Prioritizing Your Mental Health as a Nurse

Prioritizing Your Mental Health as a Nurse

We reached out to our community of nurses in honor of World Mental Health Day to ask what people on the frontlines are doing to preserve their mental health. We got a TON of great tips and wanted to share a few. We know nurses are under a lot of stress these days and encourage you to take the time out of your busy schedule to prioritize your own personal physical and mental health needs.

Anthony, BSN, RN

Prioritizing Your Mental Health as a Nurse

I’ve been a nurse for 7 years this October. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable prioritizing mental health is to prevent burnout in nursing. It is a profession that we are constantly placing others’ needs/care at the forefront of our lives. We are helping people at their most vulnerable points, but it is important to remember, “We have to take care of our own health before we can take care of others”. 

It is important for nurses to focus on their passions outside of the profession i.e. traveling, spending time with family/friends, exercising, etc. Give yourself time away from work to fully enjoy the things you love the most. Being present in those moments allows you to decompress and appreciate those things you love. 

If you are enjoying your time between work, then it may make working not as draining, because it makes the time off more valuable & appreciated.

Phuong, BSN, RN

Meditation to relax

Burnout is prevalent amongst us nurses even before the covid pandemic. Speaking from experience, nurses are so busy taking care of everyone else that we often forget to take care of ourselves. I personally am still learning and trying my best to prioritize my mental health. 

I found that taking breaks is a necessity for preventing burnout. Take those 15 min breaks that are “optional” and make them a priority! I also make sure to spend my off days doing what helps me relax such as working out, yoga or even napping. 

Plan mini getaways or trips! It’ll give you something to look forward to. And last but not least.. Nursing is very broad and has many opportunities. Consider a change in specialty! Don’t be scared, it’ll feel better than being burnt out.

Erika, RN

Prioritizing Your Mental Health as a Nurse

I would say the steps I take to prioritize my own mental health and prevent burnout in myself is simply putting myself first. In order for me to care for people to the best of my ability, I need to be the best ME I can be. It can be small things such as simply making sure I’m getting enough sleep and eating correctly. But I also think it’s really important to make sure I have an outlet to relieve stress from work (or life in general) – and for me this is working out or reading. 

I know it’s not always possible but advice I would give to anyone to prevent burnout would be to try to leave work at work. When you leave the hospital or clinic or whatever healthcare setting, try to leave your bad day, stressful thoughts, or worries there and focus on things that are NOT work and that make you happy.

Thank you to all of our nurses for everything you do! If you aren’t happy in your current role, start your search for your dream job with Vivian.

Share your story in the comments!

Rachel Norton BSN, RN

Rachel Norton became an RN in 2007 and has been part of the Vivian team since 2019. She has always worked in critical care, and spent the first 12 years of her career working in a surgical neuroscience trauma ICU. She's also worked as a flight nurse, started travel nursing in 2010 and continued working in the ICU until joining Vivian full-time in 2022. As a user researcher, Rachel advocates for healthcare workers to help bridge the gap between employee and employer expectations.

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