How Meditation Can Help You Cope with Anxiety

How Meditation Can Help You Cope with Anxiety

How Meditation Can Help You Cope with Anxiety

Feeling stressed out as a result of the state of the world? Between social unrest, global health concerns and any personal upsets, that stress is totally normal and you are not alone.

However, just because stress is a normal reaction to troubles doesn’t mean that stress has to take over your whole life.

If you’re starting to feel worried all the time, or developing physical symptoms such as stomach aches or panic attacks, then you need some tools to reduce the intensity of that anxiety and bring it down to more manageable levels.

Here are some tips to get you started, courtesy of Cup of Nurses.

Creating a Positive Space

Before you dive into meditating, ask yourself if you have a space that will foster peace and mindfulness. Meditating in a busy room full of kids, for example, can be a bit of a challenge.

Make sure you have a space that’s quiet, private, and emits soothing energy. 

If self-isolating was part of your self-care plan during the pandemic, you might have started to build up some negative associations with your home.

You can release and replace this energy by burning sage, or even simply letting in some fresh air. Releasing negative energy that may have built up in your space is vital for achieving inner peace.

Also, remember that aromatherapy can be an invaluable asset in balancing and unlocking various chakras.

Movement Meditation 

If you’re brand-new to meditation or work on mindfulness, movement is usually a good place to start. Trying to plop down in a quiet room and clear your mind right out of the gate isn’t likely to be particularly effective.

When your brain is used to running a million miles a minute, having something physical to focus on can help you develop the focus necessary to meditate effectively. 

Yoga is one of the best forms of physical meditation, and you can find a ton of resources online that will help you develop mindfulness this way.

However, you can practice mindfulness while doing any kind of physical activity; swimming lends itself well to meditation. You can enjoy a walk while paying attention to the sensation of your feet against the ground, or the sounds happening around you.

If you already have a favorite form of exercise, the next time you work out, pay close attention to what’s happening in your body. This will help you develop mindfulness, as well as make your workouts safer and more effective. 

Guided Meditation 

A great way to ease yourself into meditation is to try some guided meditations. For example, Irish Life Health notes you could try a free guided meditation app designed to help you unwind whenever and wherever you are.

There are guided meditations on all sorts of topics, from fostering focus, to parenting, to releasing anger, and more. 

Guided meditations give you a chance to practice releasing control over your mind and watching what your mind does instead.

At the start, having a voice prompting you to notice your breath and to observe where your mind goes can keep you from feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by your own straying thoughts.

Eventually, however, you can learn to meditate with or without guidance, opening you up to a world of relaxation and inner peace. 

At the end of the day, meditation doesn’t get rid of stress, nor does it magically make you constantly happy. Stress and unhappiness are, after all, a natural part of living.

What it does do is teach you how to sit with those emotions without the urge to push them down or fight them away. When you learn how to sit beside your pain, you will find it becomes far more bearable. 

 

Cup of Nurses is your best source for all the current news in health, as well as other topics related to nursing. If you have any questions, please email marketing@cupofnurses.com.

 

4 Painful Parts of Being a Nurse

4 Painful Parts of Being a Nurse

4 Painful Parts of Being a Nurse

Parts of being a nurse involve the things ordinary people don’t do. Yes, nursing is exciting, but as exciting as it is, many nurses have seen and experienced things at work but have not discussed them.

It is also true that it’s one of the most stressful jobs in the world. While nursing is rewarding, there are also many life-and-death situations and patient care challenges. 

Nursing is one of the most underappreciated professions, yet, the most regulated. It is because nurses are handling the lives of people every day. Not only their patients but the lives of other nurses too.

It is why there are also the worst parts of nursing. What are the painful parts of nursing? And what can nurses do? 

 

We Can’t Save All Lives

The sad reality is nurses deal with death and dying patients every day. It doesn’t matter what kind of area they specialize in; nurses deal with death. The worst part is that nurses are human beings, and it’s not easy each time they lose a patient.

Many nurses wish they could cry with patients’ families, comfort them, hold their hands, hug them, and grieve with these families, but they can’t. Nurses refrain from crying not because we can’t but because we must stay professional. We need to stay strong for the families left behind.

Nursing is not for the faint of heart. You will see many things that make an ordinary person queasy or heartbroken. Patients’ suffering is part of our daily lives; whether we like it or not, we deal with losing them the best way we know how. 

 

We Handle All the Gross Stuff

Handling the things no one else will touch is part of a nurse’s daily life. From body fluids, mucus, blood, sputum, and phlegm – we handle them. Lucky for us, we were taught earlier about these things in nursing school.

And you must provide nursing care for patients suffering from all kinds of conditions, including those that secrete the grossest things. We don’t shy away from these things because it’s part of the job. 

 

Seeing the Bad and Sad Side of Life

It is a known fact that medical work can expose you to some horrific things that can take an emotional toll on you. And a nurse is one of those healthcare workers that sees these things up close and personal. 

As nurses, we see the terrible things that would make you question life. How can a 5-year-old go through multiple heart operations? A 20-year-old who needs a heart transplant because of drug abuse?

We’ve seen a young mother of four battling cancer. We’ve seen healthy people robbed of a good life because of a botched medical procedure. Let’s not forget those who said goodbye to their loved ones who’ve gone too soon—all of these and more.

Being exposed to these things and seeing them unfold in your eyes makes you wonder why life is unfair to those who need it the most. It can be hard to deal with and sometimes affect your mental health. 

 

You’ll feel unappreciated and overworked

Sometimes, you feel burned out from working too much. As nurses, we work endlessly, and sometimes we feel unappreciated. Long shifts, understaffed units, increased patient ratio, and Covid-19 made this job more demanding than it used to be.

Our sacrifices and compassion go unseen by the public and administrators. Sum all that, and you have an exhausted nurse who is on the brink of giving up. And we cannot avoid this.

It’s there, an ever-present occurrence that many nurses experience. It’s a problem that nurses face, but at the same time, something that we cannot resolve entirely. 

 

In Closing

While we experienced many losses, touched many gross things, and did many overtime hours, nursing is still one of the most rewarding jobs. It is an honor to be called to be a nurse.

And while many nurses are made, only a few are born to be one. If you are one of them, stand up and be proud. Nurses are heaven-sent!

 

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!

How Burnout Causes Nurses to Change Their Career Paths

How Burnout Causes Nurses to Change Their Career Paths

How Burnout Causes Nurses to Change Their Career Paths

Nurses are a crucial pillar of the US healthcare system, particularly for their roles in service delivery and patient care. However, recent years have seen the nursing workforce face critical shortages.

In light of a nationwide nurse staffing crisis, there have been strikes to demand an increase in nurse-to-patient ratios in states like New York. When hospitals and health institutions are short-staffed, nurses are routinely put in high-stress environments. Some are even asked to work overtime to compensate for the shortfall.

However, this only exacerbates the staffing problem. As nurses become fatigued and burned out from stressful work environments. Some consider taking on new nursing roles or leaving the field altogether.

In this light, the article looks closely at how burnout causes nurses to leave their jobs and which careers they find themselves in after experiencing burnout.

 

Why do nurses change jobs or professions?

As discussed earlier, nurses play an important role in driving better patient outcomes, but this work is at risk due to burnout. To illustrate, a study on the prevalence and factors of nurse burnout published in the JAMA Network found that more than 400,000 nurses in the US reported leaving their position. Among these nurses, 31.5% cited burnout as the main reason for leaving their job.

The study further nuanced these nurses’ decisions to leave by associating burnout with other aspects of the work environment. These include certain aspects such as increased workloads, lack of good management or leadership, and the need for better pay and/or benefits.

Burnout alone does not cause nurses to reevaluate their career paths.

Rather, true burnout also stems from a lack of control and consistency in the workplace. As outlined in LHH’s post on the difference between burnout and dead ends in professional contexts, those who are burned out tend not to leave the profession altogether.

They only need to recharge and rejuvenate their passion for their work before seeking new jobs with greater freedom and autonomy.

It’s a different case when nurses realize they’ve hit a dead end and are incompatible with their career choice. This happens when nurses’ long-term goals — such as increased pay, career advancement, and learning opportunities — are no longer valued.

They can also feel inadequately supported by their employers and the healthcare system. These nurses thus chart new career paths where they are recognized, challenged, and allowed to grow personally and professionally.

 

Common Career Changes Among Nurses

 

Travel Nurse

As nurses facing burnout consider their next move, travel nursing is a viable option for those who want to stay in the field but with a different nursing role.

The advantages of travel nursing mainly lie in job security and competitive salaries. As the demand for nursing care persists, hospitals are willing to compensate additional staff fairly.

Beyond the countless opportunities to travel and explore different places. Unlike those in permanent positions, they are also given freedom and flexibility over their schedules and days off.

Finally, the lack of workplace politics paves the way for a stress-free experience, as you are only expected to show up and do your work.

 

Online Nurse Practitioner

With the rise of telehealth, becoming an online nurse practitioner (NP) also allows burned-out nurses to take a step back while still being able to provide quality health services. It’s a natural evolution for registered nurses, as the qualifications for NPs include earning a master’s degree in nursing.

They can also obtain specific certifications for pediatric care or women’s health. Among the typical responsibilities of NPs are gathering patients’ medical histories and creating treatment plans. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals.

 

Health Educator

Lastly, nurses can transition from patient-specific curative care to community-wide preventive health and programming by becoming public health educators. Job career platform Joblist expects the demand for health education to grow by 17% from 2020 to 2030.

This will create job opportunities in healthcare settings, government agencies, nonprofits, and community organizations.

As observed, there are many options for nurses to address burnout and change careers without necessarily starting from scratch. On top of being paid fairly for their work, nurses deserve to be valued personally and professionally across all workplaces.

 

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!

 

Nurses Are Resilient But They Also Need Help

Nurses Are Resilient But They Also Need Help

Nurses are Resilient, But They Also Need Help

Nurses are resilient beings. Out of all professions, nurses have the most contact with the sick. They constantly face difficult situations regarding patient care, comforting families, and communicating with healthcare providers to deliver quality patient care.

Nurses are there, ever-present, and ready to help because they love their jobs. But who takes care of the nurses? What happens when nurses are battling their mental health issues? 

 

What Causes the Stress in Nurses?

Being a nurse is both physically and psychologically demanding. The amount of stress is always high at any given shift. All of which can affect the mental health of nurses. But what are the causes of these stresses? 

 

Long shift hours 

Some hospitals run short of nurses, and because of this, many nurses must extend their working hours to provide round-the-clock patient care. This includes overnight shifts, which could take around 12-16 hours.

Working hours affect the natural sleeping pattern. It leaves them feeling fatigued and exhausted even before their actual shift starts. Although nursing is a 24-hour job, there are no resources to help nurses. The expectation is to figure it out and show up. 

 

Heavy workload

The increase in demand for health care services and the number of nurse retirees are among the many reasons why the usual workload of many nurses doubled.

This situation has forced many hospitals and healthcare settings to function with skeleton crews. As a result, this makes the workload for existing nurses much heavier.

The lack of nursing staff leads to picking up overtime, further increasing their weekly workload and leading to burnout.

 

Death of a patient

Losing a patient can also take a toll on nurses. It is one of the most challenging parts of this job, especially when the nurse and patient form a bond. Although some nurses understand that they will lose some of their patients, it can still affect a nurse’s emotions. After all, nurses are human beings too.

Nurses face a constant emotional toll. They work with people in some of the worst times of their lives; no one ever wants to be in a hospital. Nurses feel those emotions, and it can be hard to separate them. While nurses are resilient, there is only so much they can take. 

 

Bullying at workplace

Nurses also experience bullying at work. It usually comes from co-workers with seniority privileges and even patients. A toxic workplace and coworkers can impact a nurse’s mental health.

Sometimes nurses forget that their coworkers are human too. The expectations are high, and some nurses forget that they don’t always know what they know now. 

 

Safety and health concerns

The lack of adequate personal protective equipment, as seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, inadequate staffing of nurses, and insufficient resources can cause safety and health concerns.

When hospitals do not provide nurses with protection during a health crisis or an adequate amount of staff, stress is inevitable. It also puts the health and safety of nurses at risk, putting the healthcare system in an even deeper hole. 

 

How can nurses manage stress? 

Stress will always be present no matter what we do; the key is learning to manage it more effectively.

Here are good examples of what you can do when you feel stressed at work:

  • Aromatherapy has proven to be effective in calming the nerves. It also reduces anxiety. Essential oils like lavender can help lower stress, so having a diffuser at work can help. Smelling something nice will always boost your mood, even if you are not a big believer in aromatherapy. 
  • Eating healthy can also help lessen stress. Start eating more fruits and vegetables to help increase your energy. Caffeine is helpful, but make sure not to overdo it. It would also help to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water, especially if you have long shifts. The rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water before your 12-hour shift. But if you can’t drink all that water, bring some to work. 
  • Be sure to engage in activities that help stimulate your mind, like puzzles, crosswords, or books. It helps reset your mind and keeps it busy but healthy and enjoyable.
  • Take time out to meditate. Align your thoughts and mind to focus on what you need to do. A good 10-minute break to meditate will help shift your mind into a better place and lifts your brain fog. 
  • Lastly, get enough sleep. Adjust your sleep schedule to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night, and try to sneak in a nap during the day or your shift. It will help improve your concentration and reduces the risk of making impulsive decisions. When your mind has rested, it can help you see things more clearly. 

 

When Should Nurses Seek Help for Their Mental Health?

Stress is almost synonymous with being a nurse. It comes with the job, and while many can adjust, some find it difficult to ask for help. So, when should you ask for help? Nurses are resilient people, but burnout can also take a toll on them.

Nurses should seek help once they’ve developed these signs and symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches or frequent migraines
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Having nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping for days
  • Quick to anger or irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating or staying focused
  • Have difficulty remembering instructions
  • Being forgetful

Nurses with more pronounced mental health issues may also experience depression, inability to cope, and social withdrawal. They may also feel compassion fatigue or experience burnout, leading to a lack of empathy for patients.

When you’ve experienced these symptoms, seeking professional mental health assistance or support would be best. 

 

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!

Standing Up for Your Health

Standing Up for Your Health

Standing Up for Your Health

Being an advocate for your own health is essential, especially as you age. If you feel you’re not receiving the right type of treatment, you may need to address previously overlooked health concerns or simply take a more active role in physical and financial matters involving your health. Advocating for your health and taking full responsibility for your own care can be both empowering and rewarding. So here are some tips from The Cup of Nurses to help you get started!

Maintain Healthier Habits

One crucial way you can advocate for your health is by actively maintaining it. Exercising and eating healthy on a consistent basis will help you to feel better and avoid illnesses and injuries more consistently. Having more physical strength also enables you to continue living independently. Working out often enough can be challenging if you have a busy work schedule but small movements throughout the day. Yoga can be a fun and challenging way to keep fit, as well!

Be Prepared

If you’re unsure what you might be dealing with, pull up some symptoms and express your concerns. To make things a little easier, you can always organize medical records and other important documents on a PDF. This free tool will enable you to edit a PDF online, which you can then save to your iPhone for easy access once you reach the doctor’s office.

Prepare for Insurance Needs

If you’re unsure about a diagnosis, get a second opinion! Whether or not you have Medicare, you need to know how your insurance policy in Virginia works, what it covers, and how often you can use it.

Stand Up for Your Care Needs

If you’re unsure about a diagnosis and want a second opinion, you shouldn’t feel bad about getting one. You’re the last defense against poor medical care and should be adamant about getting opinions you trust and being sure about them. If you don’t feel like the medical professional in Alexandria, you’re currently seeing is providing adequate care, don’t hesitate to explore other options.

Look After Yourself

Taking an active role in maintaining your health is essential. Not only does improving your health have a tremendous impact on your body, but it can also benefit your mind as well. When your body is healthy, you’ll feel less depressed. What’s more, your stress levels may decrease, too.

Be Brave

Dealing with health concerns or chronic conditions is never easy, so you’ll want to get familiar with your insurance plan and financial arrangements, hold your doctor accountable and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to involve a loved one if you need help or emotional support.

The Cup of Nurses is your source for current health news and hot nursing topics. If you have any questions, please contact us at marketing@cupofnurses.com.

Post solely for the use of cupofnurses.com By Roxanne Brent
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