The long but rewarding journey towards being a nurse is stressful as it is, but it doesn’t end once you’ve attained your degree. Day-to-day life as a nurse induces high-stress levels, and if you want to progress further and study for a DNP, it will only get more intense. There are plenty of bridge courses online that you can complete part-time to fit around work, family, or other commitments, but it’s hard work trying to fit everything in while keeping your grades up. When everything mounts up, your body and mind become stressed, which will have an impact on your daily life and academic achievements. Knowing how to spot the signs of stress and relieve the symptoms will be an absolute lifesaver.
Signs of Stress
Although tactics for fighting stress are good practices for everyday life, you need to know how to spot stress in case you’re already there. While you’re off learning how to save lives more professionally on one of the many online DNP programs, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Unfortunately, diagnosing stress isn’t as simple as looking through a list of symptoms, as it’s subjective. However, common signs include fatigue, trouble sleeping, digestive problems and headaches. On an emotional level, you can find yourself feeling sad, depressed, irritable, anxious, or be faced with panic attacks.
If you feel like you may be suffering then you’re in the right place, but do seek medical help for professional advice.
Health and Fitness
Exercise is a proven method for relieving stress as well as improving focus. Set aside just twenty minutes a day to get some exercise in, even if it’s just a walk to the shops. Your blood starts flowing when you exercise, and dopamine starts flying about the place, which makes you feel great.
Furthermore, your brain needs the energy to stay on task all day and reach its potential. By ensuring you maintain a well-balanced diet, your body will start to feel better. Whole grains, vegetables, and proteins are fantastic for providing energy and making you feel full for longer.
Plan of Action
Draw up a schedule and plan out all of your study time and stick to it. Make sure that you give yourself enough breaks to catch a breath and look after yourself. Being able to see your study plan visually will help to motivate you and keep you on task, as opposed to randomly studying. Make sure you keep your study plan updated regularly so that you don’t get confused and stressed out.
Play Video Games/Watch a Movie
Sometimes, the best way to kick back and relax is to watch an enjoyable movie and just switch off from the world for a bit – a lot of streaming services offer discounted subscriptions for students. Alternatively, you could play a video game and escape from your work but keep your cognitive function high – just don’t get too engrossed and skip out on your study schedule. So, pencil some time into your routine to get online and shoot some zombies with your friends on CoD.
Short Burst Studying
Unfortunately, the human brain isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and can only focus on one thing for short periods. So, instead of sitting around all day staring at the same sheet getting nowhere, consider going at it for 45 minutes and taking a short break (then repeat). During your break, you should try and get away from your screen and book – this would be the perfect time to go for a walk or grab a coffee.
Time for Friends
Socializing gives us a sense of belonging and can greatly improve our mental health. Surrounding yourself with supportive people will increase your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous; consider meeting up for a drink every other Friday at your local watering hole.
Ask for Help
Speaking of friends, don’t be afraid to ask for help and unload your problems on someone. You might not feel like it’s that manly but it’s 2021 now and we live in a different world. When you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders without sharing the burden, eventually you’ll cave under the pressure and find yourself facing the problems outlined above. There’s an age-old saying that says, “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
If you tend to jump aboard the procrastination train, you need to start taking a different route. Unfortunately, distractions are everywhere, with social media being some of the most troublesome culprits. Although it’s not easy, you need to remove the distractions by adopting some self-control or physically removing your phone. If you’re using a laptop to study, you can also install a self-control program to limit your time on sites that distract you the most.
It’s Bedtime Buddy
Although you spent years rebelling against your set bedtime as a kid, it’s time to get over it and start going to bed at a set time every night. You should be aiming to get around 8 hours of sleep a night, so if you can try and be asleep by midnight every night, you’ll be waking up at 8 in the morning… perfect.
Going back to removing distractions, if you’re prone to sitting up for hours after you’ve got into bed staring at your phone screen, you should try leaving it in a different room and setting your alarm the old-fashioned way. When you’re trying to get to sleep you should turn off all sources of light.
All in All
Stress happens when we’ve got too much going on in life and we forget to look after ourselves. When you work in a high-stress environment like nursing and you’re studying for a master’s, it’s more important than ever to know the signs and look after yourself. By incorporating everything discussed above into your daily life, you stand a greater chance of keeping the stress at bay.