Self-care should always be one’s utmost priority. However, when you are in a profession that involves taking care of others, you often fall behind on taking care of yourself. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals often prioritize their patient’s health over theirs, but they too struggle with their mental well-being. As a nurse, you face stressful situations multiple times within a day alone. From facing an emergency to dealing with a particularly complicated patient, the sources of anxiety at work are far from limited. Moreover, the constant exposure to emotionally vulnerable situations can also lead to nurses facing emotional and physical exhaustion.
Nurses are subject to a great deal of strain and trauma. Overcoming stressful situations is part of the nurses’ job, but the causes of their stress are one too many. Over their work and personal life, most nurses also have to juggle their academic life. It is already exhausting to balance one’s work and personal life, but adding one’s education to the mix only makes it more challenging to handle everything while also taking care of yourself. Since attending lectures in a physical setting and commuting to a clinic for work is bound to take a toll on one’s health, many nurses now prefer online education instead. Opting for programs such as MSN to DNP online is more convenient because it allows for flexibility in studying.
If you are a nurse and in distress, it is essential to treat your stress before it negatively affects your mental health. Taking care of patients when you, too, are suffering can potentially hinder their treatment. Hence, we have listed some meditation tips that can help you de-stress to treat your patients even better.
- Focus on breathing
Take a deep breath- we often hear this phrase from others when they catch our emotions spiraling. While the simplicity of the action gives an impression that it is only mediocre advice to tame stress, the science behind it proves that it does help in particularly stressful situations. Breath focus is one of the effective yoga, meditation, and stress-reduction techniques. It activates the regions of the brain linked to emotions, attention, and awareness. Therefore, when you concentrate on your breathing, you can better disengage from stressful thoughts and relax your mind and body.
If you are a nurse and find your thoughts drifting away, practice breathing slowly and deeply to regulate your thought process.
- Detach and then get back to it
Life as a healthcare practitioner is rarely ever easy- you face thousands of moments every day where your breath stutters and your heart skips a beat. Being in a position where you are responsible for the health of many can induce stress, panic, and anxiety when a procedure goes even slightly off course. Losing your calm and letting the stress take over you is never the solution in such situations. The best course of action would be to take a step back, detach yourself from the situation, and then think about the next step once you have regained your sense of calm.
STOP – Stop, Take, Observe, and Proceed- is a helpful technique in mindfulness that helps you make a choice not influenced by chaotic and stressful thoughts. It helps you center yourself, think about the situation clearly, and proceed with an action. Hence, the next time you face an emergency, instead of panicking, detach yourself from the crisis until you are in control of your emotions and then get back to work.
- Develop Mantras
Mantra meditation involves repeating certain phrases or words to help center yourself and remain focused. Developing mantras and repeating them in stressful situations often helps regain concentration and boosts awareness. When faced with an emergency, it is rather easy for your anxiety to overwhelm you and hinder your capability to perform well. However, when you repeat your mantra, your thoughts revolve around that mantra alone and are less likely to drift off.
You can choose any mantra you want as long as it reflects your vision. Repeat “I am calm” when you need to be, and repeat “I can do this” when you doubt yourself.
- Regularly practice meditation
You may need to meditate regularly to see consistent results when trying to relax. Meditation is not effective as a one-time thing; you cannot expect to lose all your stress after taking a deep breath or telling yourself to remain calm. You need to do it regularly to develop a learned response to your chosen meditation techniques.
You need to understand that your ability to relax through meditation is a conditioned response. Every time you practice meditation, you condition your nervous system to strengthen against the source of anxiety. Therefore, meditate daily for a few minutes to learn how to relax and de-stress.
- Try guided meditation
Clinics are chaotic, and it is often hard for nurses to find peace when surrounded by distractions. If you are struggling with self-meditation, try guided meditation instead. Guided meditation will help you meditate by providing directions and steps to help you focus and become more aware. If you have only recently started to meditate, having an expert who could guide you through it may be helpful.
It takes time to feel the benefits of meditation because you are programming your nervous system to calm itself and respond well when faced with stressful situations. Meditation is widely associated with reduced stress and increased self-compassion. Regularly practicing meditation allows you to be less panicked amidst alarming situations and think clearly before making decisions. Because your mind is relaxed even during troubling times, you can prevent the mentally draining effects of life as a nurse or a clinician.