Nursing is a stressful job.
You may sometimes feel wound-up tighter than the Gordian Knot after a particularly long shift. You may even feel that way after a short shift, depending on what happened during that time.
Stress, when left untreated, can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart issues, worsening of diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always so easy to relieve that stress, especially when it weighs on your mind every day. You have to go back to work, and that can be a stressful thought in itself.
You need to find a way to unwind after your nursing shift that is going to help you release that tension. Although many nurses do reach for a bottle of wine, that can get out of control and potentially be detrimental.
Being with family is another way to unwind, but that isn’t always as calming as you need it to be. You need to set boundaries with your family and carve out some time for yourself. Family needs to understand that this hour is for you and you alone.
What should you do when you take this time out? Leave sleeping for later. Here are a few ideas for hobbies that will help you to unwind and return to nursing with a fresh head-space.
Adult Colouring Books
Adult colouring books are all the rage right now, and there is a good reason: they are relaxing.
You may feel like a complete fool when you break out the coloured pencils and begin shading in a section of your picture. However, once you get past that feeling of silliness, you can really get into colouring the picture. There are many reasons this is therapeutic. In some ways, it is meditative. When you focus on the colouring book, you are leaving other thoughts alone, getting caught up in the colour and staying in the lines.
You also have the ability to make something pretty. It feels great to look at a completed picture and see what you’ve accomplished. Maybe you won’t hang it on your refrigerator but you will feel a certain sense of pride in how the picture looks.
Fortunately, many colouring books are coming out now, and they can meet anyone’s tastes. If you like mandalas and decorative pictures, then you can get ones that are nothing but patterns. If you like certain types of subjects, such as steampunk, fantasy, or Harry Potter, you can get those, too. Colouring helps you to unwind because it takes you away from your thoughts and gives you a sense of peace.
Binge-Watching a TV Series
Television isn’t always something that releases stress because it can become mindless. Sometimes, the shows that are on just don’t engage your interest and you let your mind wander back to the problems that were plaguing you. This is where binge-watching comes into play.
What is binge-watching? It means that you get the whole season of a show you like and watch the entire thing from beginning to end. You don’t need to watch them all at one time, but you watch them when you have the time. Snuggle up in some blankets, sit down in front of the television, and let yourself be taken away.
The great thing about the internet and streaming services is that you get to select the show you watch. You don’t have to wait for it to come on the air and you are in control of your watching schedule. This keeps your mind engaged because you are emotionally invested in the story that you chose to watch. You also don’t need to wait because the next episode is right there, waiting for you to lose yourself in it. Streaming services and season DVDs are all possibilities to fuel this way to relax, and you may find yourself hooked.
Finally, crafting has been the go-to method of relaxing for hundreds of years.
In fact, it is difficult to pin down exactly what crafting is to explain how it can help. The purpose of these hobbies is to unwind, and crafts can certainly distract your mind enough to help you relax from the stresses of the job. Some crafting types are crocheting, knitting, and macramé. Some younger people are now taking up knitting because it is a soothing action that involves both the hands and the mind.
However, you should consider some of the less well-known crafts. For instance, there is an explosion in scrapbooking. You could go to a craft store and find many materials and instructions on this popular craft. Making hand crafted Christmas or birthday cards are another way to express yourself or you can make other handmade items, such as soap, paper, and candles.
You could really get an idea for the types of crafts out there by browsing a craft store. Pick something that appeals to you and not the most popular craft available. You may be interested in painting models of WWI airplanes. That’s fine.
Take that hobby, let it soothe you, and run with it.
Lynda is a registered nurse with three years experience on a busy surgical floor in a city hospital. She graduated with an Associates degree in Nursing from Mercyhurst College Northeast in 2007 and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania in the United States. In her work, she took care of patients post operatively from open heart surgery, immediately post-operatively from gastric bypass, gastric banding surgery and post abdominal surgery. She also dealt with patient populations that experienced active chest pain, congestive heart failure, end stage renal disease, uncontrolled diabetes and a variety of other chronic, mental and surgical conditions. Her Website.