• Kathleen Burns

10 Ways Nurses Are Coping with COVID Stress

Self care strategies from frontline workers.

Over the past year, the world has renewed its appreciation for nurses and other health care workers, especially those on the frontlines. With the COVID-19 pandemic, patient needs have been intense and far-reaching in 2020, and nurses have been the first to come to their aid. Patient needs always do and will come first.

However, nurses and nursing aides are also human, and they have been through unprecedented challenges this year. Last month, National Nurses United released results from its nationwide survey of more than 15,000 registered nurses revealing nurses face ongoing issues of not getting COVID tested, not being notified in a timely manner when they are exposed, inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), unsafe staffing, and increasing workplace violence, among other issues.

They manage high stress, physical and emotional fatigue, and burnout as they persevere through it all to provide the greatest care to their patients. At the same time, they have to care for themselves, their families, and manage their personal lives. Adequate rest and rejuvenation is crucial so they can meet all the demands, making self-care essential for these essential health care workers.

As we get ready for a new year, connectRN reached out to our community of nurses and nursing aides to find out how these frontline workers are keeping their sanity, as well as their emotions and physical health in check.

Here’s what nurses in the connectRN community said they are doing for self-care during the pandemic:

1. “Hot bubble bath and a nice book.”

2. “I went on a weight loss journey and lost over 70 pounds.”

3. “I get my nails done, which always makes me feel like a human.”

4. “I go to a hair salon once every three weeks and get a nice long head massage from my stylist. I’m big on relieving stress and decompressing!”

5. “When I feel a little stressed or have a lot on my mind, I give myself some shoe therapy or I do some online shopping. You can’t have all work and no play."

6. “I joined a pandemic online cooking club. It's great for new recipes but bad when you're trying to steer clear of cakes and pies! I think these trying times have taught me to slow down, reassess, and be grateful for the little things.”

7. “I try not to work over 40 hours. If I have a double [shift], I make sure I don’t work the next day.”

8. “With my kids, we bake cakes or cookies.”

9. “I love fishing and going to the beach.”

10. “My self-care consists of being aware of my boundaries and enforcing them. It's finding moments for self and more moments to share with my loved ones. A simple cup of coffee, stretches, walk, a long hot and uninterrupted bath, and expressing gratitude each day is good for the mind, body, and soul.”

The importance of nurses and nursing aides maintaining their mental and physical well-being has never been greater. Nursing has always been considered a high stress job, long before COVID. We, at connectRN, understand that our nurses have risen above a simple call to duty to deliver essential and compassionate care for months on end during this critical time. We hope that self-care is on the top of your New Year’s resolution list for 2021. For more self-care tips, go here.

To help, at connectRN, we look forward to continuing to support our nursing community with perks and benefits, scholarships, career development programs, health insurance, and more.

To access a wide network of opportunities, professional contacts, per diem shifts, and a whole new way of working that works for your life, join our community.

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