The Nurses' Secrets to Fighting Stress
Posted on June 08 2016
Let’s face it, Nursing is one profession that’s certainly not for the the faint of heart!
Covering 12 (and plus) hour shifts, being up in their feet all that time, running between rooms non-stop, answering call bells, cleaning bodily fluids, feeding and lifting patients, dealing with upset family members, talking to doctors, educating patients, and re-assessing patients at least twice per shift....
...nursing is arguably one of the most stressing careers there are!
So how are nurses all around America, and the world, leading with the amount of stress that is generated on a daily basis?
Well, in this blog post I will lay out how nurses deal with stress and achieve relaxing, out-of-the-job, ‘me times’.
If you are a nurse struggling with high stress levels, or if you are in any other stressing profession, these might quickly become the solution for you!
Dealing With Stress
According to the AHNA (American Holistic Nurse's Association), over 70% of all nurses cite the acute and chronic effects of stress among their own top 3 health concerns. Stress is no joke, and it can have lasting effects on your health - something that nurses are clearly aware of!
The AHNA had several excellent points to make about how nurses in particular can handle stress - but even if you're not a nurse, these are excellent points you can incorporate into your day to day life.
They pointed out:
- Your thoughts affect every cell in your body - so try (even if it's difficult) to practice mindfulness, and keep your thoughts as positive and uplifting as you can. This is related to their next point:
- Your emotions affect your thoughts, and your thoughts affect your emotions - so keeping a handle on both will help you remain calmer and more balanced throughout the day. The Mighty Nurse blog also points out how important your attitude is to fighting stress - maintaining an "attitude of gratitude" goes a long way towards rising above many of the little things that can add up to big stress.
- Taking care of your body will help you cope with stress better. A healthy diet, plenty of water, and exercise (some yoga, perhaps?) go a long way towards enabling you to better fight off the harmful effects of chronic stress. Again, this is recommended from several stress-fighting sources. Even simply walking during your lunch break, going for a walk with your dog after work, or practicing some yoga in the morning before you start your day can help your body better cope with the demands made on it during your work day.
The American Nurse's Association had practical and environmental suggestions for fighting stress within your workplace.
- Foster a culture of purposeful communication - even if your boss may not be the best at communicating, that doesn't mean you can't work towards full and open communication with your coworkers. Information is powerful, after all, and the more that you and your team are able to communicate, the better you'll perform, the easier your job will be, and the less stress you'll experience.
- Get - and stay - organized! Nurses are particularly prone to feeling like they have to be a superhero within the workplace, but even a superhero needs to stay organized. Knowing where things are, how your day is planned out, and what you should expect from your day will go a long way towards decreasing stress.
- Find a mentor to help guide you. A mentor can help you express your concerns or simply vent, an extremely valuable resource for nurses, who often bottle everything up. Mentors in particular are helpful because they may be able to provide you insight on how to better handle a situation next time - and so you're less likely to be quite so stressed if the situation happens again.
The Mighty Nurse blog has their own suggestions for stress management, which include taking a moment to "meditate on the toilet" - hey, with a day as hectic as a nurse's often is, the peace and quiet in the bathroom can be like heaven!
While you're enjoying a little alone time, you can enjoy some of the powerful aromatherapy benefits of essential oils. By wearing very small amounts, especially in a diffuser necklace or bracelet, you can hold up your wrist or jewelry to your nose and take a deep breath. Aromatherapy is an incredibly powerful tool, and it's increasingly gaining recognition as a way to compliment traditional nursing practices (as well as aid the nurses themselves).
Which essential oils should you use for stress-fighting aromatherapy?
Frankincense Essential Oil is quite popular because it offers a lot of great benefits: Inhaling Frankincense centers the mind and relaxes the body.
This grounding scent sends a message to the limbic system, or the part of the brain that controls emotions, and slows breathing, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and increases the immune system. It is also a good aid for skin care, especially mature skin.
When you've just come from a rough situation or an intense moment, Frankincense is a powerful oil to help calm and ground your body's reactions to stress. Keep reading about Frankincense Essential Oil right here.
Cedarwood Essential Oil is also a great oil for stress-fighting properties. Atlas Cedarwood is a large, aromatic tree that has been revered for millennia. It has been used as a medicine, a cosmetic agent, and is considered to be one of the earliest incense materials.
An aromatherapy session with Cedarwood Essential Oil relaxes both mind and body, so don’t doubt in relying on it when you sneak away for a little privacy and stress-fighting break. Check out the reason why it is renowned for its calming and grounding properties right here.
And you can find our list of the top 5 oils to beat stress right here!
But take note on this one, stress and anxiety are NOT the same. Anxiety can often come as a negative consequence of stress, but I really recommend you to take a good read out of this blog post so you can tell between both by their symptoms and characteristics.
Dealing With Anxiety
Anxiety is one of those things that you really can’t shake – and if you’ve got anxiety, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s not that there is anything in particular that’s wrong, you just can’t shake that feeling that something might be wrong, or could go wrong.
Nurses can be victims of any kind of anxiety, so if you are looking for a natural remedy to help you fight off anxiety, take a look at this great list of helpful Oils and make sure you take notes for avoiding anxiety!
Tips for handling anxiety, as opposed to stress, start off similar to the stress fighting techniques above. Coping with your stress will help you in the battle against anxiety. In addition to stress fighting techniques, you can try these as well:
- Don't focus too much on being perfect. You're human, and with that, you have to realize that imperfections are part and parcel of what defines being human. It's okay to make mistakes - everyone does, and you can't beat yourself up too hard over it.
- Focus on breathing through your anxiety. This is also a helpful stress fighting tip, but deep, calm breaths can help you get past a particularly anxious episode. Combine that with a quick meditation for mindfulness, and you'll start to rise above the situation or concerns that are making you so worried.
- Talk about it. Even if you don't have a mentor, try to find friends within your workplace, outside of it, or through online support forums that you can talk to and work through your anxieties with. The more you keep the feelings bottled up, the more they can poison your thoughts and emotions.
- Remember that anxiety doesn't stop you from being a great nurse - or from being great at your job, even if you're not a nurse. You care, deeply, about what you do, and that translates to the quality of your work. The people you care for or work with will be able to see your passion and your concern for their well-being!
Headaches are the worst.
For many nurses there’s little you can do to stop them. Stress, fatigue, not enough sleep, too much to do and too little time to do it – these can all contribute to painful headaches that make it even harder to get anything done.
You can fight most headaches by following the basic rules for taking care of yourself, both body and mind:
- Try to get a good night's sleep. Aim for the amount your body tells you is ideal - for some folks, that's as few as 6 hours, but for many more of us, 7 to 8 hours of sleep is more ideal. Don't underestimate the power of rest to help your body recuperate and prevent painful headaches!
- Eat as healthy as you can. Drink lots of water, try to avoid too many processed foods, and incorporate natural sources of fiber into your diet. It can be impossible to eat a completely organic, healthy meal for every meal of the day, but you can still make healthy choices when you dine out or prepare your lunch for the day. Food is fuel for your body, and the better your fuel, the better you'll feel!
- Exercise! While the last thing you might want to do at the end of the day is go for a run or hit the gym, try incorporating some yoga into your morning routine. You could also try adding walks to your lunch break, or after work, to help you work through the day and balance your thoughts.
Rather than turn to chemicals when a headache does strike, you can try these essential oils to fight your headaches for you. You’ll still want to make sure that you’ve checked the common, simple causes for headaches I've listed above - there's no amount of aromatherapy that can cure a headache brought on by dehydration!
Alleviating the Physical Symptoms of Stress with Essential Oils
Have you ever helped someone through (or experienced for yourself) the annoyance of joint pain in your knees, ankles, hips, wrists or back?
As you know if you've experienced it, this can cause muscle aches, spasms, and inflammation that can eventually lead to arthritis, rheumatism, and severe joint pains. And sadly, most of the treatment methods used for arthritis can lead to nasty, undesired side effects.
This is why so many nurses around the world are choosing to use and recommend the natural powers of essential oils to treat joint pains, and to prevent and fight arthritis and rheumatism!
There are 4 Essential Oils (Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary, Juniper & Roman Chamomile) that are just what the doctor recommended for you (not really, be aware that Essential Oils will never substitute the efficiency of lab tested drugs, but you get the point :P).
In this blog post you’ll get nice insights into each one so you know where to go when joint pains needs a fast healing.
Also make sure to check this useful list of the Top 5 Essential Oil Blends for Soothing Sore Muscles, they really come in handy for applying revitalizing and therapeutic massages!
Everyday Use of Essential Oils
This section is dedicated for the daily use of Essential Oils and how they are able to shift your whole routine. This could be of an impressive help for all nurses out there that feel that each day takes them to their limit. In an office, you can diffuse many of these in an ultrasonic diffuser, but for nurses, a more subtle application on the wrists or in diffuser jewelry you can hide under your scrubs may be better suited.
We have found that oil blends are really powerful for the everyday use, that’s why here at Peloha we provide guidance for you to choose the blend that is most fit for your routine and needs. Check this cool guide, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect blend for your daily needs!
Also, roll ons are extremely popular because they make it so easy to travel with your essential oils. You can take your favorite stress-relieving blend with you to the hospital and use it in between shifts so you can perform your tasks with calm and ease. Keep one in your pocket to hold up to your nose, rather than apply topically, when you take deep breaths to calm and center yourself during a stealth bathroom break.
There are different oil blends that are designed to achieve different purposes, so look at this blog entry for you to find just the right Roll-on blend for you!
I know I am making you read a lot…
...but I promise that if you are a nurse or know someone who is, the information that we provide for you is really valuable and can help you shift your job stress into a motor that drives you even through the darkest shifts! :)
I am going to leave you the last articles I recommend for you to enhance your daily experience as an incredible nurse! I’ve seen it work in the past, so you should try adding Essential Oils to your daily routine and work and you can kiss stress bye bye!
I hope you found the information on this one practical and useful. Remember to share your favorite Essential Oils for getting rid of stress in the job in the comments below and check out our blog posts and browse our categories to find more information you might be interested in!
May your life be always filled with PeLoHa (Peace, Love, Happiness.)