After a day of work, it’s unfortunately not unusual to find yourself exhausted and strung out by the daily pressures and stressors of modern life. This is all the more true if you work a demanding job that absorbs a lot of your time and energy, such as nursing. But there are steps you can take to help yourself feel more equipped to manage the daily stress of your workload. The following tips and tricks can improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and help you calmly face overwhelming situations.
In modern times, the world is more connected than ever. While this advancement of technology is impressive in many ways, it is not without its downsides. Screens are everywhere, and it’s no secret that most of us are guilty of spending a large amount of our time in front of one—at work, at home, and on the go. Our brains are constantly inundated with updates, notifications, and a steady stream of information, and research has shown that being bombarded continuously in this way increases stress levels.
To combat the effects of technology on your stress levels, make an effort to turn off your devices and distance your contact with technology as soon as you can at the end of the day. Doing so is particularly important during the hour or so before you go to bed. This is because the screen glow interferes with your circadian rhythm and affects your ability to sleep. At first, you might find yourself itching to see what you are missing on your phone or tablet, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly this feeling dissipates and how liberated you will feel when the burden of responding to every email, tweet, or Instagram message is removed from your evenings.
Incorporating meditation into your daily routine can result in a host of excellent benefits, including reduced stress, better sleep, greater awareness of self, and an increased attention span, to name only a few. Find a window of time during your day, even just 15 minutes, to be still and quiet. Meditation takes practice, and you will likely find it difficult at first. If you feel your mind wandering during your sessions, gently bring it back to the meditation—whether that’s focusing on breathing, heightening your awareness of your body, or tuning in to the sounds you can hear around you. Meditation is refreshing, and people who practice meditation often say even a short session can make them feel like they’ve just woken from a nice nap.
If traditional meditation is not for you, consider introducing active meditation into your routine. Active meditation is a type of meditation that involves movement. You can try simple therapeutic tasks, such as coloring, gardening, cooking, or cleaning as a means of decompressing and letting your mind wander while performing menial, repetitive tasks. The benefits of active meditation are that performing menial handwork allows you to take a moment to calmly reflect and perform a task that does not require any mental effort on your part. This affords a sense of calm and has the added benefit of eliminating potential stressors—like a sink full of dishes or an untidy lawn.
Yoga is a deeply transformative practice rooted in ancient traditions. It is practiced by billions of individuals the world over for its grounding and rejuvenating benefits. By incorporating yoga into your routine, you can expect increased flexibility, improved energy and vitality, and many other positive physical benefits. With yoga, however, the mental benefits are just as important as the physical. Like meditation, yoga helps you to disconnect from stressors and focus on your breathing, which affords a calming effect.
Break a Sweat
Exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good neurochemicals guaranteed to boost your mood and help you feel more capable. Anything you choose to do to get your heart pumping can increase your blood flow and get these essential resources to your brain and vital organs. Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes a day to promote a sense of general well-being, so, whether you like to run, swim, dance, or lift weights—get moving!
Hydrate and Nourish
An easy and enjoyable way to improve your ability to remain calm and focused is by drinking enough water and ensuring you fuel your body with the essential nutrients it needs to function. Studies show that dehydration leads to an inability to concentrate, as well as increased fatigue and anxiety,which makes keeping on top of your water intake an absolute must. Aim for a minimum of eight glasses of water each day and try to keep to a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Getting enough sleep is a vital aspect of your overall health. This is common knowledge, yet studies show that 35% of American adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night and that, of those, most are getting less than six hours. Make your sleep a priority. Getting the required amount of sleep gives your body the opportunity to perform all the necessary repair and restorative work it needs to make you feel more energized and ready to face the next day. If you find it hard to fall asleep, take a look at your sleep hygiene. Ensure you have a warm bed in a cool room, low light levels, no gadgets, and avoid caffeine and other stimulants in the evening for a restful night’s sleep.
Taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy, either in solitude or with loved ones, can help you feel more balanced. Whether it’s reading, catching a movie, or taking a long soak in the tub, switching your brain off to indulge in one of your favorite things can work wonders on your overall well-being. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, both at work and at home. Even something as seemingly trivial as the colors you surround yourself with can affect your mood, whether it’s your lipstick, wallpaper, or the scrubs you wear for work.
When it comes to destressing, don’t stress out! Incorporating these practices into your daily routine should not add further stress to your day, and you should not feel compelled to complete them as yet another set of tasks for your already busy day. Instead, pick one or two that fit in with your schedule and lifestyle. If, after trying one, you find that it doesn’t work, try another!