Nurses must make extra effort to wind down and relax after a stressful day at work. This recovery period is crucial to being able to get up the next day for the next shift in order to deliver quality care all over again. Apart from being an occupational hazard, we know that stress is detrimental to our health and well-being. This has been proven time and again by research; therefore, the value and importance of rest really cannot be overstated. We suggest some tried & tested relaxation practices that nurses can easily pick up and integrate into their busy lifestyles.
Sleep, sleep, sleep!
The importance of sleep is better stressed by the effects of when you’re not getting enough of it. Sleep-deprived individuals increase their risk for developing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Over time, this has also shown a link to a shorter lifespan.
Invest into making your bedroom a relaxing environment; try not to bring anything work-related into your safe space. Set a time to wind down every night. Really treat sleep with as much importance as possible.
Many people swear by the benefits of meditation. It is a great form of self-care and keeps you from burning out. This can be especially helpful for nurses who are in high pressure and high stress situations all day.
By practicing mindfulness through meditation, nurses can improve their care by being a better colleague, and by being more compassionate towards their patients & their families.
Here’s a helpful guide from the New Jersey State Nurses Association:
Indulge in a warm bath and massage
A warm bath is great for tight nerves and sore muscles. Make it extra special with essential oils, too. A warm bath is also one of the best ways to unwind and get a good night’s sleep. A great supplement is massages, which release endorphin hormones to help you relax.
Overall, the combination of a warm bath and massage will do you good–your levels of anxiety and depression can be greatly reduced and recharge you for the next shift.
Exercise is yet another commonsensical practice for relaxation. Nurses should find the time to get moving, even if shifts can already take a toll on the body. A good work out will reduce stress hormones and boost endorphin release.
Try a new physical activity like pilates or jogging. Going hiking or playing badminton with colleagues are good ways to decompress, too.
The importance of striking work-life balance should be a priority, especially for healthcare professionals. It takes time to learn how to properly relax, so be patient with yourself and try different things to see what works best. What’s important is to make an effort to clear your head at the end of every shift and give yourself the care you give to patients all day.
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