Taking Care of Your Mental Health As a Nurse
1. Step Away
2. Keep a Record
Journaling is another simple technique for keeping on top of complex feelings. If you are naturally anxious you may have tried some form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is usually done under the supervision of a mental health practitioner but it doesn’t mean you can’t use some of anxiety management techniques in your day-to-day life.
Keeping a simple gratitude journal and noting down three things every day that you are grateful for can help to put things into perspective. Set a time where you can do this uninterrupted and just take a few minutes out of the chaos to really think about the things you really value in life. Do you have supportive friends and family? Write that down. If you have kids, do you value the love of your children? Make a note. It doesn’t have to always be deep, maybe you’re really grateful for your favorite pizza after a long hard day? Keeping a record of all the best things means you can return to them after a bad day, or when you need a little boost of joy and ultimately help stave off burnout
3. Find the Balance
Looking after others, and putting others first is noble, but so is finding a balance. When was the last time you did something just for yourself? Do the things that feel frivolous and make you happy every once in a while and don’t feel guilty about doing it. Nurses’ hands go through a lot and get dry after constant hand washing. So why not treat yourself to a manicure and have someone else take care of your hands for a little while? Or maybe you play sports and find the feel-good endorphins in exercise? Carve out that time and protect it because it’s precious. It’s easy for the things that bring us joy to fall behind when we’re busy. Putting them off because we’re too tired, but they’re so important in bringing balance.
Ultimately it’s up to you to find the things that work for you, so experiment with time-honored practices and lean into the ones you find most useful. Remember most of all to be kind, loving, and patient with yourself. There will be rough days, weeks, and sometimes even months, but brighter skies are always ahead. There is always something on the horizon that will bring happiness. Reach out to fellow nurses, share your experience, and above all, be kind.
This post was written by Aaron Smith an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoy swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi movies.