There is no shortage of stress in the healthcare industry. Long-term stress from long shifts causes an increase in blood pressure and an elevated risk for heart attack and stroke. It is essential for healthcare workers, or any workers for that matter, to decompress on their days off. Here are four good ways to decompress on your next day off.
The simple process of setting aside a few minutes for yourself can do wonders for your mind and your body. Your mind must have time to clear. When you spend a shift taking care of sick patients and proceed straight to taking care of family obligations, it leaves no room for clearing your head. You must do whatever is necessary to give yourself a break, whether that be taking a few minutes to meditate while locked in a bathroom or leaving your child with a sitter just a few minutes longer. Turn off the phone and stay away from your computer for a little bit of time. Disconnection will energize your brain and release tension.
Your body has a natural steam valve, and it is called exercise. Exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy mind and body. Try to find a way to fit exercise in after your shift. If you have energy, go to a gym, or go for a run. Too tired? Take a walk around the block. Yoga is an exceptional way to stretch your muscles while relieving the tension built up after a grueling 12-hour shift. The most effective workouts consist of short, sudden bursts of energy followed by periods of low intensity. Exercise alleviates stress, even if the activity is working in your garden or walking your dog.
Few things are more vital to your overall health than sleep. Try to get plenty of rest on your days off. Sleep will help you prevent stress-related diseases, and it will give you the energy to perform well at work. If you are a night shift worker, get some dark shades to cover your windows to minimize daytime distractions. Always strive to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If this number is not possible, consider taking short naps throughout the day and night.
Get the Most From Your Day Off
When you get your much-deserved day off, try to make the most out of it. Take care of those errands you may be putting off. Avoid busy times at the grocery store and other places so that you can take care of your business efficiently. Think twice before uncorking wine or turning on your television early, as these activities can delay the positive things you can be doing on your day off. If you want to decompress and feel good, consider doing something for others less fortunate. Charity work and community service have a calming effect, and it helps you feel good about yourself when you help others.
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