Solutions that matter
The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for nurses who may be working longer hours and dealing with increased patient demand.
In addition to the added workload, nurses may also face the added stress of being away from family and friends, which can take a toll on their mental and physical well-being.
Let’s face it.
Holiday nursing stress is real. As a nurse, it’s easy to find yourself overworking to meet the demands of the holiday season.
The big question is: how can you manage this holiday stress as a nurse while keeping your sanity and health in check? Here are 5 strategies that can help you manage stress and maintain your well-being during the holiday season.
Healthcare is one of those industries where employees are always expected to be on the alert. This makes it challenging for those working in this sector to identify when they are suffering from stress. For one thing, a stressful situation always seems normal to them.
The effect of stress can make life unbearable for you as a nurse which is dangerous. To avoid putting yourself in a situation where you’re jeopardizing your health, you need to take a first step towards managing stress.
The first step in this direction is to know the red flags for stress. According to the American Holistic Nurses Association, some stress signs nurses experience are physical. Ever felt like your shoulders are painful, feeling pain in your lower back from lifting patients, and feelings of sensory overload from alarms and sirens? Know it’s your body telling you ‘I need rest.’
Short temperament, unusual irritation, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, lack of appetite, and self-confidence are other minute signs that all isn’t well. The moment you start seeing these, don’t ignore them. Your patients know you care and would love to see you stay healthy for the sake of your loved ones, yourself, and them.
It is important for you to be realistic and honest with yourself. Avoid too much commitment during the holidays to save yourself from burnout. To be able to achieve this, you need to come out with your holiday to-do list. Organize your calendar and respect the deadlines. Having a to-do list, however, isn’t a guarantee that you will respect what is there. This is where you need the help of family and friends to hold you accountable to your calendar. Get family and loved ones involved when you feel overwhelmed to handle some tasks.
You must be honest with yourself. You understand your body and moods better than anyone. So be able to acknowledge and accept when the feelings of stress start setting in. Only then can you be able to manage it. Running away or ignoring can never be a solution. Understand people care and are always willing to come in if you let them.
It’s a holiday and you want to catch up on those times you stayed away due to work and to do this, you use your holiday to get extra figures to purchase gifts for your loved ones. A time when you’re supposed to be relaxing and recharging.
You’re right that the holiday pay is enticing but do not also forget that the holiday is for you to take a break. So, rather than trying to get gifts for everyone and getting over fatigued, why not use the holiday to connect with those who matter? You already are a gift to them, so just enjoy the holiday while it lasts.
As a nurse, you’re responsible for taking care of others, but it’s just as important to take care of yourself. In today’s world where people get depressed every day, it’s important to practice self-care.
As a caregiver whose role is to take care of others and give them hope, it can become overwhelming sometimes to be at the giving end rather than receiving. Unfortunately, most nurses who are formidable caregivers often look past the fact that they too need to be taken care of. However, with the rise in mental health, experts agree that self-care is one of the reliable ways to stay healthy and preserve your mental health.
How then can you go about practicing self-care? Self-care is all about taking out time to do things that will help improve both your physical and mental health. As a nurse, you can do things like staying connected with family, eating healthy regularly, taking long breaks, staying hydrated especially if you’re working long shifts, making sleep a priority, and many more.
These self-care practices will help you feel more energized and better able to handle the demands of your job.
Physical activity is one of the most important ways to manage stress. Seizing the holiday to do regular physical activity can be beneficial to your overall well-being as a nurse. This is just another way to take care of yourself. As a nurse, you will agree that you hardly get enough physical exercise as you should. But the sore shoulders, backaches, and sleepless nights would need some good exercise to send them away.
Your busy schedule as a nurse gives the impression that there is no time for physical exercise. But you will also agree that you alone can make out that time. Good physical exercise helps lower your stress hormones, giving you the strength and energy you need to perform better. If you have been taking it lightly, then it’s time you start reconsidering.
Health is wealth and as a nurse, you understand this better.
The holiday season can be a stressful time for nurses, but it’s important to take care of yourself and exercise often to maintain your well-being. Don’t be afraid to seek support when you need it, and stay organized to help reduce feelings of overwhelm.
Being part of the healthcare industry is one of the best care you can offer to the community. But you can only offer this care if you’re in the best frame of mind. Managing and taking care of yourself puts you in the best state to manage and take care of others. Don’t ignore the red flags and practice these tips as often as you can.
With a little planning and self-care, you can make it through the holiday season feeling happy and healthy.
How do you manage holiday stress as a nurse? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.
Featured Image Credits: NurseJournal.org