“Self-Care for Nurses”

By: Barb Ochampaugh, BSN, RN, CPAN

How do you relieve stress? Stress causes heart disease, increase blood pressure and can cause emotional exhaustion (Sherrod). Emotional exhaustion can lead to negative attitudes towards others which in time can lead to burnout. Stress reduces energy and can affect job performance. Effective stress management reduces the negative impact on health.

Do you eat a balanced diet? Exercise regularly? Have poor sleep habits?

A balanced diet gives you the nutrients you need for a healthy immune system. It also nourishes the brain (Sherrod). Do you eat mindfully? Mindful eating is chewing slowly to experience the flavor of the food. Put the fork down between bites, avoid processed foods, and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Stress eater? Try a glass of water before you eat the food you crave. Try breathing to avoid eating the wrong foods or while shopping and are tempted (Bitner).

Exercise is necessary to remain flexible and promote well-being. Do you get 30 minutes of cardio exercise four to five times a week? Simple steps are: park farther away, climb stairs, or take a walk before you return home from work. Do you have an exercise program? Swimming, yoga, biking or walking are inexpensive ideas you can do without joining a gym (Sherrod).

Take time for you. As nurses we are constantly nurturing others. Do you take time for you? Simple walking exercises on the way to or from work help. They can be a prayer, om, or enjoying nature. Music is another relaxation technique you can create for your ride to or from work (Dossey).

Aromatherapy are pleasing scents that have stress reducing and sleep producing properties. Lavender is a safe and effective scent that relaxes and helps you fall asleep. Rose is another relaxing scent. These are available in health food stores (Dossey).

Breathing exercises are another reducing technique. Inhale peace, exhale stress. Inhale, exhale, relax. These simple techniques can be used throughout the day when you feel stress enveloping you (Dossey).

Meditation works to relax and put you to sleep. There are recordings of meditations you can purchase. Practice every day to promote well-being (Dossey).

Set limits. We all have are saturation limits. It is okay to say no. Learn to delegate. Learn to balance work and home life. This will lead to a successful stress free living (Sherrod).

References Bitner, B. (2016). It’s only hard when you think about it. Times Union, May 29. P.2.
Dossey, B.M., Keegan, L. & Guzzetta, C.E. (2000). Holistic Nursing a Handbook for Practice Third Edition. Aspen Publications: Maryland.
Sherrod, D. & Campbell, L.R. (2015). Mental health tips for nurse managers. Nursing Management. 46:6. P. 40-45.
Skip to toolbar