Being a nurse is hard. And stressful. Depending on where you work your daily stress level can escalate from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds when a critical situation arises.  Even worse, the average nurse’s stress level can fluctuate greatly over the course of a shift frying ones’ nerves by the time it’s time to punch the clock and go home.

What’s the best way for a nurse to manage daily on-the-job stressors? By using stress relieving methods on a regular basis. There are many ways to ease tension when stressed.

Here are 8 ways to combat stress: 

  1. Take a deep breath. Deep breathing does more than giving the brain a boost of oxygen. Stopping to take a deep breath when times get rough has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which in turn can lead to reduced stress and anxiety.
  2. Listen to music. Music has a soothing effect people and can prove beneficial when tension runs high.
  3. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which instantly makes you feel better. Imagine punching out your stress on a punching bag or running your best mile. Trust me, after you’re done exercising you’ll feel much better.
  4. Cuddle with your pet. Dogs and cats are good cuddle buddies and can help you feel more at ease when times get tough.
  5. Hug somebody!  Have you ever hugged someone while you were feeling tense? If you’re like most people, you immediately feel a release during the act. That is stress leaving your body!
  6. Get a massage. Getting a massage from someone can relieve physical tension in your muscles. Another added benefit from a massage is human touch. Think of the human touch of a massage the same way you would of receiving a hug.
  7. Write. Writing when stressed can help release stress-related symptoms. Have you ever heard of someone writing a letter and then burning it to “let it go?” Writing allows you to say whatever it is you need to say about what is bothering you. You don’t have to burn it when you’re done because the act of writing is actually a release within itself.
  8. Go out with friends. Surrounding yourself with people you love and trust is good for your mental health. Aside from being able to speak to someone about what is bothering you, you could probably use a fun night out.
See also
Surviving Your First Nursing Mistake

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at for more ideas on how to reinvent your career.

Nachole Johnson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
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