A primary duty for all nurses is caring for the wellbeing of others, however, it’s just as important to prioritise your own work/life balance to ensure you perform your best and feel good too. Relaxation can be split into two factors; mental and physical. There’s no definitive answer as to what will work best for you, find what appeals to you with these relaxation tips for nurses and earn yourself some much needed TLC. We have provided tips you can use at home and at work.
Relaxation Tips for Nurses whilst in Work
1. Take Your Entitled Breaks
With the average UK registered nurse’s working hours ranging from 37 to 42 hours per week, you are entitled to a minimum of a 20 minute break (if over 6 hours are worked daily) in accordance with The Working Time Regulations 1998 Act.
It’s often extremely easy to prioritise others over yourself, or find yourself stuck for time with the demanding nature of the job. However, taking 20 minutes to one side, whether it’s having your lunch, reading your favourite book or embracing your favourite Spotify playlist, gives yourself a brief and relaxing distraction from what’s going around you.
2. Refocus Your Outlook
Whilst the common advice to combat stress is to distract yourself, it’s sometimes important to take a step back and refocus on the bigger picture. As stressful and demanding being a nurse is, you’re making a difference to people’s lives every single day.
It’s easy to get caught up on the negative factors so make sure to focus on the positives and remember you’re playing a key role in helping people return to good health.
3. Confide In Professional Support Schemes
It’s understandable that simple stress reduction techniques don’t always necessarily lead to instant relaxation - it can be a much longer process. If you are a registered NHS nurse, you have access to various occupational health services including counselling. Often with the work on and off the clock, nurses rarely have time to express their feelings properly, thanks to unsociable hours worked and demanding shifts. If you feel the need to talk to someone, you are eligible to either do this individually or as part as a group. This give you the chance to express your feelings/concerns in a professional and understanding environment.
4. Breathing Techniques
Relaxation can come in many forms. Unwinding can be as simple as performing simple breathing exercises. By breathing in a slow and performed fashion, you can lower your heart rate that has necessarily built up from the demands of a busy ward or the heaps of paperwork that remains on your mind.
5. Prioritise Your Nutrition
Whilst having breaks and frequent exercise can be just as important, your nutrition plays a key part in your general happiness and wellbeing. Invest time and money into well balanced light food to keep you energised throughout the day to ensure your patience, stamina and output levels are at their highest.
In short, swap the 7am coffee for green tea (containing the antioxidant L-theanine), swap the cheese string for an avocado (containing serotonin) and better yet, allow for the addition of some dark chocolate (high in magnesium) on your lunch.
Relaxation Tips For Nurses Outside Of Work
6. Take Your Entitled Holidays
Whilst most NHS nurses are entitled to a minimum of 27 days per year (subject to increases based on experience), it’s important that you utilise them. Your holidays will allow you to unwind, refresh and focus on the other priorities in your life that you don’t necessarily get to think about during an average working week. Whether it means you go abroad, spend some much needed alone time in front of the TV, if it helps you relax - that’s what they’re there for.
Nurses can often find the idea of socialising outside work as something that isn’t feasible, with the demand of working weekends or night shifts. Whilst it may seem hard to maintain, socialising can be as simple as a Skype call to a friend in a spare 5 minutes to even going shopping for your favourite pair of shoes. Even though you may prefer to chill on your evenings off, do your best to organise catch ups with your friends. An evening out with friends can be the perfect relaxations tip for nurses.
A common suggestion that’s often overlooked due to fatigue, is the idea of exercising. However, exercise can provide not only a distraction, but also a sense of direction. Whether you’re working towards getting fit, toning your body or just trying to get that feeling of accomplishment. They’re all beneficial.
9. Pick What’s Right For You
Relaxing can seem like an impossible task when you work in such a demanding environment. However, just like anything, just because it doesn’t feel possible, doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t need to be done. Maintain a positive outlook and trial different relaxation methods to get the best personal and job satisfaction that you possibly can.
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