Emotional Support Animals And Other Ways Nurses Can Cope
Nurses and nursing students have an incredibly difficult and emotional rollercoaster when it comes to their education and line of work. It is a job that can leave someone physically and emotionally exhausted to the point in which they question whether or not they should continue. Most people go into nursing with the explicit desire to want to care for others and that is the contributing factor to why nurses and nursing students get burned out. We understand, wanting to care for others is a noble reason to go into nursing and it's one we want you to hang on to. Here are some tips on how you can cope with burnout and avoid it all together.
Have An Animal Companion
An emotional support animal is one that can help you cope with anxiety related to your work. An emotional support animal is not the same as a trained service animal. Any dog or cat can essentially be an emotionally supportive one that can help you unwind and relax. Studies show that both cats and dogs do their owners a lot of good when it comes to their mental health. You can ask your doctor to “prescribe” you an animal but in many cases, it may not be necessary. The only time you will need documentation is if you require air travel with the animal or have an apartment that will not allow animals or they charge you a pet deposit. ESA dog registration (or cat) can help you maintain your needs and avoid extra costs associated with your emotional support animal.
Take A Break
One of the hardest things for any nurse or nursing student is time management. We understand, there is a lot of pressure and unexpected things happen all the time to take away from your own personal time. If you are married and/or a parent, you have added pressure with your time because of family obligations. Our first recommendation is to look for books advising on handling your job that are written by other nurses. Secondly, ask a trusted co-worker how they are coping with time management and stress. Sometimes when we talk about our frustrations with others, we can find new ways to cope that could make our lives even easier. When we are overly stressed, the simplest of ideas can escape our minds so don't beat yourself up if something sounds super easy and you don't know why you hadn't thought of it.
Most importantly, take breaks. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and be in the moment. Don't think about what you need to get done. If someone sits with you, don't talk about the job at all. Talk about the weather, your favorite new makeup item, or a movie you want to see. Talk about anything but the job. You are on a 5-minute mental break!
Breathe Through It
Before you step into a room, take a moment to take five to ten deep slow breaths. Don't think about anything but positive emotions going in with your breath and negative emotions leaving when you exhale. This is a popular way to allow yourself to feel grounded and centered. It brings you back to where you are in the moment instead of the million other directions you are being pulled in. You can also do this in non-emergency high-stress moments so that you can think clearly and objectively without feeling like you are breaking. If you are working in an emergency moment, you can take some deep breaths after to re-center yourself and move forward.
Nurses and nursing students don't get near enough praise for the job that they are taking on. It's intense, highly emotional, and extremely demanding. When you feel like you aren't appreciated, take a moment and thank yourself. Send yourself a thank you card if you want! You are doing an amazing job and you should hear it often.