As a nurse, you are constantly exposed to complex and emotionally-charged situations. Whether you are caring for a patient who is terminally ill, witnessing the struggles of those living with chronic conditions, or helping those who have been injured or traumatized, it is vital to be aware of the impact these experiences can have on your mental health.
Maintaining good mental health is essential to effectively care for your patients and provide them with the best possible care. Being fatigued, anxious, or stressed can affect your physical health, ability to think clearly, and overall job performance. Additionally, suppose you do not take care of yourself. In that case, you are at greater risk for developing compassion fatigue, a type of secondary traumatic stress that can occur as a result of exposure to the trauma of others.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to protect your mental health and prevent compassion fatigue. It is essential to be proactive about your mental health and to take steps to care for yourself physically and emotionally.
3 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as a Nurse
- Make time for yourself. Setting aside time each day to relax and focus on something other than work is essential. Some examples include reading a book, walking, or spending time with friends or family.
- Be mindful of your self-talk. The way you talk to yourself has a significant impact on your mental health. Be sure to talk to yourself positively and encouragingly.
- Seek support when needed. There will be times when you need additional support to cope with life’s stressors. When this happens, reach out to a friend, family member, therapist, or other professionals who can help you deal with your feelings. Talking about what you are going through can help reduce stress and improve your mental health.
As a nurse, it is crucial to be aware of your job’s impact on your mental health. Taking steps to protect your mental health proactively is essential for maintaining your well-being and preventing compassion fatigue. You can maintain good mental health throughout your career by making time for yourself, being mindful of your self-talk, and seeking support when needed.