There is going to come a time, probably multiple times, where being a nurse gets to you. While it’s a great thing we do taking care of those that are sick and in need, it can be challenging, physically demanding, emotionally taxing and downright exhausting. Nursing burnout is a real thing so it’s important to take care of yourself both of the body, mind and spirit (whatever that means to you). It can be hardest to do after those really rough days especially if something traumatic has occurred or a patient has passed. So what can you do to help destress/detox after those days?
First, you need to already be taking care of yourself. If you’re already overly stressed out, it makes handling tough situations even harder. Think of yourself like a balloon. The more you fill yourself up with stress, the more likely you are to pop. You become overwhelmed quickly, easily emotional and are stretched to the limit. The more you pile on, the more stressed you feel because you haven’t released some of that building pressure. Then BAM, you can’t take anymore. This is how burnout happens. This is why it’s so important to start taking care of yourself immediately.
Second, start thinking about things that calm you. I love crafting and if it involves banging nails into a board or using a staple gun or ripping something up even better. It helps get out built up stress and aggression and brings me back to a zen like state. I also like working out. I hate it (and myself) while doing it but afterwards I always feel accomplished, proud and even, happy. My favorite thing to do to destress though is to treat myself. I treat myself to a fancy mask, light some candles, through on some music and soak in the tub at least once a week. I get pedicures and manicures when I have the time or do them myself. I love a good massage and treat myself often. I usually get groupon or living social deals to make it more affordable because let’s be serious, I’m a nurse and definitely not made of money. Whatever it takes to make you feel all woozah with the world, do that and do that often. Make an appointment with yourself at least once a week and keep it. You deserve it.
Third, cry. I’m serious. I know we have this tendency to want to be strong and tough even on the exterior but it’s ok to cry, just save it for home. The work place is not the place to break down. If I have had an especially hard day I come home, pour a bottle of wine into my Olivia Pope glass, bust out the good chocolate and throw on a chick flick and bawl my eyes out. Sure I might look like a hot mess but who cares? I do some dang hard work and I deserve to let it out sometimes. When I lose a patient and have finally left work, I get in my car, pick up some French Fries from McD’s (my ultimate comfort food), call my mama and bawl my eyes out to her. She doesn’t say much, she just listens and at the end she always says, “Baby, you are giving a piece of yourself to each of your patients. It’s ok to grieve them.” So, I do but then I wash my face, go to bed and get ready to go back the next day because that’s what we do. I can’t say it gets easier because it doesn’t but you’ll learn how to handle it better with each passing day and it starts with taking care of yourself.
So tell me, how do you like to destress? Are you feeling the nursing burn out? Leave a comment below!
Nursing Love And Mine,
(Please pardon any errors. I wrote this on my iPhone and have fat thumbs.)