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More is expected of nurses than ever before.
But despite the many challenges, for most of us, nursing is a calling. We chose this profession so that we could help patients during the most difficult times in their lives.
But who is responsible for taking care of nurses?
The truth is, being a nurse is not for the faint of heart. It is an extremely physical and emotional career and nurses deal with stressful situations such as traumatic accidents, chronic illnesses, difficult patients and families and even death. We’ve pretty much seen it all and then some.
After all, they don’t say that nurses are on the front line of healthcare for nothing!
Nurse compassion fatigue is common in the profession.
The last thing we want to do as nurses is end up as a patient ourselves.
Fortunately, there are ways that nurses can help to rectify some of the wear-and-tear that we do to our bodies. By taking care of ourselves first, we can continue to give great care to our patients and their families.
Stress in the workplace is not going to get easier for many nurses, especially those at the bedside. Now is the time to put your health needs first.
And you can start by giving yourself a little TLC on your days off.
Here are 4 helpful nurse self care products to help manage stress:
- Body Back Buddy Self & Neck Self Massager
- Cordless Neck Shoulder and Back Massager With Heat
- Muse Brain Sensing Headband
- Microwavable Neck And Shoulder Wrap
These are items I have personally tried, either at work during a 12-hour shift or at home. Using some of these stress relieving items during and after a 12-hour shift has made a world of difference in how I feel. I hope these items help you de-stress and take better care of yourself as well.
How sore are your back, neck and feet after a busy 12 hour shift? The Body Back Buddy is a big winner when it comes to loosening up during and after a busy shift.
I was introduced to the Body Back Buddy by co-worker of mine in the emergency department where I work. He brought it to work with him as a way to help him loosen his muscles during his night shifts. At first glance it looks a little silly, but when he showed me how to use it I couldn’t believe how great it felt on my neck and back.
It didn’t take long for other nurses to ask if they could use it. Mostly, out of curiosity. But it really did help loosen up my neck and back and felt amazing on my pressure points.
In fact, I liked it so much that I ordered one that day and have been using it at home several times a week ever since.
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Here are a few features of this self massage and trigger tool:
- Full-body self-massager for simple, fast relief
- Calm painful muscle knots and aches in your back, neck, shoulders, and more with a few easy moves
- Effective pressure point therapy eases tension headaches and sore muscles & helps athletes (and nurses!) recover
- Single-piece rigid construction – very durable
During National Nurses Week in 2019 I tried this cordless neck, shoulder and back massager during my lunch break in the staff room. I liked it because it stays around the muscles you put it on and doesn’t move around like many self massagers. It also isn’t very loud and applies just the right amount of pressure to the muscles.
This device is great to use during breaks or after a shift at the hospital. It also doesn’t require much effort to use which makes it especially relaxing. And it is cordless, so you can use it anywhere.
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Here are a few features of the cordless neck, shoulder and back massager with heat:
- Cordless & hands-free design: equipped with a built-in rechargeable battery which lasts up to 100 minutes on a full charge.
- Advanced heating: The infrared heat provides necessary warmness to ease muscle tension, stress and promote blood circulation. It can be turned off manually, but will also shut itself off after 15 minutes of using (to prevent overheating).
- Full body relaxation and pain relief: comes with 8 big nodes and 8 small nodes, which provides deep tissue massages on your neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, waist, foot, tights, calves, legs, feet and arms
- Adjustable intensity and 2 massage directions: The massagers for neck and back cordless have 3 adjustable intensity levels which allow you to get suitable pressure to relieve your muscle pain. And the body massager has built in bi-directional movement control, which also auto-reverses every minute
- One year product warranty guarantee
Meditation has changed my life for the better, especially as a stressed out nurse. In fact, before I started meditating regularly I used to have semi-regular anxiety attacks!
The Muse Brain Sending Headband is for someone who is ready to take their meditation practice to the next level. If you do not already practice meditation I wouldn’t even recommend purchasing this device. (However, if you really want to find a helpful way to find stress relief as a nurse I do highly recommend developing your own meditation practice).
Many studies have shown benefits from regular meditation including reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, increased focus and energy and improved performance in many areas. And, as nurses, we can use all the stress reduction we can get!
Here is how it works: The headband fits across the front of your forehead and wraps around your ears. A metal strip is able to detect electrical brainwaves. When certain brainwaves are very active the weather noise increases. As you calm your mind, the weather noise grows fainter and — here is the genius of the device — if you are very calm for several seconds, you can hear birds chirping. At the end you get a graph of your performance and a score.
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Here are a few features of the Muse Brain Sensing Headband:
- Makes meditation easy– is like a personal meditation assistant
- Muse will guide you to a calm mind: Sometimes your mind is calm and sometimes it’s active – Muse will teach you to recognize a calm mind and help you get there
- Allows you to immerse yourself in meditation: Put on the Muse headband, plug in your earbuds or headphones, start the app, and close your eyes. Immerse yourself within the sounds of a beach or rain forest
- Real-time tracking and feedback: While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into weathers sounds
- You can review data after each session: After each session, review your data, set goals, and build a deeply rewarding meditation practice that gets better every time
- Comes with a travel safe case
- What is included: Muse: Brain Sensing Headband, Quick Start Guide, USB Recharge Cable (Ear buds NOT Included)
- Limited 1 year warranty
Like many other nurses, I carry most of my internalized stress in my neck and shoulders. This, combined with too much computer work and lifting and pulling patients, often leaves my neck in knots and sometimes the pain keeps me from being able to completely relax.
For the longest time I used a regular old heating pad on my neck and back- but the one I had didn’t really conform well to my body. So one day I was looking though Amazon for something to help my neck and back pain and I came across the Huggaroo.
The design is versatile, if I don’t want it on my back I fold it up so it’s concentrated on my neck and I also like to put in on my chest, almost like a weighted blanket. The quality is great and the fabric is plush but durable. It’s definitely a frequently used staple in our house. I also take it with me when I travel as well!
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Here are a few features of the Huggaro Microwavable Heating Pad:
- Delivers deep, penetrating, moist heat wherever applied
- Melts away pain, tension, and stress with heat, soothing aromatherapy, and deep pressure stimulation
- The perfect heating pad for cramps, neck pain relief or joint pain relief
- Use as a cold compress to alleviate migraine headaches or a cold pack to soothe strains or a fever
- Huggaroo is a market leader, featured in Forbes, Women’s Health, Inc, Parade, Reader’s Digest, etc.
Nurses need to manage stress better so they don’t end up a patient themselves. By setting aside a little time everyday to relax and de-stress, you will be a happier, healthier nurse and better role model for patients.
After all, everybody wins when nurses are taken care of too!!
Additional recommended reading:
- 4 Reasons Why Nurses Should Drink Matcha Green Tea
- Tired Nurse Tips: When Sufficient Sleep Just Isn’t Possible
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❤️ Patient & RN Advocate
🖥 Blogger/Freelance Writer
🏥 Urban Zen Integrative Therapist