Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, meaning they carry many responsibilities, caring for patients in multiple ways throughout their careers.
They often have to work night shifts and respond to emergencies. It can inevitably lead to burnout and fatigue if they do not take good care of themselves.
According to a 2020 study, around 40% to 45% of frontline nurses experienced depression or anxiety, while 11% to 14% experienced moderate to severe anxiety. It was most especially due to the heavy burden on healthcare due to Covid-19.
Due to the demanding nature of their work, nurses must pay special attention to their mental health to ensure quality care.
Nurses’ Mental Well-Being
In this article, we will discuss how nurses can incorporate self-care into their busy schedules, prioritize mental health, and progress in their careers.
- Enroll in an Accelerated Nursing Program
Nursing education requires many credit hours, certifications, licenses, and qualifications. However, you can become a Registered Nurse (RN) after completing your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Many nurses pursue their specialization by opting for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and then enrolling in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) while working full-time.
If you feel overwhelmed about the required years of training and education, you can acquire a degree within 40 months by enrolling in an accelerated BSN to DNP program online.
You can choose among five specializations and land nursing leadership positions with higher pay and demand.
It will allow you to skip your MSN degree program without GRE or GMAT and enable you to complete clinical training in your preferred local area. It will significantly reduce the time spent juggling work and study, giving you peace of mind.
You can pursue your interest in nursing and qualify in a shorter period while indulging in a fast-paced and intensive program. It is an excellent option for highly motivated Registered Nurses who want to get ahead while balancing work and personal life.
- Reach Out to Others
It is important to remember that you are not alone in your professional challenges. Your colleagues and fellow students would share the same struggles as you.
It can help to share your thoughts and feelings with them or vent to a close friend. It is important to express your positive and negative emotions healthily to stay mentally strong in a tough professional environment.
Talking to others can provide support, guidance, and motivation.
One effective way of reaching out is to seek guidance from a mentor or a more experienced nurse or healthcare professional. They can provide valuable insights into coping with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Moreover, you will find many networking opportunities to connect with like-minded people in your profession. As a nurse, you may have to attend several seminars and events or join a supportive network or online communities.
Attending workshops, conferences, and professional development events will help expand your professional support system and inculcate a sense of security, community, and inclusiveness.
- Work-Life Balance
Just like any other profession, nursing also calls for a work-life balance. Mentally switching off after getting off from work will help you relax and focus on your personal life.
Make sure you spend quality time with your family and friends to stay connected with them. You can also avail of your annual leaves by going on a holiday with your loved ones to relax and unwind.
Moreover, your personal time is equally important for your mental health. Try finding time for yourself, no matter how busy you get during a typical working day.
You can indulge in any activity that you like, which helps relax your nerves. It can include reading a book, watching your favorite show, walking, etc.
Engaging in fun activities can help stabilize your mood and elevate your mood. It will make you more productive at work.
However, if you have to juggle responsibilities at work and home simultaneously, a better way is to draw a schedule and stick to it. It will help balance your responsibilities.
- Be Mindful
Practicing mindfulness is effective, especially in high-stress level jobs. Mindfulness means being fully aware and present, living in the moment without distractions.
One way to practice mindfulness is to engage in breathing exercises like meditation and yoga. Begin by cleansing your mind of all negative thoughts and feelings while embracing a sense of calm and peace.
Practicing it every day, either at night or in the morning, will help you deal with daily job stress and work under high-pressure situations calmly. It effectively controls negative emotions like emotional outbursts or getting angry and frustrated.
Another way that nurses can be mindful is to pay attention to everyday activities like eating and walking.
By focusing on your senses and being aware of your surroundings, you will appreciate the small moments of life and find a sense of contentment, peace, and happiness.
It will also significantly improve your work performance and increase your thinking and processing capability. The more calm and at peace you are, the more open you will be to learning new things.
- Stay Active
As a nurse, you must stay on your feet for long hours or move around a lot. Hence, building stamina and physical strength by working out regularly is essential. Regular activity boosts energy levels, improves cardiovascular health, and promotes mental clarity and focus.
You can engage in any physical activity you like. It can be swimming, jogging, cycling, weightlifting, Zumba, or other workouts, depending on your physical strength and fitness level. Even walking briskly or doing daily stretches can positively influence your mental well-being.
Physical activities release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. They help reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression and promote feelings of mental and physical well-being.
As a nurse, you can stay active on the job by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or standing instead of sitting down during breaks, or walking to appointments.
The immense demand for nurses can make their jobs very demanding and tough. Prioritizing your mental health to navigate such a profession effectively is important.
It will boost your performance and help you achieve peace of mind. Remember, being mentally and physically healthy is crucial for success in this highly demanding career.