5 Weird Ways to Relieve Stress

5 Weird Ways to Relieve Stress

February is all about heart health—what you can do to improve it, ways to prevent damaging it, and finding out what heart-healthy habits work for your lifestyle. Stress is a big contributor to poor heart health, so relieving stress is a natural way to improve your odds.


But reducing stress, especially when you’re a nurse, is not always as easy as it sounds. Sure, you can try (and probably have great success with) yoga classes or even with the scientifically proven meditation. But if you want to find something a little off the beaten track, try these odd ways to give your stress the boot.


1. Bake Bread

Baking bread is such a huge stress reliever that some medical professionals tell their patients to try it. But you have to put the bread machine away for this one. This is bread baking the old-fashioned way. All the banging and kneading of the dough not only gives your upper body a workout, but the repetitive motion is incredibly soothing. Then call a friend to come over and share your wonderful loaf of bread.


2. Laugh Really Hard

There are lots of formal and informal laughing groups that gather strictly for the purpose of laughing. People get together and try to force a few big laughs, but the resulting honest laughter can really relieve your stress. You can also get your laugh meter going the old-fashioned way. If you want your laughs to come from something funny, tune your radio into some comedy stations, download some funny podcasts, or get some comedians’ CDs from the library. You might have to seek it out, but ticking your funny bone really is good for your health.


3. Carry a Fragrant Cotton Ball

This might sound weird, but carrying around a cotton ball infused with an essential oil can have a huge impact on your mood. Carry your scented cotton ball in a baggie or a small plastic container (remember the idea of this blog is weird ways to relieve stress!) so you can sniff it periodically throughout the day. Lavender is an excellent and well-known relaxing scent. Citrusy scents like lemon, lime, or grapefruit are invigorating and might help your brain out of an afternoon slump.


4. Rest Your Eyes on Beauty

When there’s no way you can step outside or escape to the blue ocean of the Caribbean, find an app with a flickering fireplace or with soothing ocean waves or the bird songs in a rainforest. Spending a few minutes looking at something peaceful (bonus for added sounds) will bring your blood pressure down a few notches even if it’s not the real thing. You can spend just a few minutes gazing and then get back to your day a little more relaxed.


5. Watch a Sad Movie

This is not for everyone! But if you are one of those people who feels relieved after a good cry, you might want to turn on a good tearjerker. A good crying jag can release a lot of pent-up emotions and, in fact, get rid of some of the stress you’re holding in. But, if you’re someone who takes a long time to shake the sad feeling of movies that make you weep, skip this tip.


Finding out what makes you feel better is always good–even if it is a little out of the ordinary. In the end, what matters is your health, so find a great stress reliever and stick with it..



Leave Job Stress At Work

Leave Job Stress At Work

Are you taking job-related stress home to your loved ones? Nurses are expected to be engaged, enthused and active at work. But meeting job demands without proper support and resources can lead to high levels of stress, which can follow you home and effect the relationships with your loved ones.

Learning how to reduce on-the-job stress can help you be a better parent.

The first step is to understand the source of your anxiety in your workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines job stress as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.”

Identify and list excessive job pressures and demands. Discuss your concerns with the appropriate parties. Hopefully, some critical changes will be made. But if these changes are not possible, and a new position is not a reality anytime soon, consider taking these steps to help you unwind and be a less stressed-out parent at the end of each work day:

■ Imagine leaving your work problems on the job when you walk out the door. Mentally picture yourself boxing up all of the job-related issues and leaving them behind.

■ Create an “at home ritual” that gives you permission to unwind. It could be a bubble bath, listening to your favorite music or playing a game with your child.

■ Ask your family for help with meals, from planning the menu and cutting up ingredients to establishing fun theme nights, such as Mexican Monday or Fun Foods Friday. Infuse creativity and entertainment into daily chores.

■ Exercise to alleviate tension. Better yet, go on a family walk or hold workout sessions indoors while playing your family’s favorite songs. Make sweating a fun, family affair.

■ Avoid getting into the habit of drinking excessive alcohol and caffeine.

■ Seek help from friends, family and neighbors if you feel overwhelmed with meeting the needs of your children or spouse.

■ Schedule adequate time for sleep to recharge your batteries. Consult a doctor if you have difficulty sleeping.

■ Reflect on the positives in your life.

Job stress has far reaching consequences. Learn how to manage it, at work and home, to take better care of your family.