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"Nursing Burnout: Taking Control of Your Stress Before It Controls You"

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

"Nursing Burnout: Taking Control of Your Stress Before It Controls You"

As nurses we have  witnessed how stress can ruin mental health. Recognizing mental health stressors is crucial. This blog will discuss stress, its causes, and ways to manage it and improve our own mental health.

There is no getting away from the fact that stress is a part of all our lives. How we deal with that stress can contribute to poor mental health. A wide range of environmental, physiological, and mental situations can contribute to poor mental health. Let's have a look at some of those stressors.

What is stress?

Stress is our body's response to pressure or danger. Stress is not necessarily harmful and can help us navigate new and unexpected situations in our lives, such as having a baby, running a marathon, or taking on a new role at work.

Everyone deals with stress differently, with various factors affecting our ability to cope with short and long-term stress. If we are in a prolonged state of stress, the hormones that trigger the fight or flight response can leave us feeling overwhelmed and begin to affect our daily lives and mental health.

What can make us stressed?

Many situations can lead to stress and poor mental health. For many people, a decline in mental health comes from a combination of these factors.

Sometimes an individual who is coping fine with multiple stressors may suddenly develop poor mental health; this could be due to dealing with a range of situations for too long, a new stressor entering their lives, or just activating the stress hormones for an extended period.

There is no set rule in how situations and stressors will affect anyone; we are all different and deal with situations differently.

The following situations could contribute to poor mental health:


● Divorce

● Losing a job

● Financial problems.

● Work-related stress

● childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect

● social isolation or loneliness

● discrimination, including racism

● having a long-term physical health condition

● being a long-term caregiver for a loved one

● drug and alcohol misuse

● domestic violence

● significant trauma as an adult, for example, military combat, serious incidents where you feared for your life, or being the victim of a violent crime

● Positive situations can also cause stress, such as moving house, getting married, or being promoted at work

Although stress is unavoidable, there are ways to manage it and enhance mental health. Here's a little suggestion:

Take time for yourself and participate in activities that bring you pleasure and relaxation. This may involve engaging in physical activity, reading, meditating, or spending time with loved ones.

Seek support: Speaking with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional can help you manage stress and improve your mental health.

Prioritize work and establish attainable objectives to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Regular physical activity induces the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress.

Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet helps increase energy and reduce stress.

Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night to enhance mental clarity and reduce stress.

Learn stress management techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness can assist with managing stress in the present.

It is essential to keep in mind that everyone is unique, and what works for one individual may not work for another.

Experiment with several tactics to determine what works best. You can improve your mental health and well-being by taking efforts to control your stress.

Some mental health problems may run in families or can make a person more susceptible to developing mental health problems due to experiences and coping skills learned from our parents.

It is unknown how much our genes influence poor mental health development.

Many people who develop mental health problems don't have any relatives with the same condition.


What is clear is that a decline in mental health can be from a range of different factors and affect a wide variety of people.

While some of the stressors listed above may seem trivial compared with other trauma-based stressors, this does not remove the feelings of stress and mental health issues resulting from long-term stress.

Mental health difficulties can be caused by a wide variety of reasons and can have diverse effects on individuals. Therefore, it is essential to consider your individual stressors and identify strategies to lessen stress wherever possible.

So, spend a moment to ask yourself: can you identify any stressors which may be compromising your mental health? Have you identified various stressors that you are now experiencing? Exist stress-reduction strategies for any of the stressors?


1. Can you identify any life stressors that may affect your mental health?

2. Have you discovered there are multiple stressors you are currently dealing with?

3. Are there any ways you can reduce the stress you are feeling from any of the stressors?


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