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Nurses and midwives work in high-stress environments that can take their toll physically, mentally and emotionally.

Practicing self-care and finding outlets that manage and relieve stress is important to prevent it from building up and seriously impacting your health and work-life balance.

The warning signs of stress can include feeling anxious or overwhelmed, lashing out at colleagues or friends and family, a lack of energy, difficulty getting to sleep and using substances such as alcohol to escape.

Stress is an inevitable part of life but nurses and midwives can take steps to curb its effects and keep it in check.

Here’s 10 simple stress-busting activities to help you relax and reset.


Exercise is one of the best ways to tune out and boost endorphins. Find an activity which suits you and that you enjoy. Consider going for a walk to help clear your mind, taking up yoga or dusting off the bike and taking in a scenic trail.

Do a brainteaser

As important as physical exercise is, stimulating the mind can also reap benefits when it comes to de-stressing. Solve a puzzle or crossword and take your mind off your worries by focusing on the task at hand.

Read a book

Curl up on the couch and get stuck into a new book or read an old favourite again. Reading can lower your heart rate and ease the tension in your muscles and is a great way to unwind.


Stress can easily spiral out of control and become unrelenting. Every now and then it’s important to remember what matters most to you and reflect on the positives. Consider writing down all the things you are grateful for to improve your outlook and put things in perspective.

Reconnect with nature

Immersing yourself in nature can be good for both the mind and body and help you slow down and take stock. Exposure to nature can boost happiness and trigger physical and mental health benefits. Take a stroll in a park, go for a bush walk or head the beach.

Plan a holiday

If work starts to feel relentless it might be time to plan a holiday so you can recharge the batteries. Our minds and bodies need proper breaks from the workplace regularly so using stored up annual leave on a holiday can be a great way to boost mental health and wellbeing and help you return to work refreshed.

Turn off your phone

Turning off your phone and stepping away from social networks for a while can be a good way of quickly reducing stress. While mobile phones keep us connected to family, friends and topical news, they can also lead to behavioural addictions, cause stress, disturb sleep and lead to a mental overload.

Catch up with friends

Maintaining social ties is important but work and life commitments often get in the way. Take the time to slot in catch ups with friends into your diary so that you don’t lose touch. During stressful times, being around friends can decrease stress levels and help you get through with ongoing support.

Take a nap

Everyone loves a nap. Sometimes when you’re feeling stressed, the best medicine is simply getting enough sleep. Try and get enough sleep regularly and improve your sleep routine if you’re struggling to get some shut eye, such as utilising apps that offer breathing techniques or play calming music.