Stress is a physiological and emotional reaction to a perceived situation that threatens your idea of how things should actually be. Unfortunately stress has very real consequences to our physical and emotional health. Left unchecked stress can cause heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
There are specific stress reduction techniques for nurses that can help you look after yourself, and your friends. After all, you spend the majority of your work career looking after other people, it’s time to look out for yourself.
Stress reduction techniques for nurses will help you deal with stress that we really shouldn’t avoid. Not all stress is bad – but our bodies interpret stress as stress. So, for instance, our bodies interprets the stress of getting engaged and married – which should be a good thing – the same as the stress of the death of a parent. Or the stress of starting a family has the same effect as the stress of loosing a job. Not all stress is bad.
But you need to be aware of when stress is affecting your job performance and your family life. Many nurses find that taking a proactive approach helps to improve their likelihood that they won’t suffer some of the physical signs of stress. Those signs can include a change in eating habits, feeling burned out at work, change in sleep patterns, feeling more easily frustrated or angry and developing minor illnesses that you have a difficult time getting rid of.
Many stress reduction techniques for nurses begin with recognizing what the stressors that are causing you the most pain. By recognizing the stressors you can determine if they are able to be modified or if you must learn to cope with them. It may be helpful to keep a stress diary which will help you identify when you feel the most stress and what may be causing it.
Managing stress reduction techniques for nurses begins with a healthy lifestyle. You know the routine – exercise, balanced diet, avoid smoking and alcohol and enough rest. The real trick as a nurse is to get enough sleep. With shift work, working weekends, holidays and nights as well as family responsibilities you may find hitting the sheets takes a back seat. Your health is your priority because without it the rest doesn’t matter.
Finding a good support network with your colleagues or understanding friends is very important. When your problems are shared so is the stress. You relieve stress when you don’t keep the problems bottled up inside – even though the situation may not change.
In a clinical situation asking for help when you need it or being able to talk through a situation with a good supervisor may make the difference between sleeping tonight or nightmares. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It isn’t a sign of weakness. You know that doctors would rather a patient be evaluated for a possible heart attack and risk the diagnosis of heart burn rather than die at home because they were too embarrassed to go to the emergency room. Management of your stress can prevent a heart attack and other physical ailments that can make your life difficult. It is a great sign of strength to admit you aren’t perfect and need help. Because honestly, none of us is perfect.
In your repertoire of stress reduction techniques for nurses include finding a balance between work and the rest of your life. Often our practice takes up the majority of our lives and our energies and we have nothing left to give our families, friends and hobbies. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” And then Jack will also have trouble with stress related diseases.
American Holistic Nurses: Holistic Stress management for Nurses
MayoClinic: Relaxation Techniques
HealthLeaders: Seven Strategies to Reduce Nurse Burnout
Jacksonville University: How To Reduce Stress in your nursing job
Iranian journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research: The Effective of Stress Management Training Program on Derpession, Anxiety and Stress of the Nursing Students
Applied Nursing Research: Self-Care Strategies for Nurses
Hawaii University: Relaxation Training Methods for Nurse managers in Hong kong