Top 7 Simple Tips to Help Manage Stress When Working Long Shifts

In some of the research I have read, 75% of adults worldwide report that they are facing a huge amount of stress in everyday life. The rest are no exception from it and they feel it from time to time. This frightening information most of the time, is related to work and all the responsibilities and due dates that our work could bring.

As a nurse, you are always expected to be highly precise and reliable to every single patient you are taking care of. Taking care of someone requires no room for error,  lots of emotional stability and the most important – self care. But, in the world full of difficult and deathly ill patients, lack of social support and constant time pressure in the hospital, how is it even possible to remain calm, motivated and empowered? Stress makes not only a dysfunctional organizational climate at work, but mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders. Suffering from loss of appetite, high blood pressure, nausea, constipation or difficulties with sleeping? The main cause might be STRESS.

In this article I suggest 7 techniques and tricks that I believe will help you cope with stressful situations as they develop.

Make the first step! – Indeed, it is one of the hardest, but many stress specialists suggest making small changes in your everyday life. Firstly, you may start with a balanced diet and healthy food. Of course, no change will be effective if you do not reduce the amount of coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. It is advised and well known that junk food or food high in bad cholesterol such as potato chips can also negatively impact natural stress relief capability. Some of you might think that cigarettes help relieve feelings of stress which is false. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are a big “no no” when coping with stress.

Exercise !!! – Not only you will get the perfect shape of your body, but you will feel free from pressure. It is healthy, it doesn’t take much time (even 15 minutes workout is better than not working out at all), you will get in track with your body, you will have energy to work faster and you will feel more relieved. It is well known that exercising stimulates the release of some hormones such as endorphins that are known for “mood” hormones. Improving your quality sleep time and boosting up your confidence is always a “plus” when you exercise on a regular basis.

Spend as much time as you can with family and friends – “Friends are cheaper than therapy”, right? A good talk with a close friend or family member will sometimes get all the help you need. I prefer talking to my close friends because most of the time I am getting a more objective view of the problem. On the other side,  some family members know you better than you know yourself and can help you dealing with stress even more! Spend more time with those whose company you enjoy. Nothing relieves your stress and charges your batteries like people you love and care about. And also you release oxytocin, the mediator of anti-stress life, well-being and bonding.

Free some time to dedicate to yourself – even when you feel dead-tired,  free some time to enjoy on your own and incorporate whatever method makes you feel the most relaxed into your daily routine.  Fill your tub with bubbles and half an hour will be enough to relax your body and muscles and therefore, stress. Choose some hobbies that don’t take much of your free time and change your focus from hard work to something different and peaceful. For example: yoga, mediation, book reading, listening to music, playing golf and playing piano, etc. Sometimes, it is even possible to do it in the hospital on a 10 minutes pause. And, of course, pouring some essential oil of your choice  into a diffuser while relaxing and inhaling it, is very purifying and stress-relieving.

Laugh is an ultimate medication – as cliché as it sounds, medical researches prove that laughing can really relieve stress and anxiety. Laughing reduces physical pain and improves the function of blood vessels. Using laughing as a defense mechanism sometimes can help manage a stressful situation better.

Taking care of pets – either walking a dog or teaching a parrot to speak can also be very relaxing. Pets are very well known for their positive influence on their owners as they themselves are very positive and undemanding. Because of it you can share in confidence that they will always listen, be there for you and never reveal your deepest problems and fears.

Plan your day – when you plan your day you can be more productive and have less stress because of better time management and fewer obstacles along the way. Planning meals, work obligations, breaks, reading, meetings or other activities during the day makes you also plan your sleeping better.

If you still believe that you can not deal with everyday stress on your own because of your nursing job and you feel like your problems are interfering with your ability to function at work, with your family, and in your social life, you do not have to worry and panic because you are not alone. Millions of people, including nurses and different kinds of medical stuff, seek professional help because it is proven that seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist makes a big difference. So, managing stress is REALLY possible, you just need to find the right way that works for you to face it, look it in its eyes and say: “Dear stress, let’s break up today!”

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