Although nursing is a fulfilling career, we all have days where we need a little extra boost to keep us motivated and mentally at our best for our patients. By regularly incorporating self-care and relaxation techniques in your daily life, you can positively balance your mental attitude to enhance your nursing practice.
As an expression of our gratitude to hard working nurses, we want to provide you with opportunities for mindful respite by presenting some relaxation tips for nurses that you can utilize to bring you a bit of merited peace and serenity wherever you are.
Read on to learn some strategies to ease tension and anxiety that you can apply at work or home.
6 Recommendations to Help Nurses Decompress
Have you ever been so busy or stressed that you are barely breathing? Making a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply in times of tension will go a long way to help calm your nerves and get some needed oxygen flowing.
Find a quiet space away from others and distractions. Similar to what we teach our hyperventilating patients, breathe in through your nose slowly and out through your mouth with pursed lips in equally measured time. Smile at yourself because you know that you are practicing self-preservation and love, which you so richly deserve.
2. Laugh—A Lot!
Sometimes, all that we can do to relieve our tension is to laugh. Practicing laughter is the best way to loosen up, breathe deeply and get some positive endorphins flowing. Nurses who laugh frequently benefit from a whole-body boost, from increased heart and lung function to improved overall mood.
Elicit some help from humor websites, funny movies or magazine articles. Share your lighthearted finds with fellow nurses to help ease tensions and anxiety in the unit. Your laughter will become contagious, and soon the whole staff will be bolstering each other through humor regularly.
3. Seek a Change of Scenery
Walk outside to clear your head and take in a change of scenery. As we all know, nurses don’t always get to take advantage of their full breaks, so injecting even a short trek away from your workspace will do you wonders. Find a quiet space to close your eyes and relax or call a friend to chat.
As one of the easiest and most effective relaxation tips for nurses, taking a physical break from the unit is a sure-fire technique to recenter yourself each day.
4. Bend an Ear
Talking with a trusted colleague, loved one or friend will go a long way in aiding you to feel validated. Venting privately to a faithful friend is cathartic for any nurse who has had a bad day and needs a shoulder to cry on.
Bottling up negative emotions is an unhealthy habit that can lead to increased anxiety and eventual burn-out. Expressing yourself regularly is calming and necessary for mental well-being.
You may not be inclined to hit the ground in a downward-facing dog or cat-cow yoga pose, but stretching at work will help ease tension, relieve headaches and get the blood flowing to the brain and body. Yoga for nurses is one fun way to stretch by yourself at home or as a group after work together. There are numerous books, videos and podcasts to help nurses learn and enjoy yoga. Yoga is one of the best techniques for calming and anxiety relief.
6. Practice Gratitude
Some days, it may be hard to find moments when you are grateful, but focusing on the gifts in your life or at work will improve your overall mental health and well-being. By acknowledging the good in your life, appreciation for your blessings will become more apparent. By regularly recognizing the positive events and points in your life, gratefulness can become ingrained in your everyday thoughts and attitude.
Gratitude helps to increase mental health by:
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving relationships
- Seeing the world in a more optimistic light
For nurses who are disheartened, focusing on why you went into nursing in the first place may help you to remember the joy of helping a patient or family in need. Simple nursing moments can be captured and valued for what they are: caring and compassion when most needed by the most vulnerable. You make that happen every day, and you should be proud of what you accomplish as a nurse.
One thing that has become apparent in the last few years is that nurses need to take care of nurses. And that means taking care of yourself. In this challenging healthcare environment, nurses need all the tools for self-care that are available to stay mentally and physically well. By incorporating relaxation tips for nurses in your everyday routine, you’re on your way to a long and successful career as a superstar nurse.
Thank you for all you do in healthcare and Happy Nurses Week!