Reply To: Stress

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Many hospitals have employee assistance programs where you can go and have a free confidential conversation with a mental health professional and no one else will know you asked for help.

In the mean time, are you doing things for yourself on your days off? Do you have friends outside of work or in the neighborhood? Do you exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week? Do you have hobbies, do you have a religious/spiritual connection? Do you have a work friend who can give you honest feedback on whether you are doing anything that is causing undue stress while you are working? Are you taking regular days off? Vacations? Are you taking advantage of continuing education benefits offered by your employer? I am not suggesting that you have to do all of these things, just things that you could look at to see if you have the work/life balance you want or need.

Do you take the time to eat healthy things at work? Some times nurses skip meals, and rest breaks and even bathroom breaks! Think about what advice you would give another nurse about what is happening to you and then take that advice yourself. Even on the busiest days, take 5 or 10 minutes to recharge yourself, or else you could endanger patients as Jason explained.

Learn some stress reduction techniques that you can practice at work, like deep breathing, visualizing, meditation, prayer. How about soothing music in the break room, lower level lights, calming art work? Have a unit potluck or after hours party, do things that help develop friendships/relationships at work, which will help you work better as a team and as a byproduct lessen everyone’s stresses.
If there are things that could be done on your unit to decrease stresses for everyone, then volunteer on the unit committees to implement changes.

Reflect back on your shift when you are finished, express appreciation to coworkers who helped you, pat yourself on the back for the good things you did for the patients, remember the positive feedback you got from patients and families for your care that day.

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