How to De-Stress After Your Nursing Shift

de-stress tips for nursesEveryone has days when they feel stressed out, and if you work in healthcare, you may have had many. Healthcare can be a very stressful job. Even if you love the work, there can be days when stress is high.

What Causes Stress Among Healthcare Workers?

Working in healthcare can be tough for a number of reasons. In some situations, healthcare workers may be dealing with life and death circumstances, which is a lot of pressure even for the calmest person. In addition, patients can be demanding when they do not feel well. Healthcare workers may also have to deal with pressure to meet a certain level of productivity, which can add to feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, employees who work the graveyard shift may be dealing with an unconventional sleep schedule.

The Cost of Stress

A little stress is unavoidable and can keep you alert. But chronic stress is never a good thing. Too much stress can lead to depression and interfere with relationships. Stress can also cause burnout and a poor job performance.

In addition to emotional issues, stress can also cause physical problems to develop. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress increases your chances of developing conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. Too much stress can also increase cortisol levels in the blood, which may lead to problems losing weight and sleep difficulties.

Finding Time to Relax

With all the possible consequences of stress, making time to de-stress should be a priority. If you are a healthcare worker, you are probably used to taking care of others. But it is essential to recognize signs of stress in yourself. Signs of stress include:

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Physical complaints, such as headaches
  • Feeling anxious frequently
  • Increased anger or moodiness

Ways to De-Stress

There are several ways to combat stress. But it may take a little trial and error to determine what works best for you.

Exercise: Whether you enjoy walking, swimming or dance classes, getting regular exercise is one of the best ways you can de-stress. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain, which help promote relaxation. Try to do some type of aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes on most days.

Deep Breathing: If you are looking for a quick way to relax, deep breathing may do the trick. When you feel stress building, take a minute and breathe deep. Slow, deep breathing can lower your blood pressure and decrease anxiety.

Laugh: It is hard to feel stressed, when you are smiling. Think about it. How did you feel after you had a really good laugh? The answer is, probably pretty good. Laughing releases endorphins, which are chemicals that boost mood. Find things that make you laugh. Read a funny book, watch a comedy, or spend time with people who make you laugh. Laughing is good for stress reduction

Counseling: In some cases, professional help dealing with stress may be needed. If you don’t see a reduction in your stress level, after trying some things at home, consider talking to a counselor who can provide you with ways to cope with stress.

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