Nursing Shift Tips: How To Leave A Stressful Nursing Shift Behind

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By AMN Healthcare

July 8, 2021



How To Leave A Stressful Nursing Shift Behind

This article was provided by AMN Healthcare.

Perhaps now more than ever, whether you’re a travel nurse or a perm nurse, you’ve been stressed during and after a nursing shift. Everyone has those days when you can’t seem to stop for a bite to eat or even a bathroom break. Nursing stress is common and can easily lead to nurse burnout, but with these easy stress management tips, you will be feeling recharged in no time.

Tips for leaving a stressful nursing shift behind:

1. Unplug and relax

A quiet routine can quickly soothe your ruffled soul. Follow these tips to help you relax and unplug after a stressful nursing shift:

  • Pull out those homey touches you’ve brought with you, such as lavender-scented candles, eucalyptus bath salts, and your favorite robe and fuzzy socks.
  • Take a bubble bath, have a glass of wine, and binge on your favorite TV show.
  • Reward yourself with a delicious, light meal (chicken soup, salmon, salad, sushi), followed by a piece of dark chocolate as a healthy antioxidant reward.
  • Wind down with some deep breathing, meditation or yoga stretches, then unplug your electrical devices and get a good night’s sleep.

2. Soothe your aching hands, feet, neck, and back

Instead of popping a pain pill for your aching feet and joints, why not treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage or other treatment?

  • Professional massages often include aromatherapy, essential oils, a warm massage table, soft lighting, instrumental music, and gentle hands that can relax and restore your well-being. Get discounts and coupons via the local paper, Yelp, Groupon, or colleagues in the know.
  • Hot tubs, warm baths, or foot soaks with Epsom salts can be just the ticket for many nurses.
  • Stretching, swimming laps, yoga, and Pilates help, too. Turn to YouTube exercise videos for inspiration or a favorite low-impact exercise DVD.
  • Other pain relief can come from chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, physical therapy, and TENs stimulation.

3. Spa treatments — just for you, or with friends

Spend a half-day at a local spa for the ultimate stress relief after a stressful nursing shift. Just imagine yourself changing into a comfy robe, sipping cucumber lemon water, nibbling fresh fruit, and being queen or king for the day! Choose from various spa treatments, from mud baths and refreshing wraps to foot reflexology, massage, and revitalizing facials. Some spas offer exercise classes and healthy lunches. Day spas offer a great way to spend time with new friends, including other travel nurses and staff. Check the local hotels and medical spas for the best deals, and prepare to be pampered.

4. Think positive and laugh

Some reports say that kids laugh more than 300 times a day, shouldn’t they? The Mayo Clinic confirms that laughter boosts endorphins and relieves stress, among other physical benefits.

  • Go ahead and giggle over those funny cat and dog videos that everyone shares or other Animal Planet-type spots.
  • Browse through the funny greeting cards and read all the snarky Maxine jokes. It’s okay to chortle in the aisles.
  • When you or someone at work is grumpy, add a quarter to the “happy hour” jar for get-togethers.
  • Call, Skype, or Facetime your best friend and guffaw about your day, or reminisce about that last trip to Vegas.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and jot down what made you happy that day.

5. Find a relaxing escape

Travel nursing is essentially a working vacation, which means 1,001 places to discover during your time off. Ziplines, water parks, biking trails, zoofaris, and beaches perfect for strolling can reduce stress and replace nagging worries with memorable new adventures. Check out the local food and music festivals in your assignment city, visit a historical town nearby or take up a sport you always meant to learn. Or stretch your limits and try white water rafting, parasailing or skiing; the adrenaline will make you forget your woes!

When you’re on a nursing assignment, it’s easy to find ways to unwind and reduce your stress between nursing shifts. Don’t let nursing stress overwhelm you! Pamper yourself or explore new horizons. You’re worth it!

As a travel nurse your mental health can take a toll. Long and stressful nursing shifts, stressful patients and families, the list goes on. Click here for more articles on mental health and mental health tips.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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