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How To Overcome Anxiety As A Nurse?


Imagine, if you will, that you are a newly graduated registered nurse. Getting that license was already a pretty heavy strain on you, mentally. But now you’ve got to go out and get yourself a job to make sure that your license pays off in the coming years. There is quite the shortage of registered nurses these days, but still… hospitals usually only want to employ registered nurses that have some sort of experience level. And you, fresh out of school, don’t have any of that yet. Just finding your first position can already be a pretty stressful situation.

Add to this that the economy hasn’t been working so well for young people as of late, and the fact that some are touting that there’s another recession coming up. It just seems like the perfect recipe for a whole lot of stress, now doesn’t it? And you’d be right to assume that, because life really is tough on newly graduated people in any industry. But it’s especially true for nurses, who have a very demanding job that requires them to be on their feet for long hours.

How To Deal With Anxiety?

In the US alone, there are around and about 40 million people who are suffering from some type of anxiety disorder. About 3 out of 4 of those people, will experience their very first anxiety attack before they have turned 22. In recent years, research has shown that young adults are continually experiencing increasing levels of stress, which have serious repercussions on their mental and physical wellbeing in the long run. The stress keeps them awake, forcing them to start a new day with an unrested mind, which leads to lower performances, which leads to lower results, which leads to more stress.

This day and age, you’re going to have to learn how to properly deal with stress, or it will eat you alive and destroy any quality of life that you think you still have. With nursing being a naturally very stressful occupation, you’ll do well to find a way of nipping that stuff in the bud before it even becomes a problem.

First of all, you’ve got to figure out how you can identify stress. So let’s set you off with a list of symptoms for you to recognize. It’s by no means exhaustive, so keep that in mind.

You might suffer from stress if you:

  • Are feeling like you’ve got no control over your worries
  • Can’t seem to concentrate yourself anymore
  • Are experiencing abnormal weakness or a feeling of being tired all the time
  • Are sweating a lot
  • Feel like your life isn’t going anywhere or something bad is about to happen
  • Are all tensed up, nervous and/or restless
  • Breathe rapidly and can’t seem to slow down your breathing
  • Tremble frequently and feel like you just can’t help it
  • Are having trouble falling asleep
  • Are experiencing issues with your metabolism

The more of these symptoms you are suffering from, the higher the chance of you suffering from an anxiety disorder right now. It can help to talk with a therapist about your problems. Should you have no interest in seeking out help with your anxiety, then there are many things that you can do all on your own in order to decrease your anxiety a little bit.

For instance, it will help you to ensure that you are eating right. A healthy, wholesome diet will nourish your body, which in turn will nourish your mind. You’ll find that as your body’s strength grows, your strength and ability to cope with stressful situations, will also improve. It will also help you to make sure that you go to bed in time and get enough sleep. For most people, this will be the regular 8 hours a night, although it varies from person to person.

Next to eating and resting well, it can also help to get physical exercise. Your body wasn’t made to sit and stand still or be in low intensity activities all day. Every once in a while, it needs to get some moderate to high intensity physical activity in order for it to do well. Use it or lose it, is what the rule of thumb is here.

Other tips for decreasing stress are listening to music, actively relaxing, doing some meditation, taking a walk in a green area, deep breathing and positive self talk. You’ve always got to keep your mind in the present. It’s pointless worrying about the past. Worrying about a future that is so far off, you’ve got no control over it, also won’t do you any good at all.

Ensure You Are Comfortable At Work

Once you’ve finally managed to get your very first position, you’ll have to make sure that you are going to do everything that you can in order to feel as comfortable and at home at your work as you can. As a nurse, you’ll be spending lots of your time on your feet. So at least be sure that you wear good nursing shoes. These can be tennis shoes or they can be clogs. It depends on what kind of person you are and what kind of feet you have. To each his own. Just so long as you invest in the proper footwear.

Also, you’ll be wearing scrubs a lot as a nurse. Be sure to get your hands on some scrubs that make you feel comfortable. This means that they’ve got to fit you well, so you don’t feel constrained in them as you move about on the hospital floor all day long. They need to be the right size and they need to be the right fit. If you find yourself having to carry stuff from one place to another, then they’ve also got to have pockets, and so on. If you were a carpenter, you’d make sure to get a good hammer. Every craftsman (or craftswoman) needs to have his/her tools, otherwise it’s kind of hard to do a good job.

It’s important to set reasonable expectations for your own performance. If you are expecting too much of yourself, then you’ll let yourself down. Don’t compare yourself to people who have way more experience than you do. It’s not fair to yourself. In due time, you’ll build up more experience. Imagine being that experienced person and newly grads are coming in to learn the ropes. Would you want them to be stressed about the fact that you, with your 10 years of experience, are working 3 times as fast as them? Of course not. We’re all human beings. We’re all here to learn. Just do your best, and you’ll find that you won’t have anything to feel bad about.

Most of the people at your nursing job are going to want you to do a really great job, so they are willing to help you out with things. If you are experiencing a recurring problem that yields a lot of stress, then make sure to communicate this to one of your superiors. You have no idea how fast some problems can be made to disappear, if only you ask nicely. The people who are paying you, want you to be as effective as you can, so that they are getting the most out of their investment, which is you. Being able to communicate well is part of being an adult person.

Lastly, you can keep a journal of your day and the stress you have felt at certain times and in certain situations. This can help you better recognize what exactly it is that is pushing your buttons. This will be different for everybody. Some people will be afraid of making mistakes. Others will fear being outperformed by their peers. Yet others are having difficulty dealing with the hectic nature of the job. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t identify it first. So write it down.

Formulate A Stress Combating Plan Outside Of Work

Whatever you do, do not succumbs to the temptation of drowning your sorrows in alcohol or other types of ‘medications’. And I don’t necessarily mean drugs. Junk foods can be just as bad for you. Instead, come up with a solid plan to combat the stress. A plan that becomes a part of your life. A routine, much like brushing your teeth and walking your dog. Sign up for a yoga class. Or learn how to meditate.

If you are going the meditation route, then be sure to find guidance on it. You won’t do it right if you just sit in the lotus position and say ‘ohm’. You’ve actually got to learn meditation from somebody who’s been around the block. Trying to figure it out on your own, is a colossal waste of time.

Whatever your anti stress activity of choice is going to be, make sure that you carve out time for it. On busy days, it would be great if you could engage in a joyful activity for at least 30 minutes per day. But feel free to ramp those 30 minutes up to 2 hours on days where you’ve got the luxury of having more time, such as the weekends.

Summing It Up

We’re living in fast times. If you aren’t consciously minding your stress, then it will have you for breakfast. Learn to recognize stress in yourself. Then find a way to deal with it. Not just for one time, but for always. Stressful situations can always reoccur, and it’s part of being an adult to recognize this fact and to have the mental skills to cope with it.