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While nursing is a rewarding profession, it can be mentally and physically draining. There are times when it is hard to give your body exactly what it needs. However, in order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Be sure to incorporate your own needs into your schedule each and every day. We have compiled a list of 10 relaxation tips to help unwind your mind and your body, so that you can be left effective and refreshed.
Listen To Your Body
Nursing is a very physically demanding job. You are on your feet all day, carrying heavy objects and people, and constantly walking to check on patients. That kind of physical stress can put its toll on your body. You have to listen to your body to make sure you aren’t hurting yourself. How well will you be able to care for patients if you throw your back out for a week?
Do a mental scan of your body each day. What feels sore? What feels like it can use a nice rub down? Start at your head and work your way down. Realize what is hurting and address the pain. If your back is hurting, perhaps you should be more careful with your lifting techniques. If your feet are hurting, you should probably invest in a new pair of shoes or inserts.
You should also definitely incorporate massages into your routine. A nice massage can work your muscles, while it reduces stress and tension from your life. Find a place near your work or home where you feel comfortable, and book a massage. You work hard. You deserved to be pampered from time to time. Plus, the relaxation and medical benefits of a massage are worth the time and money alone. Not to mention it feels amazing!
The world is a hectic place. Nurses can become stressed if they don’t find the correct balance in their lives. One way to find that balance is through meditation. Meditation is often prescribed as a remedy to cure stress. That’s because it actually works. Spend a few minutes a day meditating, and you will be a more relaxed and stress free person.
Meditation is also a great way for people to become attuned to their bodies and minds. It’s a way to shift your thinking from negative to positive, leaving you feeling happier and full of hope. Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and allow you to be more focused in your life and in your work.
If you want an easy and free way to reduce your stress, all you have to do is meditate. You can start off slowly, if you are unsure of where to start. Find a quiet and private space to be by yourself. Start off small, and then increase your time. Set a goal to meditate for a minute a day for the first few days. Soon, you will be meditating for 10-15 minutes a day without trouble. Allow yourself to let go of all negative thoughts. Then, let go of all thoughts in general. Of course, some thoughts will creep in. Just think of them as friends, not intruders. They are a part of who you are. Just try again, and don’t become frustrated with yourself. It takes a while to meditate without becoming distracted. Even the most seasoned meditation practitioner will have errant thoughts from time to time. Just relax and let the nothingness wash over you. There’s really no wrong way to connect with the universe.
It’s even easier with apps like Headspace or Calm, which help guide you into daily meditation thorough spoken audio.
Mindful deep breathing is one of the best ways to de-stress of all. The effects are immediate and noticeable. It is also the root of many relaxation practices. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and much more have great connections with deep breathing. Deep breathing is a way for people to really connect with their bodies in an organic way. There are also studies that show deep breathing can even have a positive impact on your blood pressure. That means something as simple as your breath can have positive medical benefits.
The best part about deep breathing practice, is that is can be done anywhere and is absolutely free. You can even unwind on your break for a few minutes to destress from a busy day at work. Stand up or sit up straight, slowly inhale through your nose, allow your belly to fill up until it can’t fill up anymore, and then slowly release the air through your mouth as if you were breathing through a tiny straw. From the first pass of your mindful breathing, you will immediately feel lighter in your mind. There is almost no way to feel stressed if you do a few repetitions of mindful breathing throughout the day.
Use Your Social Network
People are social beings. It is in our DNA to want to be around other humans. We aren’t meant to hide ourselves away or become totally self reliant. Use your social network to help you relax. Allow others to help you when you need a hand or two. Allow the people in your life to act as your support system. Surely, there were times in your life when you’ve helped others overcome an obstacle or two, don’t be shy when it’s your turn to benefit.
Something as simple as having a cup of coffee and a chat with a friend can be extremely beneficial. Have a connection with a friend. Let them in on your life, especially if you’re having problems. Share those burdens with the people close with you. They may help you find a solution you couldn’t see yourself.
Furthermore, you should ask for help when you need it. Do you need someone to watch your kids so you can enjoy a night out? Perhaps you need help painting a room? Whatever it is that you need, don’t be afraid to ask. As long as you are willing to reciprocate someday, that’s what friends are for.
Take some time each day to really be present. Notice the little things around you. How does the air feel? How sweet does the hot chocolate smell? What does your dog’s fur feel like? It might sound silly, but so many of us are just living on autopilot. We don’t take the time out of our days to really connect with the people and things around us.
Go out into the world with the purpose of really thinking about your surroundings. When you take the time to focus on the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around you it allows you to feel more at peace with the world around you. If you take the time to really create a bond with your senses, you will notice that you feel more relaxed. You don’t have to constantly go around with this renewed sense of being. Just try to be present with the people and things around you for a few minutes a day. You might find you really like how it feels, and try to stay linked for longer periods of time. Then you are welcome to go back to chasing Pokemon. Which in itself, is a great form of relaxation.
Have you ever heard the expression laughter is the best medicine? If you want to live a relaxed and happy life, just remember to laugh from time to time. A good natured belly laugh lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, and releases endorphins into your brain. In other words, fake it until you make it. Even if you don’t feel like laughing all that much, the act of laughing alone will release some stress.
Or if you feel like having a genuine laugh, call up a funny friend, tune into a good sitcom, or watch one of your favorite stand up comedians. Just do whatever might make you laugh.
Once you find yourself laughing more, it becomes a cycle of reduced stress. You will laugh more because you’re less stressed, and you’ll be less stressed because you laugh more. As a nurse, this is one vicious circle you would be relieved to be on. Find pleasure in the little things in life. Smile at a stranger, crack up laughing at bathroom jokes, and be kind to others. These are all things that are in your own power to do, that will also benefit your sanity. Nurses can get very worn out, so do your part to prevent that, and get laughing.
Listen to Music
Study after study shows that music greatly affects your mood. Listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and lower your heart rate. Many therapists use music as a form of therapy because it has immediate and helpful results. Music has a direct link to our emotions. Listening to a song can bring us back to happy or sad times, elicit strong feelings and memories, and even increase bonds between people. Can you think of a song that reminds you of a special person every time you hear it? That shows just how powerful music can be.
So, fill up your iPod, phone, or go old school with a CD, and listen to some tunes. The music can be listened to at any time of the day or night to help reduce some stress. We recommend sing alongs whenever possible. That helps you release some pent up energy. 80s power ballads anyone?
Exercise is good for almost every aspect of your life. No, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits either. Just the simple act of taking a walk or doing a few yoga poses can greatly reduce the signs of stress and depression. The act of exercising releases endorphins, or feel good chemicals into your brain, and basically puts you in a better mood. Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? Well, that high comes from endorphins, but running isn’t the only form of exercise to release those chemicals. Do something you fancy. Do you like to swim, go places on your bicycle, or engage in martial arts? Whatever it is that is fun for you, make a habit to incorporate it into your life.
Having a healthy amount of exercise in your life will not only reduce your stress to make you happier, it can also extend your life and make you healthier. So, if you find yourself stressed out on the job, take your break to do some jumping jacks, push-ups, or sit ups. A little bit of exercise can go a long way when it comes to stress. You might find you like exercise to be in solitude, without a bunch of people in your face. You might prefer to work out with a buddy to make the time pass faster. However you decide to exercise, know that it will do a great job at reducing stress and making your life easier in the long run.
Have a little time to unwind everyday. Everyone needs some time to just relax and decompress. Life can get hectic. Work, kids, conflicting schedules, and the basic pressures of life. However, this is something you just can’t miss. Set aside some time after each day to simply be. Your health and sanity can’t afford for you to miss this time each day.
Take a bubble bath, use a massage chair, paint your nails, or drink some tea. Whatever gives you some time to release the details of your day will greatly alleviate stress. Decompression time will not only help you, but it will also help your relationships with others. Imagine a version of yourself where you are stress free, happy, and calm. That vibe will definitely strengthen your relationship with others. If you don’t have that time to decompress, you might eventually lash out at others, and have that stress leach into your personal life. So, in the famous words of the Frozen song “Let It Go”.
Stress can creep in when people start to worry about what they don’t have, or start comparing themselves and their possessions to their peers. That kind of thinking can only bring envy and misery. Instead, everyone should focus on the things that they do have, and be grateful for them. Take some time everyday to be thankful for the people and things in your life that make you happy. For the special people in your life, it would even help to vocalize out loud how grateful you are to know them. This kind of gratitude will be a great way to show appreciation to others, as well as act as a mental activity to relieve stress.
If you can’t think of many things in your life that you’re grateful for, you should think of attainable goals to reach for that would make you grateful. Perhaps, you want more friends, or a hobby that gives you some peace. Think about volunteering at a homeless shelter or animal shelter. These are great places to make like minded friends, while also helping those less fortunate in your community.
This article originally featured on www.nursingschoolhub.com