The world has undergone quite a few changes in the past few months. COVID-19, social distancing, and the uncertainty of the present has become a cause of anxiety for many people.
According to Anxiety.org, “anxiety is the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations.” Our ability to feel small amounts of anxiety keeps us alert and able to react to truly dangerous situations, but for some people, anxiety levels can reach unnecessary and uncomfortable levels.
However, the many forms of anxiety that exist can be managed or treated. As a travel nurse, your job requires extremely hard work, courage, and compassion – so don’t let anxiety keep you from living your best life.
Below, you’ll find 5 tips for travel nurses to help manage anxiety.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Your sleep habits are closely linked to your mental health. For example, studies have shown that people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety.
Even though nurses often work long hours or night shifts, getting enough sleep will significantly improve the way you feel.
The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is 7 to 8 hours per night. If you find yourself having trouble falling or staying asleep at night, there are many ways to improve your sleep habits. Taking time to wind down, avoiding screens before bedtime, and developing a consistent sleep schedule will help you get higher-quality sleep.
2. Stay Active
Moderate physical activity and exercise is another way to relieve stress and anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins in your bloodstream and improves circulation, which causes a sense of general wellbeing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.”
3. Take a Breather
Deep breathing techniques have been shown to help manage anxiety.
When people are anxious they tend to breathe directly from the chest, otherwise known as thoracic breathing, which can increase their heart rate and cause muscle tightness. However, breathing from your abdomen, known as diaphragmatic breathing, can have a calming effect.
If you’re feeling anxious, try this diaphragmatic breathing technique from Verywell Mind:
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth,while keeping your jaw and neck relaxed.
- Repeat this breathing pattern for several minutes.
4. Follow an Anti-Anxiety Diet and Eating Habits
The foods you eat, and your regular eating habits, can go a long way in reducing anxiety and stress. According to the Harvard Health Blog, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) have been shown to reduce anxiety.
When you eat also matters. Make sure you don’t skip meals, because drops in blood sugar can promote feelings of anxiety.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
40 million adults in the US struggle with anxiety – almost 20 percent of the nation. If you are one of them, there is no need to feel that you’re alone.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to others for help. What exactly “help” means is up to you to decide, too. Asking for help could simply be telling a friend, family member or loved one that you are struggling with anxiety. Chances are, someone you know currently struggles or has struggled with anxiety in the past.
Asking for help could also mean seeking professional treatment. Many types of therapy are available, as well as medication.
Don’t let anxiety get in the way of having the nursing career and the life that you deserve! Use these tips and learn more about managing anxiety at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
We hope you found these tips to help you manage anxiety have been helpful. Do you have any methods that help you manage anxiety? Please comment them below.