It’s been a shocker of a shift. Right now you just want to go home, slip under your doona and shut out the world.
But what are some perhaps more helpful ways to deal with the impact of a rough shift? Here are six tips to rejuvenate your mind and body and enable you to bounce back.
Find someone to talk with. It might be a mentor that you have a formal arrangement to debrief with. It could be your fellow co-workers from the shift. Review what happened, what didn’t go well and why. What, if anything, could you have done differently? How would you respond next time in the same situation?
Debriefing allows you to let go of the emotions that have upset you. It helps to talk about what you went through and release some of those feelings.
Take some time out for yourself. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, eating a healthy meal, going to the gym, watching a good movie, having a chat with friend, going shopping, do what helps you get to your ‘happy place’. Indulge a little – a warm bubble bath, a nice meal, a massage.
Sleep can often be the best remedy. A physically and emotionally demanding shift can leave your body and emotions depleted and even lead to illness. If you can afford the luxury to take a quick nap or even to lie down after you get home, do it rather than tackling the jobs you have to do. If not, try to get to bed earlier than usual. At the very least try to do something before bed to unwind, such as listening to music or meditation, so you don’t constantly replay the day’s events in your head keeping you awake or to have a fitful sleep.
If nature is your thing, then embrace it – a long walk in the park or along the beach will induce some calm into a frantic, racing mind and anxious body. The sounds, smells and sights in nature have the capacity to soothe and will help put things into perspective.
Maintain a positive attitude. Don’t dwell in self-pity which can be destructive.
Wear an attitude of gratitude – what can you be thankful for that happened on that shift? Maybe it was a kind word from an understanding relative or co-worker, it might even be that things could have been worse. One thing is certain in nursing and that is that no day is exactly the same: look up tomorrow is a new day.
Laughter is good medicine. Watch a favourite comedy or sitcom. Phone a friend or family member and reminisce about a funny time. Have some joke apps on your phone or try laughing yoga, a fun, fast-acting mood lifting tool.
Laughing Yoga Australia has free laughter clubs right around Australia. They combine laughter exercises, breathing and gentle stretching exercises: most incorporate laughter meditation as well.
By taking some action to counteract the negativity and stress of a bad day, you are more likely to bounce back quicker.