5 Ways to Leave a Stressful Nursing Shift Behind
How to reduce your stress, feel pampered and maximize your travel nurse benefits
By Nanette Wiser, contributor
As rewarding as travel nursing can be, everyone has those days when you can’t seem to stop for a bite to eat or even a bathroom break. If high-stress cases, high census, excessive computer charting, grumpy colleagues, demanding patients and throbbing feet get the best of you, schedule some after-work relaxation and pampering.
Nursing stress is common and can easily lead to nurse burnout, but with these easy stress management tips you will be feeling recharged in no time. Get your mojo back with these five sure-fire stressbusters.
[Beat stress with a travel nursing adventure arranged by the experts at NursesRx!]
1. Unplug and relax
As a travel nurse with NursesRx, you can count on excellent private housing that can double as a sanctuary after work. A quiet routine can quickly soothe your ruffled soul.
• Pull out those homey touches you’ve brought with you, such as lavender scented candles, eucalyptus bath salts and your favorite robe and fuzzy socks.
• Take a bubble bath, have a glass of wine and binge on your favorite TV show.
• Reward yourself with a delicious, light meal (chicken soup, salmon, salad, sushi), followed by a piece of dark chocolate as a healthy antioxidant reward.
• Wind down with some deep breathing, meditation or yoga stretches, then unplug your electrical devices and get a good night’s sleep.
2. Soothe your aching hands, feet, neck and back
Instead of popping a pain pill for your aching feet and joints, why not treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage or other treatment?
• Professional massages often include aromatherapy, essential oils, a warm massage table, soft lighting, instrumental music and gentle hands that can relax and restore your well-being. Get discounts and coupons via the local paper, Yelp, Groupon or colleagues in the know.
• Hot tubs, warm baths or foot soaks with Epsom salts can be just the ticket for many nurses.
• Stretching, swimming laps, yoga and Pilates help, too. Turn to YouTube exercise videos for inspiration or a favorite low impact exercise DVD.
• Other pain relief can come from chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, physical therapy and TENs stimulation.
3. Spa treatments -- just for you, or with friends
Spend a half day at a local spa for the ultimate stress relief. Just imagine yourself changing into a comfy robe, sipping cucumber lemon water, nibbling fresh fruit and being queen or king for the day! Choose from a variety of spa treatments, from mud baths and refreshing wraps to foot reflexology, massage and revitalizing facials. Some spas offer exercise classes and health lunches. Day spas offer a great way to spend time with new friends, including other travel nurses and staff. Check the local hotels and medical spas for the best deals, and prepare to be pampered.
4. Think positive and laugh
Some reports say that kids laugh more than 300 times a day; shouldn’t you? The Mayo Clinic confirms that laughter boosts endorphins and relieves stress, among other physical benefits.
• Go ahead and giggle over those funny cat and dog videos that everyone shares, or other Animal Planet-type spots.
• Browse through the funny greeting cards and read all the snarky Maxine jokes. It’s okay to chortle in the aisles.
• When you or someone at work is grumpy, add a quarter to the “happy hour” jar for get-togethers.
• Call, Skype or Facetime your best friend and guffaw about your day, or reminisce about that last trip to Vegas.
• Keep a gratitude journal and jot down what made you happy that day.
5. Find a relaxing escape
Travel nursing is essentially a working vacation, and that means 1,001 places to discover during your time off. Zip lines, water parks, biking trails, zoofaris, and beaches perfect for strolling can reduce stress and replace nagging worries with memorable new adventures. Check out the local food and music festivals in your assignment city, visit a historical town nearby or take up a sport you always meant to learn. Or stretch your limits and try white water rafting, parasailing or skiing; the adrenaline will make you forget your woes!
When you’re on a travel nursing assignment, it’s easy to find ways to unwind and reduce your stress between shifts. Don't let nursing stress overwhelm you! Pamper yourself or explore new horizons. You’re worth it!