7 Nurse Stress Management Techniques That Work

nurse stress managementBy David Searls, Contributor

Unfortunately, nurse stress and burnout can go hand in hand. The long and irregular hours, and stressful environment can negatively impact your physical and mental health.

The good news is that there are many nurse stress management techniques that you can use to reduce nurse stress and burnout. 

Below are 7 nurse stress management techniques that have proven successful for managing nurse stress and burnout. 

7 Nurse Stress Management Techniques That Work

1. Find a Job You Love

There’s nothing more anxiety-provoking than being in a job you dislike or worse--dread. 

The starting point to staying in good physical and mental health is finding a nursing job that makes you eager to get to work in the morning -- or whenever your shift starts.

If you are looking for a change of pace, you might want to consider travel nursing. 

With travel nursing, you have the freedom to choose jobs, locations and shifts that work best for your lifestyle.

Whether you accept an assignment in a neighboring state or a job in a part of the country you’ve always wanted to explore, you’ll make new adventure a significant part of your career.

BROWSE thousands of travel nursing jobs across the U.S.

2. Remember Why You Became a Nurse

When you are dealing with a difficult patient or you are overwhelmed with a heavy caseload, take a step back and try to remember why you first became a nurse. 

You chose nursing as a profession because you wanted to make a positive impact in your community and help those in need.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Being a nurse is an incredible accomplishment. Give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while—you deserve it! 

3. Burn Some Calories

When you are over-scheduled and your workday is grueling, it’s difficult to find time for exercise. 

Exercise, however, is a great nurse stress management tool. In fact, physical activity has been directly linked to lower stress rates. 

Not only will the time you invest in your workout pay workday dividends, but it will also benefit other aspects of your life outside of work. 

Have trouble finding time to exercise? Check out these 10 best apps for nurses who like to break a sweat while on the go.

4. Try Yoga or Meditation

When things get stressful, try channeling your inner chi. The mental and physical health benefits of yoga and meditation has been well documented.  

According to a report from the National Institute of Health (NIH), “practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia.”

If you’d like to experiment with yoga or meditation on your own before committing to a class, you’ll find several informative YouTube videos on the subject.

5. Eat Right

The proper diet can make you stronger, give you a boost of energy and even calm nerves. 

In fact, eating a diet of whole grains and healthy fiber helps produce and regulate mood-regulating chemical serotonin. 

Take a look at these ten foods and how they can help you alleviate stress in your professional life.

[Related: Travel Nurses And Junk Food: Are You Guilty?]

6. Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are a simple and easy way to reduce stress and tension when things get hectic. 

There are many different breathing exercises. Belly breathing, for example, is one of the easiest and most common. 

Here’s how it works:

  • First, sit or lie flat in a comfortable position
  • Place your left hand on your belly just below your ribs and your right hand on your chest
  • Breathe deep through your nose, letting your belly push your hand out
  • Breathe out, feeling the hand on your belly go in
  • Repeat this motion 3 to 10 times, taking your time with each breath

7. Take Time to Have a Social Life

It’s important to “step away” from your job on your days off. Spending time with friends and family is a great way to reduce stress. 

In addition, set aside time to participate in any hobbies or passions you may have; for instance, hiking, reading or painting.  

Don’t let the daily pressures burn out your enthusiasm for the job. Try the 7 nurse stress management tips above to help reduce nurse stress and burnout.

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