It’s easy to understand why being a nursing student is stressful, explains NT student editor Alisha Poole. You’re juggling long placement hours, essays, deadlines, studying and often a paid job as well…
Not to mention trying to keep on top of nurturing your important friendships and relationships, and many of us have children too. It’s an awful lot to manage at once!
With that in mind it’s so important that you learn to manage your stress as soon as possible.
Knowing ways to wind down after a particularly stressful shift at placement or even just dealing with the mental overload of lots of deadlines rushing at you at once can be very beneficial.
Once qualified, there will be different stressors such as transitioning to a newly qualified nurse and the pressure of new responsibilities, short staffing, lack of resources and emotional drain.
Stress can manifest in many ways such as physical illness, depression, substance abuse and time off work. If left unmanaged it can lead to burnout. If you can figure out what helps you to relax now you will be able to better manage your stress levels in the future.
That being said here are a few easy ways to manage your stress;
- Exercise and eat well
A healthy diet and exercise helps with stress management. This does not mean you have to go and join a gym, regular walking, home workouts or even just using the stairs more will help too!
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware of where we are, what we are doing and not overly reacting to or becoming overwhelmed by what is going on around us. There are lots of apps available so you can plug your headphones in and use it on the go!
- Manage your work environment
Of course we don’t have control over everything that happens at work. We do however, have the ability to tell others “I don’t have time right now” or delegate tasks to others if the workload becomes too much. Chat with your mentor if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed. Honesty is always the best policy.
Work out what relaxes you, is it a soak in the bath? A walk with your dogs? Netflix? Meditation? Whatever it is, take the time out for yourself to do these things and chill out.
If your feelings seem out of control to you and you think you might need some extra help, go see your GP who will help put you in touch with a counsellor. Talking things through can be very helpful for many people. It can take place face to face, in a group, over the phone, by email and even online through live chat services.
The Royal College of Nursing offer a booklet on managing your stress as part of the working well initiative.There is also a wealth of information on the internet with many more ideas for how to manage your stress.