When it comes to workplace stress, healthcare ranks alarmingly high. In fact, medical workers are experiencing unprecedented rates of burnout. In a recent survey by Washington Post, 55% of front-line staff reported physical and mental exhaustion from chronic job-related stress. Due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers are clocking long hours in understaffed facilities, with too many patients and little support. Nurses appear to be suffering the most, with recent studies reporting higher rates of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD in nurses.
Now more than ever, it’s important that nurses take the right steps to protect their mental and emotional health. If you’re a nurse, keep reading for self-care tips to help you avoid burnout and stay healthy.
Learn how to say no.
As a nurse, you can’t deliver the quality care your patients need if you’re drowning in work. You shouldn’t feel obligated to take on more responsibility, hours, or patients than you’re able to. If you’re feeling pressured by your manager to max out your workload, arrange a sit-down with them so you can voice your concerns.
Lean on your coworkers.
Nobody understands your work stress better than the people you work with. Try to open up to your coworkers when you’re feeling overwhelmed – and make sure to ask for help when you need it. Having a support system at work will help get you through hard days and give you a safe space to vent when you’re struggling.
Consider talking to a pro.
If you think you might need a little extra support, consider connecting with a mental health professional. A therapist can help you work through negative thoughts and introduce you to cognitive tools to better manage stress. If you don’t have time for in-person visits, these online therapy companies can match you with a counselor for convenient virtual sessions.
Make the most of your time off.
Whatever your off time looks like, make sure you’re giving your mind and body the break they need. Whether that means lying on the couch or going to a rock concert, try to turn off your nurse brain and just relax. That way, you can return to work feeling refreshed and energized.
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