4 ways to reduce stress this holiday season

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at SquadBuilders, it’s that our nurses care about helping their patients. But being on the front lines of helping others can be stressful, especially when you are helping sick patients. Then you've got long days, variable scheduling and the stresses many of us experience during the holiday season, coupled with extra holiday shifts and personal commitments.  It’s DEFINITELY a good time to talk about ideas to help alleviate stress, especially for our nursing friends!

Being a nurse, you likely know the adverse effects stress has on all of us…especially when those stressors are long-term. From increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, to stress-induced weight gain to lack of sleep, negative stress and unhappiness can really do a number on us physically. But making changes in our lifestyles can be difficult.

Here are four simple ideas to help alleviate stress:

  • Talk to someone about your day. Whether a co-worker, spouse, your mother, or a good friend, make sure to take time to connect with someone you trust. Even when I’ve had a difficult day, I notice that when I talk to my wife about it, I inevitably start sharing many of the good things that happened during the day as well. It’s a real lift for my mood and a great way for me to transition from work to home each evening. Cultivating trusted connections is very important to us at SquadBuilders too, which is one of the reasons we have a 24 x 7 x 365 support team for our clients when they are out in the field.  

  • Make sleep a priority. Sleep is critical to our daily outlook, yet many of us don’t give ourselves enough time to prepare for a good night’s sleep. Turn off your electronics, take a soothing bath or read a good book in a dimly lit room. Do whatever you need to give your mind and body some time to wind down and get into a relaxing state for sleep. Still need help? Try these Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos, created specifically to help soothe you to sleep.

  • Take a break. Removing yourself from your busy workday for a few moments is like hitting the restart button for your attitude! Try to take 5 minutes from your meal break to take a quick walk outside, or find a quiet place to take a few deep, relaxing breaths. If you need help disconnecting during the day, there are a variety of apps, like Insight Timer (free for iPhone and Android users), that feature guided meditation breaks for home and work.

  • Look on the bright side. It’s OK to give yourself over to these feelings of stress or anxiety, just make sure it doesn’t take over your entire day. Let the negative feelings run their course, then take a moment to think of something that makes you happy. Or better yet, try to re-frame the stressful situation in a positive light. Research shows that optimists experience less stress, enjoy better health and tend to be more successful in life.

Whatever you do, I wish you well in taking control of your stress levels this holiday season! On behalf of the entire SquadBuilders crew, Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy a restful, happy holiday with family and friends.  #JoinTheSquad

-RV