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How to manage stress and pressure

By: Nurse Nacole

I work in critical care, and pressure is something I had to find a way to manage. The second I come to work until I walk to my car to leave, the entire 13-hour shift is intense. I can’t even explain the levels of anxiety I faced when I first started work in critical care as a registered nurse. I started working in critical care about a year out of nursing school and have been in it ever since. I love it and live it and wouldn’t want to work in any other place. When it comes to handling pressure, I recommend self-love and realistic goal-review.

Self-love focuses on well-being and happiness. In order to properly handle pressure, you must have the proper emotional foundation. Whether its meditation, therapy, or fitness, you have to process and purge your feeling appropriately. Regarding pressure, is it a time management issue? Lack of skill set? Unrealistic goals? What is the primary cause of the inability to handle the pressure? You must look from within and evaluate your emotional response to the environment. We must work from within and then outward. You can’t control what happens, but you can control your reaction to what happens. I’ve had moments when I’ve become overwhelmed at work, and I have to sit down and work out why I feel this way at that moment. Emotions are layered and sometimes need to be unpacked.

Once the emotions have appraised, you can move to goal-review. What are your expectations based on? What is your performance evaluation based on? Pressure can be external or internal, and both must be assessed if you genuinely want to figure this out. If you feel like the environment is causing the pressure, discuss this with your work counterparts, and seek advice on improvement. The aim is to assess what element is generating the stress and investigate the entire context. If you feel the tension is internal, consider if your expectations are realistic. I have unrealistic expectations when I start new jobs. That’s who I am, and I know this. So I always have to evaluate my responses in those first few months of learning. We can be our own worst enemies. If you haven’t noticed, both sections are looking for the why behind the pressure, the triggering events. There is no key to handling pressure other than handling your response and environments.

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