Six ways nurses can reduce emotional distress

Stress is a constant part of a human being’s life, especially in today’s performance-based high-stress society. Nurses can reduce emotional distress. Unfortunately, however, these increased stress levels are a reality in the healthcare industry, primarily for frontline workers such as nurses. 

In fact, nurses have to deal with work-related stress on a day-to-day basis more than any other profession out there. Stress is our body’s way of responding to high-pressure situations, usually accompanied by its fight or flight response. 

Nurses are tasked with taking care of their patients, sometimes in life and death situations. As a result, they have to do their jobs in a highly competitive work environment, which will most definitely lead to increased stress levels. 

Due to this, it is vital for nurses working in high-pressure clinical settings such as the operating room or the emergency room to deal with and manage their stress more effectively. However, when their stress gets better, it affects their ability to provide top-notch care to patients, impacting their health and well-being. 

So, with that in mind, let us take a look at a few ways nurses can reduce stress in their life while working grueling shifts. 

Learn everything you can about nursing. 

In the nursing profession and the healthcare field as a whole, candidates must remain competent and up-to-date with the latest nursing, healthcare techniques, and global trends year-round. That said, to do this, candidates must obtain nursing-related certification, degrees, diplomas, or leverage any opportunity that allows them to invest in their nursing knowledge. 

Earning a degree will enable you to gain a much-needed understanding of what it takes to make it big in such a stressful profession.

For instance, nurses can enroll in a higher education program such as a masters of science in nursing online degree to learn the latest, practical nursing and caregiving methods and apply them in their jobs. 

It will improve their job satisfaction tenfold, leading to reduced stress as they will perform their duties efficiently, work towards better patient outcomes, and have fewer issues to deal with in the foreseeable future. 

Look after your diet.

How often you and the type of food you eat will most definitely impact your stress levels. Most nurses have to deal with a significant workload, especially while working night shifts, where they have to miss their meals regularly. 

That said, eating a healthy diet will make you feel more energetic to tackle these late-night shifts and reduce your stress levels in the process. 

So, include a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and other nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet. Not to mention, keep yourself hydrated at all times as it can lower your stress levels. Furthermore, reducing your carbohydrate, unnatural, and fried food intake would be wise as they make you feel tired and sluggish, intensifying your stress levels significantly. 

Don’t forget to laugh.

As discussed on how nurses can reduce emotional distress? There is a high chance that you might have never seen a nurse smile. While some do, most of them are bombarded with so much work that they rarely get time to laugh and smile. That said, a loss of humor and laughter is an underlying side effect of physical and emotional stress. 

Furthermore, the last thing that you would want someone to tell you is that you don’t smile and laugh. 

However, laughter is the best medicine, like everyone says. It can make you feel better in an instant. This is so because laughter releases our body’s feel-good endorphins known as endorphins. 

So, even if you’re a nurse who doesn’t like laughing, introducing some humor into your life will allow you to cope with stress a lot better. 

Use deep breathing exercises. 

While something like this will seem trivial, how you breathe significantly affects your overall health and well-being. So, doing some deep breathing exercises is an easy way to reduce anxiety and stress. Furthermore, it will improve your blood pressure, lung function, and other bodily functions when more oxygen enters your body. 

With that in mind, consider incorporating some deep breathing exercises into your daily schedule. Plus, it doesn’t have to be a 30 or 40-minute long deep breathing session. Instead, take out 15 minutes from your daily work schedule to perform some deep breathing, and you will undoubtedly see its benefits immediately. 

Incorporate meditation into the mix. 

Meditation is another effective technique for nurses working under high-pressure situations to reduce stress and relax. While you meditate, you expel all the unimportant thoughts from your mind. It is a technique that allows you to enter a calm state of mind, where anxiety and stress are afterthoughts. It helps you find a deep state of mental tranquility and relaxation. 

While you might say that you won’t find time to meditate while working in a challenging work environment that requires you to remain on hand, meditation doesn’t require much effort and time.

In fact, 20 minutes are all you need to meditate correctly. Plus, a quiet space, of course. In the end, the benefits of meditation include an increase in tolerance, patience, and reduced negative emotions. These are three things you need to navigate on the job stress while working as a nurse. 

Sleep is your best friend. 

Sleep and stress are interconnected with each other like a spiderweb. Sleeping less can intensify your focus, while stress can lead to sleeping issues. So, by getting ample amounts of sleep, nurses can reduce their stress levels tenfold and perform better at the workplace. 

Likewise, reducing stress will ultimately lead to better sleep. that said, specific stressors such as increased workload make it more challenging for nurses to get the correct amount of sleep. At the same time, other sleep-disturbing stressors include workplace injuries, workplace politics, and depression. 

Healthy sleep patterns are vital to your health and well-being. So, in the end, ensure that you’re getting a good night’s sleep whenever you find the time, as doing so will allow you to tackle your stress more effectively! 

In addition, sleeping on time and for at least seven to 8 hours a day also reduces the risk of medical conditions such as diabetes, inflammation, and heart disease.

Also read: Sunny health and fitness.


The last about how nurses can reduce emotional distress? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out due to your nursing job, you need to incorporate the tips mentioned above into your daily routine. However, if you let stress overtake your life, it can lead to long-term medical issues such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and much more. 

So, it is wise to take some time out of your busy schedule and mitigate stress from your life before it drowns you!

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Waqar Ahmad

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