Nursing causes stress, but traveling and nursing causes even more stress. As a travel nurse you’ll have to take care of yourself and manage your stress level. There are several ways to accomplish this but here are some basic ways of doing so and a product that works wonders.
I don’t always get enough exercise but when I do, I feel relaxed when it’s bedtime. Regular exercise relieves tense muscles and helps you sleep. It also increases blood flow to your brain and release endorphins into your blood stream. Endorphins make you feel happy and positively impact your overall well-being.
- Eat Healthy
A stressed body needs as many nutrients you can feed it, because bodies under stress consume more nutrients—mostly protein and B vitamins as well as vitamins C and A—so a diet rich in B vitamins and calcium are especially helpful with lowering stress.
- Potassium helps with hypertension and you can find potassium in orange juice, squash, potatoes, apricots, limes, bananas, avocados, and peaches.
- Calcium helps with lowering stress and yogurt, cheese, and chickpeas can help your body with lactic acid build up in your muscles
- Eat mostly unprocessed foods, so your body can break down these nutrients in a more efficient way.
- Avoid caffeine as it burns up your B vitamins faster and can inhibit your body’s ability to cope with stress.
- Ditto for Alcohol. Even though caffeine and alcohol have very different effects on your body, they both consume a lot of B vitamins when you consume them and both can prevent restful sleep.
- Get plenty of sleep
I’m bad about getting ample sleep. You don’t want to do what I’ve done in the past and sleep with a television in your bedroom—it’s not conducive for a good night sleep. You’ll also want to get to bed at a decent time, too, and having a bedtime routine helps. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading a short story or a few chapters in a book on my couch before heading to bed—you’ll also want to avoid doing a lot of other things besides sleep in your bed as this can train your body to stay awake, so again, no television in the bedroom.
And when possible, you’ll want to take a power nap. You’d be surprised what a difference a 30-45 minute rest will do for you over your lunch break. Of course, you’ll have to have a designated place in your work space for resting. Hopefully, you’ll find a facility that has one.
- Take a time-out
This can be as simple as a quick breathing exercise, taking a short walk or a soothing bubble bath, but you can’t put a price on taking care of yourself. Most of us have heard the idiom, “you can’t love anyone before you love yourself.” Well, the same can be said of taking care of others and as nurses, you have to take care of yourself.
- Meet Spoonk
One product can help you take a small time out and prepare you for sleep, curing insomnia. One part shiatsu massage, one part acupressure mat, Spoonk has been endorsed by countless people both famous and in the medical profession. The best part is that it’s portable, which means you can bring it to work, lay it out in a break room for a few minutes and melt away the last few stressful hours.
Spoonk has countless exercises geared to target your trouble zones and it’s a great remedy to reduce stress. Discover the Spoonk experience that works best for you here: http://www.spoonkspace.com/home
- Get Organized
Studies have shown that the mere sight of clutter stresses out people. This sounds funny coming from me because I still have paperwork to file away at home, but the fact remains that even if you know where everything is, your mind gets cluttered looking at physical clutter.
The same can be said of finances. I recently downloaded a new version of Quicken and started using the budget function. Seeing where things are going helps, and it’s one less thing to worry about.
- Find a Supportive Community
You should always stay close with family, but social media, video chatting, and phone calls only go so far. Another study has shown that people need to be surrounded by a physical and positive supportive group. You need to be able to eat lunch and talk to someone you can trust when you feel overwhelmed. This group needs to lift you up, make you feel better about yourself and accept you the way you are, and they shouldn’t be gossips or complain too much.
If you can’t find a group like this at your facility, try joining The Gypsy Nurse’s Caravan on Facebook. They have several events in major cities and boast a large number of travel nurses who might work near you. Who knows? Maybe you can make a new friend for Monday morning brunch.
- Be Happy
You have to love yourself. Use positive words more often and smile more. At first your smile may feel forced but after a while, it’ll come naturally.
These are by no means an exhaustive list of things you can do to relieve stress, but they’re a start. Feel free to add your own stress reducing tricks in the comments.
Stay well and stress-free.