We’ve all been overworked and exhausted at some point in our careers. But for nurses, it seems to be the norm.
Nurses have a strict duty. They have to deal with patients and families who are often vulnerable.
Over time, this can cause nurses to experience stress, anxiety, and even depression.
While it may seem like these emotions are a requirement of the job, they should not be.
Why is Mental Health Important?
If you are a nurse, you know that there is always some stress involved in your job.
Over time, it can negatively influence even the most cognitively robust individuals if they don’t learn how to regulate it.
Some nurses may be more susceptible than others due to personality type or predisposition towards anxiety disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or better known as PTSD.
In addition, many new nursing graduates have never worked before and don’t understand what they’re getting themselves into when they enter this field!
As a result, young professionals exposed to a constant stream of emotional challenges at work, such as death or dying circumstances, can become burned out.
Nurses’ mental health may affect their job performance if they are not functioning well, both they and their patients will be harmed.
What Triggers An Unstable Mental State in Nurses?
Nurses often feel like they have to put on a brave face for their patients and families. But this added pressure can take its toll.
1. A Difficult Patient.
When patients are in the hospital, they’re often scared and upset. They may be angry or frustrated. And all of this emotion can be taken out on nurses.
2. A Difficult Day.
Working long hours while being understaffed is a common problem in nursing. It causes stress that affects your mental state and leaves you feeling burnt out by the end of a shift.
3. Dealing with Death.
Nurses spend their days helping families through some of their most challenging moments when someone dies unexpectedly or after a difficult battle with illness or disease. These experiences can impact how you feel about work and life in general over time if you don’t manage them properly.
4. Lack of Support from Others.
Nurses often feel unsupported by their colleagues, administrators, and even friends and family members. It can lead to isolation, making the job feel even more difficult.
Take note that a full time nurse duty as a BSN brings forth a lot of challenging and stressful situations. If you aren’t prepared, it will beat you to it. We recommend you look up an Online RN to BSN Program to learn how to deal with the pressure.
All these stress triggers can affect how nurses think, feel, and behave. Let’s look at how a nurse gets affected.
7 Mental Health Tips:
What are the symptoms of disturbed mental health?
Feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety.
Feeling unable to cope with work pressure.
Disinterest in activities that you previously enjoyed.
A happy and energetic nurse is essential for providing exemplary patient care.
A mentally healthy nurse can manage stress and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Nurses need to take some time out for themselves to recharge and come back fresh.
Here are a few tips nurses can use to stay mentally healthy.
1. Talk to a Professional.
Nurses deal with so much adversity that they may not realize when it’s time to talk to someone.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by your feelings regularly, or if you’re constantly gloomy, it’s time to seek professional help!
Find a therapist experienced in dealing with healthcare professionals.
They would be able to provide coping strategies and resources specially designed to assist nurses in coping with stress and sadness.
2. Focus on Yourself First.
When we think of caretakers, we often imagine people who only care about others first without thinking about themselves.
As a nurse, this is precisely what happens when you get caught up in the whirlwind of taking care of others.
However, it’s imperative to remember that you can’t care for anyone if you don’t first care for yourself!
Make certain to allow time for yourself every day, even if it’s only a half an hour.
Use this time to do something that relaxes you, like reading, taking a walk, or listening to music.
3. Release Some Heat.
Exercising is an excellent way to release some of the built up stress and tension from your job.
The released endorphins have a beneficial impact on one’s mood.
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes three times each week.
You can do anything from walking or running to lifting weights or attending a fitness class.
4. Challenge Negative Thoughts.
Reframe negative thoughts by challenging them.
It can be a beneficial tool when you’re having a thought that is not realistic, such as “I am the worst nurse ever!” or “Why did I even become a nurse?”
Ask yourself: Is this statement correct? Do I have any proof for this belief? Is it logical to believe something like that? If you change the way you see things, they will eventually alter on their own.
Cultivating mindfulness can help you deal with the stress of your job.
Many studies show how beneficial it is for nurses to learn and practice mindfulness as part of their work life.
Try practicing some basic mindful breathing exercises whenever you have a spare minute at work. Don’t you have time? Well, I bet that you do if you think about it!
5. Make and Follow a Routine.
It’s easier to stay healthy if you have a routine. It is even more true when it comes to your mental health.
If you create a regular schedule for yourself and stick to it, you will be less likely to struggle with issues like anxiety or depression.
6. Eat Healthily.
This one should be a no brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Eating healthy foods is essential for having good mental health.
Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
7. Get Enough Sleep.
Make certain that you get enough sleep each night to allow you to keep you energetic throughout the day to perform your best when it’s time for shifts or on call situations.
Try to go to bed, wake up simultaneously every day, and make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
What you should remember?
Whether you’re a nurse or someone from higher management, it’s crucial to identify the signs of a nurse struggling with their mental health.
If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them how they’re doing.
From there, you can work together to create a plan that will help keep them healthy and productive.