5 Stress Relief Tactics to Transform Your Mental Heath

As we race toward winter, you may be asking, “How do I handle the stress in nurse jobs during the pandemic?” Working in the health system is stressful enough in normal times. With a new and more infectious COVID-19 spike threatening to overwhelm America’s health system, your stress levels are likely to hit a new peak, too.

A survey conducted by Nursing Times earlier this year found that 90% of nurses are more stressed than usual.

Your mental health is essential to your job satisfaction, your relationships with colleagues, your home life, and the level of care you provide to patients.

In this article, you’ll learn some techniques and habits that will help you keep your sanity during the pandemic.

What Is Making You Stressed About Your Role in Nursing?

To combat high stress levels, you must first identify what it is that is damaging your mental health. Saying ‘the pandemic’ is not enough. You must drill down into the detail and understand your stressors.

The Nursing Times survey found that the main stressors are:

  • Concerns about the lack of PPE
  • The possibility of being infected
  • The potential to infect family and friends

The risks associated with coronavirus are with nurses every day. In addition, the knowledge that the whole of the United States is depending upon you is an extra burden that weighs heavily on your shoulders. You cannot simply stop going to work.

How Is Stress Affecting You?

Stress affects people in different ways, though you may recognize some of the common symptoms of stress in yourself:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Fatigue at work
  • Irritable
  • Poor health
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Constant worry about your loved ones

In short, stress can affect both your mental and physical health.

What Can You Do to Manage Stress More Effectively?

Having identified that you are suffering from stress and what it is that is causing extra stress, you can begin to develop strategies to manage your stress more effectively. Here are five strategies that will help you cope with your workplace stress.

Stress Relief Tactic #1: Mentally Prepare for Your Shift

Before walking into your shift, take some time to combat your negative thoughts:

  • Breath slowly and deeply to help calm your body
  • Write your concerns down
  • Consider those concerns and imagine how they can be resolved positively

Stress Relief Tactic #2: Check in With Your Mental State

During the day, take regular moments to check in with your mental state. Focus on how you are coping with all that is happening around you – and consider the positive impact that you are having on your patients and your colleagues.

Stress Relief Tactic #3: Check in With Your Colleagues

Don’t be coy about sharing your concerns. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Understanding that others are feeling the same emotions can help you realize that you are not alone in this. Sharing experiences and coping mechanisms is important in the management of the mental health of all in your team.

Stress Relief Tactic #4: Don’t Neglect Your Breaks

Yes, it is busy. Yes, there is a whole host of people relying on you. Which is why it is crucial that you take your breaks. A few minutes to recharge your batteries is essential to the level of care you are providing. Skipping breaks is a sure-fire way to become burned out faster.

Make sure you take time to eat, drink, and rest during your shift. Prepare healthy snacks before you go to work, and ensure you always have water handy.

Stress Relief Tactic #5: Work on Your Work/Life Balance

Make time for yourself and your home life. Leave work at work, and outside of work make sure that you do the things you love to do most. If you are finding it hard to leave your work behind you, make the following process a daily habit:

  • Before you set off for home, think about your shift and acknowledge the difficulties you experienced. What have you learned that you can do differently in the future?
  • Think about the positive impact you had and the things that you should continue to be doing.
  • Cement the fact that your shift has ended with an everyday action – perhaps something as easy as three deep breaths immediately before turning the ignition key in your car.
  • Think about the positive hours ahead and how you will relax to help your stress ebb away.

Regain Your Sense of Purpose

Unlike any other profession, people who work in health have a deep sense of purpose. Helping others is a calling, and one which you mostly enjoy. However, the stress on your shoulders through these tough times can break you.

Many nurses and other healthcare professionals find that altering how they work is the medicine they need to recharge their career and reduce the stress that is damaging their work/life balance.

If you have never considered a career in per diem nursing or as a local travel nurse in Kansas (you won’t have to move away from home), then now is the time to contact QS Nurses to discover the health and lifestyle benefits that a change could make.