Many people shy away from becoming a certified nursing assistant because they hear of how stressful it can be. Although staffing shortages, financial hardships, and more complex case loads are plaguing the field of nursing, it is still a rewarding and valued career choice. The key to being a success is knowing how to handle the stresses that come with the profession.
Recognizing your stress level is first and foremost. Being able to detect early warning signs in yourself can prevent things like burn out, anger, or depression. Many people experience warning signals such as: exhaustion, change in appetite, headaches, insomnia, crying, chest pain, or difficulty concentrating. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should evaluate the stress level of your situation.
Learning to manage stressful situations is key to accomplishing a sound mind and exceptional career that you can be proud of. There are several ways to deal with stress. One way is to remove yourself from the situation. Ensure the situation is safe, and then take a 5 minute breather. This can be the refreshment that you need to clear your mind.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. It has been shown that lack of proper amounts of sleep can lead to nervousness, overreactions, and trouble focusing. These problems can fuel the fire of stress and make a small problem soon become big. Rest is vital to a clear mind.
Find ways to relax when you are not at work. Meditation, prayer, yoga, deep breathing, aroma therapy, or just quiet movies on the couch are all ways to unwind. The key is to get your mind off the things that cause you stress and give your brain and body some much needed down time. This will better prepare you to properly react to stressful situations.
Remember the following for stress management:
-Some things are out of your control so don’t waste time worrying about them. The only thing you have full control over is your own reactions.
-Solve problems that are small first. It can be overwhelming to tackle big problems. Solving the smaller ones will give you a sense of accomplishment.
-Well balanced meals and regular exercise should not be underestimated. They are a must for a low stress, healthy life.
-Share your feelings with someone you trust. This will take the weight off your shoulders and possibly give you a different perspective.
Lastly, be positive. See the glass as half full. Try to put all your focus on whatever you can find positive with each new situation. And smile. Smiles are contagious. Be the one to turn the mood to happy and not angry. All these tips can lead to a long, successful, and happy career in the nursing field.
Expert Contribution by: Nicolle Wagner, RN, BSN, RAC-CT