This article was provided by Travel Nurse Across America.
The pandemic is slowing in some areas, but the stress that accumulated for travel nurses remains. Now is the time to tackle it. Travel nurses know life in the healthcare industry is stressful by nature, but it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting if you can’t find a way to relax when your shift is over. So, here are five things you can do to decompress after a hard shift.
5 Ways to Decompress
1. Break up your routine of going straight home after work.
Instead, go somewhere to help your mind shift its train of thought from work to “you” time. Participate in group trivia at a bar, spend a few minutes at a park, or grab a snack from the new shop down the street — add anything to your day that will break up the monotony of your routine.
2. Get together with friends and laugh.
Laughter actually is good medicine. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter activates endorphins, increases your intake of oxygen-rich air, and can help relax your muscles. Laughter also comes with potential long-term health effects, like helping your immunity.
What better way is there to induce laughter than getting together with friends? After all, it’s likely not often you get a night with your friends as an adult. The Mayo Clinic says having a sound support system can help you cope with stress and increase your self-worth. You don’t have to be in the same town to enjoy your friends’ company. Schedule a video chat, catch up with one another, and let the laughs begin.
3. Lose yourself in a hobby.
Spending a few minutes of your day with a hobby can leave you feeling refreshed and fulfilled. Your hobby doesn’t have to be expensive or come with a lot of gear (we know you need the space in your car for cross-country road trips). Just find a hobby that brings you joy and captures your focus, such as calligraphy, reading, hiking, music, or even listening to podcasts.
4. Find stillness.
Sometimes, the best way to get through stress is to face what is bothering you. Journaling can help you reflect on and express your feelings, which allows you to determine your triggers and identify what brings you happiness. Practicing meditation gives you space to acknowledge your emotions and let them pass as you focus your attention on your stillness. Using these methods to decompress might take practice and an open mind, but your future self will thank you for adding them to your life.
5. Take advantage of your agency’s benefits.
Some travel nurse agencies have free resources you can use even without agency-provided insurance. Ask your agency if it has an Employee Assistance Program or Chaplain Program, offers clinical support, or has other free benefits. There’s zero judgment and no backlash when you ask for help to take care of yourself.
Sometimes, stress relief comes by taking simple actions that you may disregard in your busy life. However, comfort can come when you take even a few minutes to prioritize your needs. Watch The Gypsy Nurse’s recent Facebook Live about Mental Health Resources for more ideas on ways to decompress, and join the conversation to let us know what has helped your mental well-being the most.