If you have dedicated your life to helping patients, or you are in school studying up on how to break into the profession, you likely are short on time. You’re also likely well-acquainted with stress.
Here are my top five tips for how to deal with stress that should help you out a lot:
1) Your smart phone is meant for more than responding to calls and texts. Stock it with some favorite music that relaxes you, podcasts to keep your mind active, or comedy bits that make you laugh. Take a moment to watch a YouTube video, or load a fun game on there. Take advantage of this awesome device to help you relieve your stress. Also, use it to call your mom once in a while :-)
2) Careful to not alienate friends and family. It's easy to get sucked into the nurse's life and not come up for air for months, especially if your residency or education is far from home. Schedule specific days where you call family and friends, or send a quick text. They’ll thank you (and you’ll thank yourself) for not being a stranger.
3) Find or maintain at least one hobby that has nothing to do with healthcare. Keep your mind otherwise stimulated to help prevent burnout; maybe you could attend music concerts or get creative at a wine and painting night. Ah yes, and if you’re tight on cash, look up inexpensive or free activities in your area. Suggestion: Try MeetUp.com to find new people with common interests.
4) Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a new best-kept secret that’s just coming into the public eye. Those who experience ASMR describe a pleasant tingling sensation in their head and necks, as well as intense relaxation, sometimes even drowsiness. This phenomenon is triggered by sounds of tapping, whispering, paper crinkling, or brushing sounds. Discover ASMR videos on YouTube and note how you react. Perhaps your patients may respond to this non-invasive method of relaxation.
5) Know the difference between indulging and overdosing. Yes, sometimes it feels good to just have some ice cream or enjoy a glass of wine, but beware that when you’re stressed, and maybe not handling it well, that you could be over-using these comforts as a crutch. It is important to your patients that you are healthy and stable enough to take care of them.
Bonus tip: This reminds me. Remember that smoking is a rotten means of stress relief. If you want the supposed "relaxing effects" of smoking, stand in the fresh air, breathe in deeply, then breathe out.
Candy Campbell RN is an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco and is a DNP, RN & CNL. She is also famous for “Channeling Florence Nightingale: Integrity, Insight, Innovation” on stage and in print. http://candycampbell.com and candythenurse.com
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