHS in their droves. In order to be able to look after your patients, it’s vital that you look after yourself. Take steps to manage your nursing stress and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed.
Stress can be extremely damaging to your health and cause short-term symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia. High levels of stress over time can cause severe depression and even leave you with an increased risk of a heart attack. (We’re sure we don’t need to tell you, you’re the nurse!)
By incorporating some of our following tips to manage your nursing stress, you can keep yourself healthy – both mentally and physically:
Exercise to Manage Nursing Stress
Exercise is nature’s greatest stress-reliever. When you exercise your body will pump feel-good chemicals called endorphins through your system, causing you to instantly feel better and less anxious. It’s for this reason that many people get ‘runner’s high’ for a few hours after exercising. Adopting a regular exercise regime will better your mood and decrease stress levels. It’s obviously also great to keep yourself in shape too!
Take Your Breaks
We can’t stress (excuse the pun!) this one enough – take your breaks! It’s impossible for you to work constantly for an 8, 10 or 12-hour shift without giving yourself regular breaks to recharge your batteries. Make sure you take time for yourself at work regardless of how busy you are!
Get Enough Sleep
One of the biggest factors that can contribute towards stress is not getting enough sleep. Adults need between at least 7 and 8 hours of sleep to function at their best. If you’re not getting a good night’s rest you’ll be much more prone to slower reactions, poor memory and decreased mood the next day. Not getting a good night’s sleep can also affect your immune system and cause you to become unwell, which isn’t good for you or your patients.
Eating a balanced diet is essential if you want to manage your nursing stress effectively. Healthy foods which give you a slow release of energy throughout the day are vital if you’re working a long shift. Foods rich in B vitamins, such as avocados, are proven stress-relievers due to their ability to nourish your brain and nerve cells. Plan your meals wisely!
Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.