Stress is a constant in daily life, encompassing internal and external factors that affect our mental and physical well-being. External stress factors are found in the physical environment and may include job, family, relationships and other challenges. Internal stress factors include an individual’s health, nutrition and emotional state; those influence the body’s ability to respond to and cope with external stressors.
Nurses are forced to cope with staffing shortages, rapid changes in technology, rude patients, family member and colleagues. As a result, many nurses are feeling the strain from their work environment. This can interfere with productivity and negatively affect the level of care provided to the patient. By following the suggestions below you may be able to avoid nurse burnout and avoid becoming sick.
Many people don't even realize they are breathing incorrectly. About 40% of the population breathes improperly. We tend to breathe in a shallow manner, hold our breathes, or over breathe. There are many benefits to breathing properly, such as increased energy, improved health, greater harmony, less anxiety and fear, better relationships and an overall feeling of calm and happiness. We must be more conscious of our breathe so that we can reshape our habit of breathing. Every single one of the processes in the body is dependent on oxygen. Our brains, heart and muscles all rely on oxygen to work optimally. Did you know on average we take about 25,000 breathes a day? Breathing effects our daily emotional state, concentration and stress level, as well as our sleeping patters. You can now see why proper breathing technique is so important. With a few little tweaks you can be on your way to correct breathing.
1. You should breathe in and through your nose. Your nose acts like a filter for the oxygen entering your body.
2. You should be breathing through your diaphragm. This means the air you inhale should travel all the way to your belly. The movement should not be coming from your chest or shoulders.
3. Breathe in a relaxed manner.
4. Breathe rhythmically.
5. Breathe silently.
6. Have good posture while breathing by keeping your back straight.
When you breathe properly your rib cage and stomach should expand, like a balloon being blown up. Think of inhaling as filling up a glass of water. The first thing to be filled up is the bottom of the glass (lower abdomen), then the center part of the glass (the middle abdomen), and finally the top of the glass (chest). The exhale is like drinking from the glass. We drink the water top down, from the chest to the lower abdomen.
As with all things, proper breathing takes practice. As you practice making your exhales last longer, your lung's capacity starts to expand. You will become calmer, more balanced and have better concentration. Our lives are full of stress and digital distractions. Conscious breathing is a great way to get back on track and relax.
You can search on YouTube for videos on proper breathing techniques.
Cheers to Happy Breathing!
Effective Communication can improve and deepen relationships. It involves active listening. We are given 2 ears and only 1 mouth for a reason. People want to be truly heard and understood. Only when this occurs does the person feel cared for; and in turn can trust you and have a connection with you. If they feel heard, then they will be more likely to listen to you. This forms a cooperative dynamic relationship.
“Rules” for Effective Communication
It's a wonderful time of year to take care of yourself. Nurses are so busy taking care of patients that they forget to take care of themselves. The holiday season adds additional chores to our every day lives: decorating, shopping and preparations, family stress, school events, and traveling. It is easy to lose oneself and forego your usual fitness and eating routine. Caring for oneself is something that all nurses should do on a regular basis, even if it seems impossible to do so. Schedule time on your calendar for yourself to exercise, treat yourself to a massage or manicure, to put your feet up and read a book, take a bath, etc. Taking a walk outside in nature is one surefire way to re-energize your soul. Take time to do what you enjoy doing - without the guilt! Females are notorious for feeling guilty about focusing on ourselves.
To lessen the stress level this holiday season, lower your expectations. You don't have to cook the perfect meal and bake 20 varieties of cookies. Give up on the vision of how the holiday season should look like or be. Commercials do a wonderful job of raising the bar and our expectations. Understandably that is why many people are susceptible to feelings of depression and anxiety. Focus on being in the present moment and fully enjoying yourself.
Comment below what self-care activity you are going to schedule in your calendar this week.
Feeling extra-stressed out at work? Never underestimate the power of deep breathing. You can do it anywhere and anytime.
The steps are simple:
Find a place at your hospital, clinic, or wherever you work...
Sit down, relax, shrug your shoulders a few times
Close your eyes
Breathe in deeply and count to five slowly as you inhale
Breathe out slowly, counting to five as your exhale
Repeat taking slow deep breaths five times
Then Nurse on!
High stress levels in nursing can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and high blood pressure. Rooted in Buddhism, mindfulness has long been an accepted therapy for anxiety, stress, pain and trauma. Mindfulness is the "purposeful and nonjudgemental attentiveness to one's own experience, thoughts and feelings." While benefiting mental and physical health, relaxation and keener focus improve decision-making, productivity, negotiating powers and conflict resolution.
Studies show that nurses who practice mindfulness cope better with stress, reduce exhaustion, decrease rumination, enhance relaxation and improve life satisfaction, with measured improvements in patient care and satisfaction.
Mindful moments slow you down so you can breath and check in with yourself and hopefully prevent future burnout.
Yoga is extremely relaxing. It can help lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
Other physical benefits of yoga include:
Increased muscle strength and tone
Improved respiration, energy and vitality
Maintaining a balanced metabolism
Cardio and circulatory health
Improved athletic performance
Protection from injury
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. “Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration. Body and self-awareness are particularly beneficial because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.
What we see depends mainly on what we look for. Unfortunately negativity has become so ingrained in our psychology today. We need only to turn on the TV or listen to the news to see and hear negative images. Fortunately we have the capability of rewiring our brains to find the good. We can get in the habit of seeing all the wonderful things that life has to offer. Each morning you can start your day by setting your intention to see the positive aspects of your life. Have a moment of gratitude. Start a gratitude journal and each day write down three things you are grateful for. They can be something small or large. Most people take many things for granted, such as having clean water, a car, food, a job, etc. Take a moment to reflect on each thing. What does each one mean to you? What can you do to continue having these good things in your life? How can you contribute towards society to continue the good? Think of three things you can do to make a positive impact on others; such as giving sincere praise, gestures of appreciation, and acts of courtesy. Some easy ideas include holding the door for someone, letting someone get ahead of you in line, praising your boss, letting someone have your seat. The more you give to others, the more happy and content you will be. Having an attitude of gratitude builds stronger bonds and makes you healthier.
Sometimes we are victim to tunnel vision. Similar to looking through an empty paper towel tube, we only see the negative and we miss out on all the positive things going on around us. We must learn to see the bigger picture and put things into perspective. Focus on the good instead of the bad. Life can be difficult, I am not disputing that. When you are facing a challenging situation, learn to seek the lesson to be had. Often times situations occur to teach us a lesson. We must learn from them. Problems often won't go away till we grow from them.
Having a positive mental attitude will help you be successful in life. It helps you build the resilience you need to carry though the tough times. It is not necessarily what happens to you that counts, but rather how you react to it. You are in control of your reactions, emotions and mindset.
I challenge you to practice this attitude of gratitude and focus on the good in your life in the upcoming year. Teach your children and loved ones to do the same. It's amazing the impact we can make on the world by being positive.
Did you know we are hardwired to help and give to others? Did you know giving makes you happy? Your hormones kick in. Your oxytocin levels rise. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is also known as the love hormone. It underlies trust and is an antidote to depression. It's also a natural anti-aging remedy! When you give to others you experience a helper’s high. No drugs needed! No dangerous side-effects. Can you imagine not being de...pendent on drugs for you to be happy? When you help others your serotonin levels increase, which reduces depression and regulates anxiety. Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop. So as you can see, giving makes us happy. You can be happy on a daily basis. It's simple. Make giving and helping others a part of your daily routine. It has a ripple effect on our families, our communities, and the world we live in. Let’s create a happier world together, one day at a time. I challenge you to participate in 365 days of giving!
GRATITUDE: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I challenge you to participate in the 365 days of gratitudes. Every day write down something you are grateful for. It will program your mind to focus on all the good in your life. By writing down what you are grateful for and the good things that happened that day, you are reliving the experience.
I invite you to involve your entire family. At the dinner table have each person talk about what they are grateful for. By doing this daily habit you are rewiring your brain to see the good. What you focus on expands. Mental training. This in turn leads to happiness.
Comment below what you are grateful for today.