Managing Stress

A Holistic Approach  

Holistic nursing views all aspects of life as inseparable and interrelated – your mental, emotional, physical and social/ relational aspects are all intertwined and interconnected. What affects one part of yourself will influence all others. For instance:

  • The thoughts you think affect every cell in your body.   
  • The emotions that you feel affect your thoughts, and likewise, the thoughts you think affect your emotions.
  • The way you care for your body--the foods you ingest, the type and amount of exercise that you engage in, the amount of rest and sleep that you get, the air you breathe . . .all of these practices have a profound effect on your thoughts, your emotions, and your relationships. 
  • And likewise, the types and nature of the relationships that you engage in affect your overall physical health, your emotional health, your mental clarity, and your sense of well being. (Thornton, 2006) 
  • In developing a personal plan to help you deal more effectively with stress and bring more health, vitality and wholesome behavior into your life, a holistic program that utilizes a variety of approaches is useful. The wonderful thing about this is that since every aspect of who you are is interrelated, when you create health in one area of your life the positive effects spill into all other areas of your life! (Thornton, 2006) 

Some of the methods that have been shown to successfully reduce hospital worker stress and dissatisfaction are as follows (Huckabay and Jagla 1979; Bailey et al. 1980; Koran et al. 1983):

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  • Institution of stress management programs
  • Regular staff meetings and discussions to communicate feelings, gain support, and share innovative ideas
  • Readily available counseling from a nonjudgmental source
  • Flexibility and innovation by supervisors to create alternative job arrangements
  • Adequate staffing
  • Reasonable shift schedules for house staff to allow adequate time for sleep each day
  • Group therapy for staff with particularly difficult professional problems such as dealing with cancer patients, chronic illness, and death
  • Organized and efficient work functions and environment
  • Recognition of and action on legitimate complaints regarding overbearing physicians and supervisors
  • Individual approaches such as relaxation exercises and biofeedback to relieve symptoms of stress until the sources are identified and evaluated
  • Frequent in-service educational sessions and other opportunities to improve skills and confidence
  • More flexibility and worker participation in scheduling (possibly a 10 hr, 4-day workweek)
  • Scheduled rotation of unit assignments

Specific Healthy Modalities for dealing with stress

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Energy work
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Biofeedback
  • Art
  • Music
  • Massage
  • Journaling
  • Cognitive restructuring 

  • Click here to learn Exercises for Stress Reduction


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