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How to Relax After a Long Shift

Nursing is a rewarding role, but it can also be stressful and exhausting, particularly if you have worked a long shift. Mental health and relaxation is as important as looking after your physical well-being, so we have some tips on how to unwind after a long shift, and to release some of that tension!

Listen to Music

Music has the power to change our mood, so it is a great way to relax. According to North Shore University, music can increase production of dopamine, which can help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression.

Different kinds of music can have different effects on our brains, for example, the University of Nevada reported that listening to music of 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to produce alpha brainwaves, which makes us feel relaxed.

Simply search for “Music of 60 beats per minute” on YouTube, pick one that takes your fancy, and then sit back and enjoy. Or if that doesn’t take your fancy, just put on your favourite song and sing your heart out!

Make Fun Plans for Your Time Off

Sometimes it can be hard to put the stresses of the day behind us, but it can be helpful to think ahead, rather than to dwell on what has already happened. Why not make some enjoyable plans for any days off you have coming up – a night out with friends, taking the kids to the beach, a day trip to a new town or city. Give yourself something to look forward to.

Time Out

If you can, allow yourself some time alone after a long shift; you’ve spent hours looking after and listening to other people. If your house is too noisy, park your car somewhere quiet with a nice view, and enjoy the silence. Alternatively, find somewhere in your home that you can be alone, if only for a short time, to allow yourself to decompress – maybe take a hot shower, or a bath.

Escape with a Film

A trip the cinema could be just what you need – lose yourself in a different world with a good film. You get to sit in the dark in a big comfortable chair, no one will talk to you, and there are lots of yummy snacks too! If you can’t get to the cinema, try watching an engrossing film, or new bingeable television show, at home – turn the lights down and create your own cinema experience. Immerse Yourself in Nature

Getting outside, into a green space, can help reduce stress, improve your physical health and confidence, and there are many more benefits too! Whether it’s a walk in a forest, a hike up a hill, or just a lap around the park, getting into nature is great for your wellbeing.

If you’d rather stay closer to home, do a spot of gardening. Growing flowers, or even growing your own fruit and vegetables, can be incredibly rewarding and relaxing.

Let it Out

Whilst some people want nothing more than to forget about the shift they’ve just finished, some people need to talk about it, or get things off their chest. If this sounds like you, call a friend or relative who you know is a good listener.

Journaling is another excellent way to express your thoughts and feelings and can lead to reduced anxiety and many other benefits.

The positive effects of journaling can even be felt when not performed daily – helping the individual better understand their needs and boosting their wellbeing (Tartakovsky, 2022).

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