1. Organize Your Life
School can make your schedule crazy, especially if you're taking multiple classes, attending study groups, participating in clinicals, and trying to manage a social life all at the same time. One tip that may help you keep track of all your responsibilities is to get organized. Everyone has their own methods of organization, whether that involves using a giant whiteboard schedule, carrying around an agenda, or even setting reminders on your phone — if it works for you, then it's useful.
When building your schedule, start with one category for the entire week or month and build from there. For example, you might start by writing all of your assignment due dates, exam dates, and study group dates first, followed by your work schedule and personal enrichment activities. Consider color coordinating to add a visual element to your schedule that can make it easier to follow as you go about your routine.
2. Set Aside Time for Yourself
Another way to manage or reduce your stress levels while in school is to set aside specific intervals of time for activities that bring you relaxation or joy. For example, if you have a day filled with classes, homework, and hands-on training, try scheduling an hour of time every
evening for yourself. Remember: it's just as important to give yourself ample time to recharge as it is to complete schoolwork.
Examples of self-enrichment activities include reading non-school-related books, listening to your favorite music, doing a craft like knitting or painting, working out, or taking your pet out on a long walk. Whatever you choose, make sure you stick to it and give yourself the honor of uninterrupted relaxation time doing something that makes you happy.
Reflection is a popular stress management technique, and much like the rest, it can look different across individuals. For some, reflection may include activities like meditation or yoga. For others, going on a cardio-intensive jog or workout class may provide them with the inner peace they're searching for. Reflection can be as simple as setting aside 10 minutes a day to journal about how you're feeling, including your thoughts, emotions, stressors, and the elements of your life that make you happy and why.
Think about why you're pursuing a nursing education, what you plan on getting out of it, and how the future "you" will benefit from your current situation. This can give you the motivation to move forward in your nursing journey when you're especially stressed or discouraged.
4. Recharge With the People You Love
Getting together with loved ones can also help alleviate stress by taking your mind off of your school and work responsibilities. Beyond being a distraction, meeting up with friends and family can also bring about laughter, deep conversations, and memory-making moments that positively contribute to your overall mood and morale.
If you had a particularly stressful week of school and responsibilities, consider reaching out to someone you know can make you feel happy and relaxed. Take this time to explore the outdoors, visit museums, go out to eat, or even stay home and watch movies. Whatever you choose to spend your time doing, as long as it's with someone you love, it'll surely work to reduce your stress.
5. Set Personal Goals
Setting goals for yourself is another great way to help reduce and manage your stress as you go on your nursing education journey. Identify specific, non-school-related milestones you want to achieve and a timeframe to go along with them. For example, if you have a goal of going to the gym at least four times a week for a month, incentivize yourself with a reward if you succeed, like a shopping trip or a nice dinner.
Setting personal goals can motivate you to keep up with wellness habits, which can reduce your stress significantly. Eating healthy, exercising, and resting can all make you feel happier, healthier, and more capable of managing your busy schedule.
Nursing studies can be an overwhelming undertaking, even for the most organized of students. Using these five tips, you can overcome any obstacles that interfere with achieving your health care dreams, including stress, with ease. By dedicating time to your personal wellness and enrichment, you can find success both as you prepare for a nursing career and also in your personal life.