nurse in blue scrubs smiles big

Tips for a Stress-Free New Year

As we get ready to plunge into the new year, most of us will find ourselves drained from the energy it takes to survive the holidays, including extra shifts, traveling and spending time with Uncle Joe. January fills us with a sense of hope, a clean slate and the opportunity for change.

Sadly, statistics show that healthcare workers have the highest rate of occupational stress (HSE, 2015). As nurses, we have limited control over our professional lives. Between chaotic schedules, heavy assignments and the desire to provide excellent care, we get burned out quickly. Some common methods of ineffective coping with work-related stress include:

  • Consuming more caffeine (31%)
  • Smoking (27%)
  • Exercising more frequently (25%)
  • Taking over-the-counter or prescription medication (23%)
  • Consuming more alcoholic beverages (20%)

(ADAA, 2006)

How to Reduce Stress at Work

On the other hand, reducing stress can improve your sleep quality, decrease physical pain and make you more productive at work. Many of us believe that in order to reduce stress we must undergo a massive transformation, but that’s not the case. Below are some simple strategies you can adopt to help reduce stress:

  • Say ”Hello” more often
  • Add one healthy new food to your plate
  • Smile at a colleague
  • Listen to music
  • Compliment someone
  • Go outside during a break
  • Try meditation
  • Journal your thoughts
  • Rely on sleep, not caffeine
  • Keep in touch with loved ones
  • Volunteer

Take Course 1

This year, take more time for yourself, reflect on all your accomplishments and don’t wait for the end of the year to do so again. Be proud of the great care you provided, the lives you touched and the colleagues you influenced. Strive to find little ways to improve yourself both personally and professionally. The benefits are endless! Go ahead and get started.

For more effective stress relief techniques, consider the course Stress Relief for the Healthcare Professional.  


© 2015. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lindsey Ryan graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California with both her BSN and MSN. Lindsey’s clinical experience ranges from Acute to Critical Care where she has functioned in the roles of frontline staff and CNS. Most recently, Lindsey has been responsible for leading efforts associated with new knowledge and innovation including interdisciplinary quality initiatives, evidence-based practice projects and clinical research. Lindsey is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS).