According to the American Holistic Nurses’ Association, nurses are experiencing workplace stress at higher rates than most other professions. Stressors nurses often face include physical demands, management issues, lack of resources, and difficulty balancing home and work responsibilities. Nurses may also want to pursue continued education to elevate their careers, but feel overwhelmed by the stress of trying to fit it into an already busy schedule.
Seventy-two percent of people who have daily stress and anxiety say it interferes with their lives, according to an Anxiety Disorder Association of America survey. Stress has an effect on your body, mood and overall behavior. You may think that reoccurring headaches or muscle pain is related to an illness, but the Mayo Clinic states these are common side effect of stress.
Here are 6 tips on ways to reduce stress and create more balance in your life:
1. Set priorities
Where do you see your life in five years? Ten years? Use this as an opportunity to determine what your top three to five priorities should be. Now, take some time to determine and analyze how you are currently spending your time. Is your current schedule reflecting your priorities? If not, it’s time to slowly set boundaries or eliminate tasks that don’t contribute to your goals. Do you have priorities you’re not focusing on, like continuing your education? There is no time like the present to determine how to reach those goals or priorities.
It can be a challenge to get the proper amount of sleep when facing extended shifts and a busy agenda. Adults should sleep seven to nine hours per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Failing to get the recommended amount of sleep can result in several health concerns including lack of alertness, impaired memory, relationship stress, quality of life reduction and even a greater possibility of car accidents.
Physical activity can be a major stress reliever. Getting active produces endorphins, often referred to as the feel-good neurotransmitters. This release of tension and production of endorphins can improve your self-confidence and help you relax.
4. Allot time for hobbies
What activities or hobbies bring you happiness? Rather than scheduling reoccurring time for them allow yourself short bursts of time randomly. These moments will begin to feel like small indulgences. No time to read that book you’ve been eyeing? Twenty minute sessions spread over a few weeks makes the goal achievable.
Screens take up a lot of our time. Whether it’s answering emails, reviewing patient charts, scrolling through social media or school work, before you realize it hours have passed in front of a screen. By setting aside one screen free evening per week, you are able to enjoy the present, be more productive and become more aware of your surroundings.
6. Say yes to yourself
Saying yes to your needs and wants may require you to say no to others. Be wary of positioning others priorities before your own. In times of stress, it can be helpful to provide yourself with permission to be your priority. Framing this as saying yes to yourself allows it to be viewed in a more positive light.
The good news is that if nurses start incorporating some of these techniques into your daily living, it will help return some balance to your life while juggling your work and personal stress. If one of your goals is to enhance your degree, check out Chamberlain University’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree program; designed by nurses, for nurses and allows you to set your own schedule.
By Charlene Decrease
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