It’s not all about the correct shoes, socks and regular stretches although when it comes to easing your sore feet and back pain they are the most important part of your work day. An often overlooked part of easing your foot and back discomfort is to learn how to relax after work. The majority of people have their own hobbies and interests, relaxation techniques and wind-down methods on how to relax after they finish for the day.
However, being a nurse does come with having to deal with a lot of physical and emotional stress and can be extremely difficult to leave behind for the day, especially if it has been a shift where you’ve had to deal with loss or stressful emergencies or patients/families that are in anguish. I work on a ward where a lot of the patients I care for are in a very vulnerable state and I deal with stress, loss and anguish all the time. Because of this I don’t think I would be able to continue to offer my patients the care they deserve and to do my job properly if I could not switch it off when I leave work for the evening.
When you’ve just had a particularly demanding day ( emotionally and physically ) it can feel as if you really don’t know how you’re going to cope with going back to do it all over again tomorrow. This is when you have to be able to distinguish the line between work and home and use some techniques and methods that will help you to relax, recover and recharge your body and mind. This will then enable you to be ready to give the very best of yourself the next day.
There are many ways to relax and recharge your body and mind, today I’d like to highlight some of them and then tell you what I do to relax and revive myself when I’ve finished for the day and hope this may be of benefit to you.
Leave work behind – Ways to relax and recover body and mind
Wash the day away – Taking a hot bath and having a long soak with some Epsom salts and some aromatic oils in the water can boost stress relief and ease your aches and pains. After your bath if you want to revive yourself splash your face with some cold water, this will leave you feeling energized. If your a nurse you may want to have a quick shower to clean the day from your body before having a long soak in the bath for hygienic reasons.
Taking care of your body
Massage – You can do this yourself to a point but if you have a partner ask them to do it for you, or you could treat yourself to a visiting professional masseuse. Massaging oils into the body eases and relaxes your muscles and calms the nerves. There are many stress points and areas of the body you can massage yourself, but for the back you will need someone to do it for you.
Exercising – Physical exercise whether it’s at a gym or at home releases endorphins into the body which makes you happy. This will also help to keep you fit and healthy when combined with a healthy food intake.
Stretching – This will relieve the tension that has built up in your muscles and help to ease the aches and pains that have arisen throughout your day. If you suffer regularly with foot and back pain, stretches should be part of your daily routine.
Drink plenty – Stress can cause the body to become dehydrated so drink plenty of water and fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
Wear comfy clothes – Put on some loose fitting comfortable clothes that you can completely relax and lounge about in. ( for example joggers, shorts and t-shirts )
Visualization – This process involves emptying your mind of negativity ( easiest with your eyes closed ) and trying to visualize and focus on nice happy things and places to let your mind become calm and peaceful. This is a great aid for falling asleep.
Meditation – You don’t have to be an expert in yoga or spiritually enlightened to meditate. A few minutes of deep breathing in a comfortable position in a quiet place in your home is enough to make a difference. Try to find somewhere that you won’t be distracted and this should be enough to aid you to become calm and peaceful.
Listening to Music – The majority of people have a favourite music to listen to when they are relaxing. The important thing is to listen to music that makes you feel good. Soft gentle music whilst in a hot bath can relax body and mind. Music and books designed specifically to help the relaxation process can also be used and through personal experience I know that they do work. I will be reviewing some of these products at a later date and making some suggestions and recommendations.
Reading – This helps you to relax as it helps you to escape from your own thoughts by escaping into whatever story you’re reading and completely focusing your mind on something other than your day.
Engage in your hobbies and interests – Again this is about escapism and could be any interest that you have or are into like dancing, singing, gaming, watching movies and TV, arts and crafts, chess and baking. These are just a few examples. The point is it occupies your mind and gives you something to focus on instead of your day at work.
Socializing – Meeting up with friends for a chat and a catch up or even just talking to them on the phone, can help reduce stress and having someone to talk about your day with can relieve a lot of what’s bothering you. Just engaging on social media with like-minded people and friends and family will also help you to feel connected. Spend time with your family, enjoy each others company and laugh as often as you can. This will lighten your mood, relieve stress and make you feel happy.
Turn it all off – The 30-min rule – Disengage from whatever you’re doing and turn off all electricals such as tablets, computers, TVs, games consoles and phones at least 30 minutes before you plan to sleep. This will help to prepare and relax your mind and body for a good nights sleep. It is also wise to avoid caffeinated drinks within this time as these will keep your mind active.
How to relax after work – my nightly relaxation
I pretty much have a set routine when I get home after work for relaxation. Firstly as soon as I get home I say a very quick hello to my beautiful family and then I’m straight upstairs and into the shower to wash the work day off of me. I do this even if I’m going to have a long hot soak in the bath later on as I work as a nurse and I have to for hygiene reasons.
I then do my stretches to help ease any soreness from my feet and back. Then it’s family time for an hour before the kids go to bed. We then have our dinner and then it’s time to engage in relaxing for the evening. My favourite pastime to relax is reading, I can pretty much read a book in a couple of evenings so I’s not unusual for me to read 2-3 books in a week.
However, I don’t read every night. Some evenings I relax by sitting in my recliner with my legs elevated and listening to some audio recordings for relaxation that I bought recently. They’re great for mind, body and soul and really help me to relax. I will review and recommend ones that I believe in at a later date. Whilst doing this I will have some aromatic candles around me which also seems to help me to unwind.
I will drink at least four large glasses of water of an evening to keep myself hydrated. I wear loose fitting joggers and a sleeveless top of an evening as I find these are very comfortable to relax in. Most evenings if we can fit it in I ask my husband Peter to massage my back and neck to release any built up tension. I also spend a little time catching up with my friends and family on social media and then by this time it’s about 30 minutes before bed time.
Time for bed – Relaxed and ready for sleep
At this point I turn my tablet off and disengage from any electricals that I’m using to give my mind time to relax before bed. Once in bed I use visualization to get my self off to sleep and then the next thing I know is I’m waking up to my alarm the next morning and I’ve recovered and recharged my body enough to start again.
I hope some of what I’ve explained today will be of some benefit to you. Everyone relaxes differently and what works for one won’t for another, but as soon as you’ve cracked it and found out what you can to do relax, unwind and leave work behind you for the day, you will have a much better feeling of well-being and because you can now relax on your downtime you may find yourself less tired and stressed during the day too.
If you have any questions or need a hand please drop a comment in the box or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to answer.
Comfy Shoes For Nurses