With many in the healthcare sector leaving after Covid-19 hit, looking after your well-being as a nurse has become even more important.
72% of nurses working in health and social care report that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental wellbeing.
Stress was a common factor of the job beforehand, with nurses experiencing burnout and fatigue in the workplace.
Not only does this negatively impact healthcare professionals but also the patients, who reported lower levels of satisfaction in hospitals where nurses were unhappy.
Research conducted by the Nursing Times reveals nine in ten nurses are feeling more stressed than usual.
At least 3,500 of the respondents to their survey described their mental health as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.
Here are a few tips to help look after your mental well-being as a nurse:
1. Preparing yourself before a shift
Mentally preparing yourself before a long shift can be highly beneficial, especially when attempting to reduce any potential stress. For example, practicing mindfulness and breathwork can help prepare you for a challenging shift.
There is plenty of research proving the positive impact exercise has on individuals who face high-stress levels. Completing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day will release endorphins that enhance your mood and improve your sleep.
Having open and honest communication in your team is crucial and can help prevent burnout. Discussing any concerns or issues with your manager or colleagues is a clear and direct way of relieving any stresses and gaining a solution.
4. Work and Life Balance
It’s extremely important to make time for yourself, caring for both your physical and mental needs. Working as a nurse and in the healthcare sector is a challenge itself, meaning you should be taking extra care of your wellbeing. Make sure your weeks include activities you love and can unwind to. Making time to stay in contact with those you care about is equally important, as this can help balance your work-life out.
5. Planning social activities at work
To help ease some of the stress on tough shifts, group activities can be a fun way of managing pressure. For example, here are some of the social efforts other medical institutions are putting in place:
- Having themed workdays
- Workplace awards
- Everyday playful routines
- Weekly competitions
- Fundraising drives
If you feel like you might need more support than this article offers, there are alternative services available for you. For example, the NHS has multiple well-being apps that are free for their staff. As well as this, the RCN offers counselling services to nurses over the phone.
If you would like to pursue a career in nursing, please visit Nurse Jobs or call 0121 260 0002 to speak to one of our specialist consultants.