Stress Management

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Stress Management

by
Louise Diehl, RN, MSN, ND, CCRN, ACNS-BC, NP-C
Nurse Practitioner - Owner
Doctor of Naturopathy
Lehigh Valley Wellness Center

Does nursing seem stressful to you? Take some time to read the following article and see if you find some relief.

Nursing is stressful as many occupations are. If you are a nurse your typical day could be as follows.

  • You start the day rushing around getting ready for work
  • If you have small children at home, you are trying to get them ready for school
  • You fight the rush hour traffic on the commute to work
  • Once at work - you get your work assignment and attempt to get report without too many interruptions
  • After report you then try to determine a plan for completing the required tasks/procedures and care required for your patients including time for documentation
  • You spend the entire shift running around trying to complete your work and many times not getting a break or meal.
  • You are probably finishing up your documentation at the end of your shift or after your shift has completed.
  • You may even work overtime in order to cover for the next shift or to complete the tasks you didn’t get time to finish.
  • You then fight the hectic traffic again on your commute home
  • Once you arrive home, you start another shift
  • Getting dinner ready
  • Completing household chores and tasks
  • Rushing your children off to various extracurricular activities
  • If you are “lucky” you get a few minutes to read the local newspaper or watch some television. You wonder if you will ever get to read your nursing journals which are accumulating on a pile.
  • You help your children with their homework or complete some other family responsibilities
  • You help get your children to bed and hope to have some time for yourself
  • You end up finishing chores, doing paperwork or some other related household activity and never end up with any time for yourself
  • You go to bed much later than you had planned and have difficulty falling asleep, because your mind is racing and your body is still in high gear
  • You get less sleep than you should and feel chronically tired and exhausted
  • You repeat this scenario over and over every day

With this as the day’s agenda of a typical nurse is it any wonder you can’t handle stress. You have not taken the opportunity to recharge yourself and relax. You exist in a constant sleep deprived state. You need to break this vicious cycle in order to help balance life, work and the stress involved with both.

There are tips for helping you manage stress in your workplace

  1. Recognize potential and actual problems
  2. Take an active role in problem resolution by solving the small problems and participating in committees aimed at resolving larger problems.
  3. Learn to say “NO” to voluntary overtime and additional work assignments if you feel you are unable to handle additional the commitments
  4. Take scheduled breaks and lunches.
  5. Take scheduled time off or vacation time
  6. Reorganized your assignment in a workable, organized format
  7. If possible select a job that has a decreased amount of stress, yet provides you with enough stimulation and challenges to promote career growth
  8. If you sit primarily during your day, take time to walk and stretch.
  9. If you are on your feet or walk primarily on your shift, take time to sit and gather your thoughts and energy.
  10. Make a clear division between work and home. This is extremely important is you are self-employed.

There are many ways to decrease stress in your life Here are some suggestions:

  1. Relax and read a book or magazine that you have been hoping to read in a long time.
  2. Light some candles and take a warm relaxing bath with your favorite aromatherapy product.
  3. Engage in some type of physical exercise.
  4. Take a hike in the woods or your favorite tourist attraction.
  5. Do some flower or vegetable gardening
  6. Watch a comedy or “old” movie
  7. Take up a hobby
  8. Play a musical instrument
  9. Adopt a pet and make time to play and snuggle together
  10. Sit outside and watch the sunset
  11. Plan a family picnic or activity with your children or family
  12. Visit a recreational or amusement park
  13. Sit and listen to your favorite music
  14. Drink a cup of your favorite herbal tea
  15. Take a well deserved nap
  16. Take a trip to feed the ducks at the local park or feed the fish at your local fish hatchery
  17. Take a leisurely walk through the nearest arboretum or flower garden.
  18. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers and place them in a prominent location in your home, where you will see and smell them often.
  19. Treat yourself to a large ice cream sundae or banana split
  20. Grab your fishing pole and head out to the local fishing “hot” spot.
  21. Find a church to attend and spend some quality time in prayer and meditation.
  22. Make your favorite meal and enjoy it in a candlelight atmosphere
  23. Give your significant others a well deserved hug and kisses
  24. Sit and do nothing and just relax, without feeling guilty about it.
  25. If it is winter time, go for a sled ride or just play in the snow.


These are just some suggestions, you can probably think of many other ways to help decrease your stress. Just take the time to do it from time to time, before "burnout" sets in.