School is stressful to begin with, so throw the word ‘nursing’ in front of that, and you have a prescription for a meltdown. In a profession where helping others is the goal, we sometimes forget to look out for number one. Whether you’re just starting out in the nursing field or you’re advancing your degree, there are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid a stressful breakdown.
- Be a morning person
Although it’s super common to stay up late cramming information, our brains actually retain information better in the a.m. when our minds are fresh and alert. It is much better to go to bed early and get a kick-start on your day than stay up late and sleep all day. Similar to going to the gym in the morning hours, when you wake up early, you accomplish so much more—sometimes forgetting how much you’ve accomplished before the late risers leave their bed.
2. Learn to say “no”
You already have enough on your plate, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Your time is precious, so use it wisely by prioritizing your time and saying “no” to plans that interfere with studying or simply stress you out. Even if there is a party that everyone is going to when you need to study for an exam, take a word of advice from a wise one: “There will always be another party.
3. Manage your time
Managing time = managing stress. Many nursing students don’t make it because they can’t manage their time and the stress becomes too much to handle. Nursing is a very demanding profession, which is why nursing school is no cake walk. Some easy and non-time consuming way to de-stress include:
- Organizing your schedule over breakfast
- Using essential oil diffusers while you study (the scents will relax you)
- Read over notes on an exercise bike or treadmill
4. Get your ZZZs
Sure, one late night won’t take a serious toll on your health, but if this becomes a habit, a lack of sleep can lead to a ton of anxiety and other health problems. If a lack of sleep becomes a habit, you may ease into using pills to fall asleep and excessive amounts of caffeine to wake up. This will completely throw off your body. Instead, try getting yourself excited to sleep after a long, productive day by investing in some comfy pajamas, turning your room into a zen den, or establish a nightly routine such as wine and a movie.
5. Remember the end goal
Visualize success, and remind yourself that you are working towards you dream of helping others. Even though you’re bound to feel exhausted, anxious, and even brain-dead at times, good things come to those who work. Although things may seem overly stressful now, just visualize how you can apply all the things you’re studying into being the best possible nurse.