Although it is certainly rewarding, nursing is one of the most difficult careers a person can have. It is as physically demanding as it is emotionally challenging. If nurses do not take steps to address these difficulties, it can be hard to reap all the rewards of a nursing career. But what can you do that will relax the mind, heal the spirit, and nurture the body?
For some nurses, the solution is a regular yoga practice. Whether done in a class at a gym or at home with a video, yoga can help relieve many of the troubles nurses have.
It’s natural and understandable that nurses seek outlets to cope with the stress of the job. It can feel like you are taking on stress for your patients and their families, and all of that tension has to go somewhere. Many nurses turn to habits like smoking, overeating, or drinking in order to compensate for the stress of the job. Yoga offers a healthier, more productive alternative to coping with stress.
Having a regular yoga practice can teach you how to remain mindful, control your breath, and find calm in the chaos. Those are great skills for a nurse to have when call lights are beeping, doctors are calling, and you still can’t get that one patient to cooperate. While others may take time out for a smoke break, you might find that a “yoga break” is more helpful in channeling your energy.
This doesn’t have to be a full-blown workout, of course. Who has time for that? Practicing yoga can be as simple as minding your breath, turning inward, and gently stretching for just one minute. This single moment can help bring your focus back, making you not only happier, but also more effective.
Of course, the stress of being a nurse is not only emotional. Many nurses will say that back aches and sore legs are just part of the job. However, regular stretching and yoga can help keep these symptoms at bay.
By strengthening your muscles and improving circulation, yoga can help relieve “nursing back” and other aches that come with the job. Plus, your body deserves a little break after you spend 12+ hours on your feet, don’t you think?
If you don’t have time for a complete yoga practice every day, that’s OK. Just a few moments of deep stretching before and after every shift can greatly improve your physical well-being. Here are just a few poses that you might want to try:
Wide Child’s Pose
This relaxing pose relieves lower back pain by stretching the back, hips, and front of the thighs. Click here to see instructions for this pose.
Bridge pose stretches the whole spine, from the tailbone to the back of the neck. As a mild inversion, it may also help relieve stress and headaches. You can find instructions on this restorative pose here.
Legs on the Wall Pose
This pose is as straightforward as its name suggests, but it offers many surprising benefits. After being on your feet all day, this pose will help bring more circulation back to the upper part of your body and provide immediate back pain relief. Learn more about this pose and other poses for nurses here.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor before beginning any new health or exercise routine. You may also consult a yoga expert on what type of yoga practice would be best for you. There are many different forms of yoga, and it might take a few tries before you find the type that is right for you.