Saturday, October 03, 2020

Life of a Nurse: Handling Stress and Burnout

Healthcare workers are indeed modern day superheroes. The world may see us as such due to our sacrifices in saving the lives of people but at the end of the day, all are just human beings with health limitations. Every day, healthcare workers like us, nurses, are facing exhausting situations in the workplace like increase in patient ratio, failure to eat meals on time and lack of adequate sleep given from changing schedule shifting patterns. Mental Stress could be a result of conflicts will colleagues, pressure to finish all tasks in the shift as well as studying researches and new policies. Even after work hours, overthinking and anxiety about what will happen the next day is unhealthy, all these could lead to burnout and social detachment to the environment. Therefore, nurses should make ways to handle stress and burnout as much as possible. As a nurse working in a demanding and risky area where every day is a challenge; I want to give my personal ways of coping with stress and burnout.

First, let us review some definitions.

STRESS: An antecedent of stimulus, as a consequence of a response. (NCFBI)

BURNOUT: A worker’s reaction to chronic stress. (Frendenberger HJ, 1974)

There are a lot of lists online about handling stress and burnout but I generalized them by what I do personally and is proven effective to myself.

REST YOUR MIND. As much as possible detach yourself from thinking about work related things upon going home. After taking a hot shower, meditate for 5-10 minutes. Turn off your electronic gadgets even for a short while. Take deep breaths. These sure steps will help you cleanse your mind.

LISTEN TO MUSIC/ WATCH FEEL GOOD MOVIES OR TV SERIES. Music Therapy can calm your mind. Take some time to browse stress relieving playlists or your favorite songs on Spotify. There are also varieties of feel good movies on Netflix or other movie sites. A good Rom-Com or Comedy Movie/Series could make you laugh and get you into a good mood.

TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES. Voicing out your thoughts can release your emotional tensions. Feel free to have a talk with someone you trust very well. He/She may be your parents, best friend or lover. A great support system will strengthen your confidence as well as relieve anxiety.

KEEP A JOURNAL OR PERSONAL BLOG. Have some time to write down your thoughts, goals or reflections for the day. Old school as it may seem, a diary is a great aid for expressing yourself privately. Keeping a personal blog online is also a good idea but be careful to not post everything personal online.

CONNECT WITH NATURE. Going for a walk in a park full of trees and plants or a stroll in the beach if nearby will result in calming effect to the mind shutting off toxic thoughts.

EAT DELICIOUS FOOD. A few scoop of Ice Cream or a small bar of chocolate will stimulate your hormones like Endorphins that will lift up your mood. Just take precautions of eating in moderation to avoid stress eating leading to increase weight and health risks.

A tidy and clean house could clear your mind leading to less stimulus for stress. Keep all unnecessary things in cabinets, clear away trash and organize your things.

Reference for Definitions:

National Center for Biotechnology Information:

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