I have struggled with stress for as long as I can remember. As many know, nursing school can be extremely stressful. When I accepted my job as an ICU RN, I became stressed about how stressed I imagined I would be. Thankfully, I’ve found several methods of calming myself and coping with this stress to maintain wellness.
Although I was eager to get involved in my new career, I was careful not to overbook myself. The first year of practicing nursing is very stressful and full of extra classes and meetings, so I waited to join unit committees and such until I had my feet on the ground and could handle the extra time commitment. Second, I began reflecting on my day each night before sleep. I think about my day- what I’m thankful for, what went well, and what I can improve on. This helps me be more mindful of myself. I also ensure that I keep time for myself. This can mean a lot of things- going to the climbing gym with friends, planning a hiking trip, or even a Netflix binge. When I have free time, I try to do stress-relieving activities to combat workplace stress.
Healthcare is a field full of stress. When I find myself in the middle of a particularly stressful situation, I always take time to breathe. I take deep breaths with my belly while focusing on the problem at hand. I’ve been incredibly lucky in that my coworkers and I are firm believers in teamwork, so when one of us has a busy and stressful day, there is no hesitation for others to come in and help. Remember your support systems- your coworkers, your family, your friends, and in my case, my cats.
Kate Best is 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing.