Are you one of those people who stresses about stress before there is even stress to stress about? Nurses navigate many stressful challenges in their daily work lives — shift work, under-staffing and patient management to name just a few — which often take a huge emotional toll. To help you out, we have summarised an excellent article from the Mindful Innovative Action (MIA) blog to provide nurses with five simple techniques to keep their stress levels under control.
- Practice mindfulness meditation
This suggestion is a “favourite” of MIA and has been scientifically proven to “combat chronic stress” in many academic studies. Mindfulness “is simply observing the sensations of the body and/or thoughts that drift through the mind without judgement”. The practice — which has many proven health benefits including reducing stress, anxiety and depression — can be done through a task as simple as brushing your teeth! If you need some help with this you’re in luck! As part of our Mindfulness May NurseStrong campaign we are offering nurses a 40% discount for MIA’s Stress Less, Live Well mindfulness program developed for nurses by nurses. Check out how to get involved at the end of the article.
- Regular exercise
Can a list of health tips be complete if it doesn’t mention exercise? Luckily it appears second on MIA’s list. They echo the recommendation of Dr. Erica Jackson that “150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week” is needed to adequately manage stress levels. This means it’s time to bring back that morning walk from the too hard basket…
- Visit a therapist
Seeking professional support is an excellent way to manage potentially damaging stress levels. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can assist in replacing “irrational, counter-factual beliefs with more accurate and beneficial ones”. CBT empowers individuals to break free from many bad habits that “greatly exacerbate stress”.
- Reach out to friends
Hanging out with friends is often the last thing to enter our minds after a draining day at work. However, a lack of social interaction can undermine the “well-being of nearly every bodily system”. MIA makes the great suggestion that “the next time you feel stressed out, deny that impulse to bury yourself in your blankets, and set a coffee date with a friend”.
- Laugh more
No, this isn’t a joke. The last item to appear on this list is “one of the most intuitive treatments for stress”— laughter. Laughing “increases oxygen intake, causes the brain to release endorphins, stimulates circulation, and helps clenched muscles relax”, all of which greatly assist in reducing the body’s stress levels. So when stress starts to feel overwhelming, try visiting your favourite meme page or cheekily indulging in a Netflix rom-com.
The next time stress sets in, try one of these great suggestions to keep your levels in check. The full article is available on the MIA blog.