This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for the masters in nursing online program at Georgetown University. She’s also passionate about photography and meeting new people.
As a nurse practitioner, you deal with a tremendous amount of on-the-job stress on a daily basis. To avoid burning out, it's important to find ways to relax and de-stress during your off hours. As tempting as it may be to pour a big glass of wine and veg out in front of the television after an exhausting day at work, engaging in meaningful activities will have a far greater impact on your overall happiness and well-being.
Here are some of the best ways for nurse practitioners to relax, recharge and rejuvenate after a demanding day spent helping others:
● Visit the gym. The thought of exercising after work may seem overwhelming, but exercise is one of the most effective de-stressors. Besides improving your fitness level and stamina, exercise has the added benefit of releasing feel-good endorphins. If vigorous exercise is not your thing, enroll in a relaxing yoga class.
● Listen to a story. Audiobooks offer a great escape from everyday worries. Most libraries offer free digital audiobook downloads. Listening during your commute home will help you leave work issues at work.
● Spend time with pets. The undemanding devotion of animals can really help put a bad day behind you. Many nurse practitioners are animal lovers and find that spending time relaxing with their pets is one of their favorite ways to unwind.
● Give your feet a treat. If you spend long hours on your feet, soak your feet in essential oils or pamper yourself with a foot massage and pedicure.
● Explore your creativity. Art therapy is frequently used in hospitals and clinics to promote emotional and mental well-being. Purchase some inexpensive art or craft supplies and enjoy some creative self-expression!
● Cook a healthy meal. Instead of opting for fast food or something frozen, take a little extra time to prepare a simple meal using fresh ingredients. Enjoy the cooking process and relish the sight and taste of your meal.
● Work in your yard. Digging, planting, watering and tending to plants is a great way to relieve stress. Avoid ruminating about work and focus instead on the warmth of the sun and the task at hand. You'll feel more in harmony with nature and even yourself after spending some time working outdoors.
● Get organized. This may sound like work, but may people find that taking a few hours to get organized is a good way to relieve anxiety. You'll feel more relaxed when your home is in order and will spend less time searching for items that are lost in clutter.
● Get a good night's sleep. Never underestimate the power of sleep. You'll be better prepared for your next shift if you're thoroughly rested. Even if work is piled up at home, relax in a hot bath, then hit the sheets early.
● Don't sweat the small stuff. You can avoid some stress by controlling your focus. Instead of trying to do everything perfectly, take the long view and save your energy for the things that really matter. Recognize that the pressures of your job can be enormous and learn to identify what you can and can't control. When faced with insurmountable challenges, look for ways to get around them instead of trying to blast your way through.