Long hours, high-stress scenarios, on your feet for what seems forever. As a nurse, you’re highly susceptible to burnout, depression, and physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. As stated in a nurse.org article on why nurses need mental health days, “According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI), nurses experience clinical depression at twice the rate of the general public. Depression affects 9% of everyday citizens, but 18% of nurses experience symptoms of depression.”
A little R & R is just the ticket to eliminating a bit of stress out of your daily life, and making you feel much better in the long run. Here are some relaxation tips for nurses, whether you’re at work or at home.
Who doesn’t love a little self-care? Take action into your own hands, and pampering yourself will be an easy and effective way to recover from your long days ahead. Consider purchasing a face mask or two, and have a routine skincare regimen.
Working the night shift? Consider applying a sleeping mask as a moisturizer to keep your skin moisturized. If at-home skincare isn’t your forte, purchase a massage at a local spa and get those pesky knots rubbed away. Other ideas can include going out to a fancy dinner or going to a movie at the theaters. However you choose to pamper yourself, make sure you stay present, and fully enjoy the experience.
Stress and anxiety are prevalent among clinical nurses. Taking care of mental health is not only one of the top relaxation tips for nurses, but it is highly important for your overall health. Meditation can help reduce stress, curb anxiety, and lengthen attention span, among many other beneficial factors. Apps for smartphones including Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer are highly rated to help individuals meditate and find a balance in their everyday life. In moments of stress, these apps can serve as tools to help you find inner peace, take a breath, and gather yourself.
Speak Your Mind
People often find themselves getting lost in a rabbit hole of thoughts. Since nursing is typically a high-stress profession, nurses may be more susceptible to getting lost in a spiral of self-doubt, negative perceptions, and overthinking, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Speaking to a close friend or even a therapist will help you get out of the negative headspace that can emotionally and physically exhaust you. Taking time to get your thoughts out will be beneficial to your psyche as well as your performance at the hospital.
Change It Up
After months or years of working long hours and stressful shifts, you might find yourself falling into a mundane pattern of repetition. Sometimes changing your habits and trying something new once in a while will provide you a distraction and sense of relaxation from your everyday routine. For example, try taking a different route home. You may see a new cafe or store that you want to check out on your next day off. Try a different hairstyle or beauty routine to boost your confidence and ease your stress. Whatever you are willing to change, it’s time to mix up the status quo.
One of the most obvious relaxation tips for nurses? A few extra z’s!
You are bound to be exhausted from a long day at work, so hitting the hay and catching up on sleep is much needed. Consider purchasing a fantastic bedtime partner–a new pillow! The perfect pillow may be the missing ingredient you need to get the best sleep possible. Check out some of the top-rated head resters recommended by USA Today. If you can’t fall asleep right after a stressful shift, try taking an herbal supplement such as melatonin, or sip some chamomile tea before bed. Going to bed at a reasonable hour (for you day shifters), and getting a solid 8-9 hours of sleep is key for better concentration and recovery for your next shift.
Other ways you can find some peace could be cooking something new, volunteering for an organization, or simply sitting down on the couch with a good book. Remembering to give yourself ways to rest and relax in order to feel recharged and refreshed for your next shift is essential. After all, nurses are the unsung heroes of healthcare.