5 little ways for nurses to relieve stress

iStock | Cottonfioc

iStock | Cottonfioc

It can be hard to de-stress as a nurse. Not only is your job incredibly stressful and emotional, but also you tend to work long hours and rotating shifts. Finding the time to relax can be tough, but as you know, it’s so important for your mental and physical health. So what’s a busy nurse to do? Try these five little stress-relievers:

1. Ask your friends to make you mixtapes for your car ride to and from work. Or, if you have time after a shift, make your own! They can be full of music you know and love or have yet to discover. Music is an ideal way to de-stress your mind and either pump you up on the way to the hospital or calm you down after a long shift. It’s great to have discs for both – one with fun jams and another of acoustic goodies.

2. It may be hard for you to find the time to do full facials or other major spa treatments, but there are smaller things you can do to help you feel good! Many people shower in the morning, but consider showering at night, or taking a bath if you have time after a long shift. Light candles, play your favorite tunes…whatever helps you relax and forget about that difficult patient and how much your feet hurt.

3. Stop at the animal shelter on the way home from the hospital and visit with a dog or cat. It only has to take 15 minutes, but visiting with an animal you love has a great way of relieving stress and putting things like that cranky patient, catty coworker and arrogant resident into perspective.

4. Start a Netflix queue of movies you can’t wait to see, or an Amazon wish list of books you’ve been meaning to read. Then every day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, find the time to make your way (maybe slowly!) through a book, movie or TV show. Dipping into someone else’s reality can help alleviate the stress from your own hectic life as a nurse.

5. Buy a journal, put it next to your bed and end your day by jotting down notes—anything that will make you feel better by writing it down. For example, write what you love about being a nurse, and add to it each time something else inspires you at work (this will be a great read on those tougher days!). Or jot down your work fears, as just writing them down can help you work through them.

Nurses, what small things do you do to help relieve stress?

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2 Responses to 5 little ways for nurses to relieve stress

  1. Lisa Meyer

    Two recommendations: 1) Pick something creative to do with your hands, from painting or woodworking to sewing. My co-workers know some kind of knitting project will always finds its way out of my purse at break time. It may not be cheaper than medication, the way I buy yarn, but it’s healthier, and has the added benefit of staving off cognitive losses. 2) Exercise. 20-30 minutes a day, walk, run, cycle, row, whatever works for you. When I worked in psych, I went walking every day after work until I wasn’t hearing what my patients had been saying all day long anymore. Sounds crazy but it worked.

  2. TheNurseyNurse

    I jog and think about the things I enjoy most during my run.

    Or I will just jump on Pinterest and Pin for hours!