Stress is the leading cause of many ailments in today’s busy world. We are often under a great deal of stress, but are unaware of its effects until it manifests itself in the form of high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety or worse. It can be helpful to alter your perspective a bit and try some new techniques.
Now, this may be much easier for those who are independently wealthy, but most of us are dependent on some external, often stressful, outside source for our income. Even more of us are struggling to make ends meet, and have to put up with a lot of aggravation without much choice due to our current situation. So what do we do?
Key #1 – Regain Power Through Choice
This is going to stretch your imagination but, start by realizing that we don’t ever absolutely have to do ANYTHING. If you think in terms of doing something because you have to, it can become incredibly stressful. Maybe it can help to think in terms of doing something to receive a benefit. For example, you have to withstand the daily rant of your boss so you can get paid on Friday. Or, you have to suffer through a long drive every day so you can afford your house. When you train yourself to think in terms of actions and benefits, you can start to gain more power over your situation. We are not slaves who are captured and whipped until we drop. We make our choices, and we live with them because they are a means to an end. When you own the choice, you own the right to choose something else. Only then can you regain your power.
Key #2 – Put A Time Limit On IT
Do not suffer indefinitely! When dealing with an unpleasant or stressful situation, it is important to see an end in sight. It can be very useful to have a time limit on a stressful task or situation. For example, I will only work at this depressing hospice for one year and if I don’t get a promotion by then I will look for another opportunity. Or, I will give myself two semesters at this school, if I don’t like it I will find a new career. Sometimes allowing yourself to exit a situation in a given timeframe can make enduring that situation a bit easier. Its like the person who watches the clock waiting for the end of the shift, just on a grander scale.
Key#3 – Opt Out of Others Expectations
Another way to kill nursing stress is to resist succumbing to other peoples’ expectations. Maybe your family thought you should have been a nurse practitioner but you decided to go a different route. Maybe your supervisor thinks you should be more of a team player with a more flexible schedule. In these cases, it is important that your first please yourself. No one is living this life but you. Other peoples’ expectations of who you should be are not going to make you happy or pay your bills when you’re miserable.
Usually, the biggest creator of stress is the feeling that we are not in control and at the mercy of the external factors of our environment. If we don’t place undue expectations on ourselves and we don’t have a list in our heads of how others expect us to behave, then our stress will naturally decrease. Nursing stress leads to nursing burnout.