Stress is a part of modern life. Finding ways to reduce levels of stress is a skill that everybody needs, writes Hannah.
Okay I admit it – I’m stressed! Those two words are not easy to admit, especially for a nurse who prides herself on being calm under pressure.
The reason? I work in a busy mental health department that’s about to be relocated; I’m in the (painfully slow) process of moving home and I’m currently part way through my PhD.
While I know my troubles don’t compare with readers living with illness, or managing a difficult life event, the accumulation of ‘must-do’ jobs and thoughts whizzing around my head is all-consuming.
This is a feeling I’m sure many nursing staff can identify with. We are, after all, real people with real friends, real families and real financial obligations.
I'm lucky to work in a small team and we are quick to let each other know when something is wrong. We talk openly about stress and always find time for a good old moan.
For me, this is the most useful way of managing stress, but it won’t work for everyone. Not all teams find time to talk, many nursing staff work alone and some people even find work to be a welcome distraction from the struggle of day-to-day life.
What’s important is that everyone has a release valve – someone to talk to, to make us feel that we are not alone.
Outside of work, I relax by spending time with friends, hearing about my daughter’s day, and indulging in chocolate and my favourite TV programme. Regular exercise helps too; as does creating a list, which makes me feel more in control of the tasks I am facing (I love lists).
Significantly, I’ve learnt to tell myself that I can only do so much, and what I can do, I'll do to the best of my abilities.
There are certain things outside of my control, and understanding this is an important part of self-care.
After all, if I can’t look after myself, then I certainly can’t look after others as well as I’d wish to.