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There is no doubt that doctors play a vital role in the healthcare industry, but nurses also make up a significant percentage. They work at the front lines in all healthcare settings, providing quality care to patients and keeping the doctors updated with relevant patient health information.

While doctors diagnose and devise treatment plans, nurses take exceptional care of patients and administer medicines. Satisfactory patient outcomes are only possible when doctors and nurses put in collective and collaborative efforts.

Workplace Stress Facing Nurses

In today’s dynamic healthcare field, a nurse’s role is not limited to bedside patient care. They educate the public on preventing illnesses, help communities overcome health issues, and assist public health workers in policymaking. Like any other profession, a nursing job is hectic and physically draining.

Nurses face unprecedented challenges and unforeseen events almost regularly. For instance, the pandemic shook the entire healthcare industry unlike it did any other. Due to this, nurses had to adapt to the pandemic events and modify their work routines.

In such circumstances, compassion fatigue, burnout, and stress are a few inevitable side effects of nursing. A career in nursing indeed offers lucrative rewards along with job security and stability. But the high workload can potentially contribute to health issues if nurses don’t tackle them promptly. For this reason, nurses must learn coping mechanisms and devise strategies to limit workplace stress. They must work on their emotional intelligence to reduce stress, overcome compassion fatigue, and improve job performance.

Emotional intelligence has become a crucial skill for nurses today. So, if you’re seeking to excel in the nursing field, work on your emotional quotient. Alongside this, nurses must hone leadership skills to score higher positions and lead their organization during unprecedented times. For this purpose, they can enroll in an online RN to BSN program and develop the essential skills. These online programs equip nurses to meet the challenges of the ever-growing healthcare industry.

Although stressors related to the workplace environment are largely out of our hands, a hobby can help relieve some distress. So, let’s look at some activities that will help nurses unwind.

Exercise

Irrespective of the countless early morning commitments to yourself, the truth is that you will be less inclined to participate in physical activity after a tiresome day at work. Nonetheless, without a doubt, exercise is the best form of physical activity that keeps you fit and helps relax the mind.

We all have read about how exercise relaxes the mind and body but simultaneously, you must have wondered about its science. The answer lies in endorphins. Our body produces endorphins when we exercise regularly, resulting in improved mood.

As a nurse, more than half of your time goes into looking after patients while handling other tasks. Nurses require physical stamina to carry out such tasks, which only exercise can provide.

Squeezing in even a maximum of 30-minute walk into the daily routine can make you capable of performing strenuous tasks without the risk of injury.

Taking up Art Therapy

Art is a form of distraction. It helps take the mind off stress and shifts focus towards emotions that relieve stress. If you haven’t explored your creative side yet, now is the time to do so by taking up art therapy.

Crafting and experimenting with different mediums enables you to channel your energy into productive ways. Amidst ensuring patient care, nurses often forget to take care of themselves which eventually aggravates stress.

Such incidences make it mandatory to detach yourself from the busy life and indulge in activities that help unwind and bring forth new skills. As a nurse, painting, sculpting, or DIY projects will give you the break you need.

Additionally, according to a study, art allows nursing students to slow down and observe things more closely. A skill that every nurse should have to improve job performance.

Journaling

It is no surprise that a nurse’s compassion can be rewarding and depleting. Expressing your feeling or tending to self-care is crucial to dealing with stress. You might find writing down your feeling an effort that you are not interested in after a busy day. However, journaling your emotions promotes understanding and self-awareness.

Journaling is a foundation for reflective thinking that nurses can utilize to improve health and well-being. One of the reasons why stress usually aggravates is that we cannot share our thoughts or what goes into our daily routine.

However, nurses often look forward to unloading the work-related burden towards the end of the day. And journaling is a viable and effective way to do so. It helps decrease burnout and improve critical thinking skills, including general observation, self-awareness, and recalling incidents.

Gardening

Nothing is more relaxing than finding an escape from the grueling work life. The best way to do that is by trying your hand at gardening.

Gardening is undeniably a great stress reliever for several reasons, like getting fresh air and creating a comfortable environment at home. The way we approach gardening determines how relaxing it can be. If it is seen as a source of enjoyment, it helps relax your mind and body. The key to unwinding is focusing on the task that comes with gardening, which involves digging and chopping.

These activities, besides releasing stress, also allow the mind to wander freely with only thoughts keeping company. Since gardening involves physical activity, it boosts mood and improves sleep. If you are too busy to exercise, gardening will keep you physically fit.

Conclusion

A nurse’s job can be excessively exhausting. That’s why it’s important to prevent occupational stress from impacting your mental health and other aspects of life. Several factors cause stress, such as long work hours, heavy workload, conflicts with colleagues, etc. Stress among nurses results in loss of compassion for patients and malpractice leading to poor quality of care.

While some factors leading to mental health problems are not in nurses’ hands, certain activities or hobbies can help nurses unwind from the busy routine. These could be either journaling or exercising regularly. Alongside this, nurses should set aside time from their busy schedules to socialize with friends and family members. These efforts will eventually enable nurses to tackle stress and burnout effectively.

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