Are you finding that your schedule and responsibilities sometimes feel overwhelming and difficult to balance? Just when you feel like you’re caught up on your “to-do” list, do you feel like you’re suddenly behind again? As fulfilling and rewarding as the nursing profession can be, it can also be demanding both mentally and physically. First of all, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can do this! Next, focus on your needs by using some of the tips below to bring relaxation and balance to your life.
- Know your support system
Long hours and sometimes challenging or heart wrenching patient situations can leave you feeling like you don’t have enough fuel left at the end of a shift to care for you. Know who your core support system is and lean on them when the going gets tough. Is it your best friend, significant other, parents or another nurse in your department? Think about the people you can depend on most when you just need to talk through the highs and lows of being a nurse.
- Take time to exercise
Just 20-30 minutes of activity each day can reduce your stress and gets those wonderful endorphins to kick in = making you happy. Working out doesn’t have to take place in a gym. Think creatively! Take a walk with your dog, swim, go for a bike ride or hike with friends. Before you know it, you’ll feel energized and relaxed.
- Don’t forget to breathe
It seems simple…breathe. But, when your adrenaline gets pumping or the nerves set in, it can be difficult to do. Become familiar with your own responses to hectic or stressful situations and make sure you make a conscious effort to take a breath. Preferably, take the time to do some deep breathing. During or after a shift sit or stand and slowly inhale through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. Do this at least 10 times and be mindful of your breath and you’ll likely feel relaxed quickly.
- Be grateful
In the day-to-day, it’s easy to focus on what you need to accomplish or check off your ‘to-do’ list. Competing schedules, priorities and the demands of life often get in the way of recognizing all there is to be grateful for. Remember – you’re a nurse! Take the time to recognize your gratefulness for being part of a profession that has the ability to impact people and healthcare delivery. Each day, take just a few minutes to recognize 2-3 things that you’re grateful for, and you’ll find that it will keep you grounded in the important things in life and bring you a sense of relaxation and contentment.
For more nursing tips, check out these blog posts:
- Just Say OM: How Cultivating Mindfulness Can Enhance Your Nursing Practice
- The Balancing Act: 6 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance
By Natalie Sobolewski
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