Being a nurse may seem like a dream job. You work a few days a week and then have a few days off. It’s a job that many would crave because it’s nothing close to the normal 9-5 job.
Underneath the glitter is a ton of stress and burnout is commonplace among nurses. One recent study put the burnout rate among nurses at 49% for nurses under 30 and 40% of nurses between 30-40 years old.
With a rate that high, self-care for nurses becomes a critical part of managing yourself. There are a lot of reasons for burnout such as staff shortages. You can’t control that, but you can control how you take care of yourself.
Keep reading to learn the top self-care tips that you can start today.
Take All of Your Vacation Days
About half of all Americans didn’t use all of their vacation days last year. There’s a good chance you’re one of them. With the increasing pressures on our health care system, there’s more stress and pressure on you to show up for work.
The problem is that you need to get away from work to recharge. You have to give yourself the opportunity to step back and do something completely different.
For example, you can use your vacation time to attend a silent meditation retreat. You can spend more time with your family or use the time to go to the beach.
You have the days off and it’s within your rights to use them. Use them well and as often as you can.
Start a Yoga Practice
Yoga has been shown to help people manage stress and anxiety. You carry a lot of stress in your body. It’s a way to release tension in your body.
Yoga practice includes deep breathing techniques that can help you remain calm in the most challenging circumstances.
To get started, you can see if your place of employment offers yoga as part of their wellness program. You can always look up videos on YouTube to get started.
You don’t need to devote a lot of time to your practice. If you feel stressed out just thinking about adding one more thing to your list, then start small. Do something simple like a 15-minute routine.
Make Your Own Rules
One way to manage stress in your job is to manage your career. One of the biggest causes of stress among nurses is the job environment.
The thing that you have to remember is that you are not powerless to change your situation. You may not be able to control what happens at your place of work, but you can control where you work.
Companies are recognizing that nurses are burned out and are doing something about it. Flexwise Health created a program where you can find per diem assignments. That saves you from getting involved in office drama and politics.
These companies are worth a look because they allow you to take control of your career.
Ground Yourself in Nature
A lot of the time, we feel stress and anxiety because we don’t feel connected. That can lead to depression and isolation, which are sure signs of burnout.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to ground yourself. Walk around barefoot in the grass. Go on a long hike. Sit near a creek. If you’re lucky enough to near a lake or beach, go paddle boarding or kayaking.
You want to be able to connect with nature in a way that inspires you. It’s an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and stillness of the world around you.
Do What You Love
What brings you joy? It could be sitting in the park, going for a walk, going to the movies, or playing your favorite sport.
Make a list of things that you love to do and make you feel connected and happy when you do them. Do one of these things on your list at least once a week.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
At your job, you’re surrounded by negativity, whether that’s office politics or drama makers in your workplace.
Remembering to be grateful in every moment for who you are and what you have is the best way to combat that. It prevents you from getting sucked into the madness.
It doesn’t take much, at some point during the day, take a notebook and write down everything you’re grateful for. It could be your family, your friends, your sense of humor, the fact that you have a job, or anything else you want.
Focusing on what works in your life will help you see the possibilities in your life.
Where Does Self-Care for Nurses Begin?
The tips outlined here are meant to give you a few ideas to put you on the path of self-care. The main thing to remember is that self-care for nurses begins with one step.
It doesn’t have to be a huge step and you certainly don’t need to do everything on this list. Pick the one thing that appeals to you the most. Start integrating that item into your life on a daily basis.
For example, let’s say you want to start a yoga practice. Take 15 minutes every day to do yoga either before or after you
Self-care is really a lifelong habit, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to develop and implement every day. When you build momentum, don’t stop. Keep going and building on that momentum.
You might add more time to your yoga practice or start a gratitude journal. Do whatever you feel is right for you.
It’s Your Career. It’s Your Life.
Being a nurse can be a blessing and a joy. It’s a rewarding job that offers great benefits. Yet, there’s a potential dark side to nursing. That’s stress and burnout.
It’s important to manage yourself as much as it is to manage your job. By using the self-care for nurses tips outlined here, you can extend your career and have a more balanced and manageable life.
Do you need a little motivation to get started? Check out these motivational quotes for a healthy lifestyle.