The Importance of Decompressing

Photo by Madison Inouye on

Nursing is a career that can take over your mind, body and soul on a regular basis which is why it’s incredibly important to unwind and have time to reflect. Bottling up the emotions that your day as a nurse has thrown at you, will only keep building unless you take the time to release those emotions. Knowing techniques to help with this will be essential.

We have all had those days where you are just mentally drained from the interactions with people you encountered. It could be any where from an irate family member, a fall risk that insists on getting out their wheelchair, multiple people needing you at the same time, consoling a family who is about to lose their loved one and a million other things and by the time you get home, all you want to do is be left alone. You need to shut down so you can recharge to do it all again tomorrow.

When you allow yourself to unwind from your day, you give your mind a way to digest and process everything that you encountered today; therefore creating an open space to accept the new challenges that will be thrown at you the following day. There are a few ways to achieve this:

  • Don’t dwell on the day you had. You can’t change what happened so use that in order to make for a better tomorrow.
  • If you are a fan of writing, write down your thoughts to free up space in your mind. I love to write in this daily journal that I found on Amazon located here. Even though it’s just a little blurb you write, it also just lets you get your mind to clean slate. I write in mine every night and have made it a part of my nightly routine.
  • Exercise! I promise this is not as daunting as it appears to be. Even taking a 20 minute walk will help to clear those thoughts. If the weather is good to walk in, I will walk 20 minutes on my lunch break to get away from the stress inside the building and to just be by myself with no interruptions. After my walks, I always feel so much more energized and motivated to continue the rest of the day with a clean slate.
  • Meditation. Meditation is often used as an effective relaxing technique so don’t sleep on this technique! Embrace a comfortable, quiet environment to relax through breathing techniques to wash away the impurities of the day.
  • Cry. Don’t be ashamed to break down from time to time. Sometimes we need that release of emotions to readjust so we can get back on track. Our jobs are stressful and overwhelming so a breakdown is sometimes necessary! I have shed a lot of tears in my career so far and I’ve been the one to console my fellow nurses. It’s OKAY!

Our mental health is important to understand and developing the coping skills needed to deal with many stressful situations at once is imperative because if we can’t properly deal with our emotions, how are we supposed to hold it together for someone else that is relying on our care?

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