Nursing is a pressurised job that involves high levels of responsibility and, at times, emotional labour. It’s a challenging job at the best of times, however the onset of Covid-19 drastically increased the pressure on nurses, causing many nurses to report feeling more anxious and stressed than usual. If the demands of the job are causing you to struggle with your mental health, you’re certainly not alone. The positive news is that there are steps you can take to support your wellbeing, and a wealth of resources to support mental health for nurses that you can access from home.
Some of the resources that can be used to support mental health for nurses include:
This list is certainly not exhaustive, however it should provide you with a good foundation to get you started. You can also speak with your line manager, or relevant department, about accessing counselling services.
Alongside seeking professional support, there are steps you can take to help support your wellbeing. Our top tips for supporting wellbeing and mental health for nurses include:
Finding time to relax before your shift
Whenever possible, take some time to mentally prepare for your shift. This might include doing mindfulness or relaxation exercises, taking deep breaths to calm yourself down, writing worries down, or challenging negative thoughts about what the day holds.
Don’t skip your breaks
When you’re working in a busy environment, it can be all too easy to skip your breaks. This not only affects mental health for nurses, but it could also impact the safety of patients. It’s important that you have a break so that you can go back to your shift, focussed and alert. Breaks are there for a reason, and so you should never feel guilty about taking them.
Keep an eye on how you’re feeling
It’s important to keep track of how you’re feeling in order to spot when your mental health has deteriorated. If you’re feeling more irritable, depressed or struggling to switch off, this could be an indication that work is having a negative impact on your wellbeing. Spotting these signs early on, allows you to take the necessary measures to support your wellbeing, and get yourself feeling happier and calmer again.
Talk with your colleagues
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling with your colleagues. More often than not, you’ll find someone who is feeling the same way as you, and they may have some advice that will help. Your colleagues will be able to relate to the stresses you face at work, and so it’s always mutually beneficial to discuss how you’re feeling with them.
Eat well & stay hydrated on your shift
Eating the right nutrients and staying hydrated is important for keeping you energised and supporting your mental wellbeing. Meal prepping is a good way to keep on track and ensure you’re eating healthy meals that will provide you with the energy that you need for your shift.
Take time for yourself
Another factor that can negatively impact mental health for nurses is a lack of work / life balance. That’s why it’s so important to take time for yourself, as and when you can. When you’ve got lots of responsibilities outside of work, it can feel difficult to find time for yourself. However, making the time to do things that help you relax, such as seeing family and friends, can make a huge difference to how you feel.
Switch off from work mode
As much as possible, you should always leave work at the door, and focus on being in ‘out of work mode’. If you struggle to switch off once you’ve finished a shift, it can help to make a ‘going home checklist’. This may include taking a moment to acknowledge what was difficult about the shift, learning from it and then letting it go, and thinking about what went well about the shift. Taking a moment to switch off like this will help you to focus your attention on being at home.
Mental health for nurses is a top priority for us at Nurses Direct. That’s why we are committed to ensuring all our nurses feel supported and are able to raise any concerns that they might have. As a team of healthcare professionals ourselves, we can empathise with the demands of the job, meaning that when we say “ we get it”, we really do mean it. To find out more about our nursing agency services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.