Being a nurse is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. It’s extremely hands-on and fulfilling, with immediate gratification when you have managed to save someone’s life or helped to improve someone’s health.

But it’s not an easy job to do; the role is demanding and stressful and if you don’t find a way of dealing with your day to day stress, it could manifest itself into a much bigger health problem.

Working as an NHS nurse can open your eyes to a lot of pain and suffering. Sometimes this works in a positive way and can motivate us; other times, it can be crippling to our self-esteem and can impact our outlook on life.

Here are 5 ways of coping with your stress at work.

Take a Positive Approach to Work

It’s not easy watching patients suffer in pain but a positive outlook can be extremely healthy, not just for you, but also for the patients you look after.

If having a positive attitude still isn’t helping you, be sure to dig further and try to understand the problems with your day to day work.

If you’re not happy in your current role, it’s important to understand that you have the freedom to move on (even when you’re attached to your patients or colleagues). Use the Nursing Personnel website to search for the best jobs in your area. Remember: there’s no harm in looking.

Have Regular Exercise

Telling your patients to live healthily is one thing. But doing it yourself is another. In stressful jobs, it’s very common for people to over or under eat and generally not make time for exercise.

If you’re depressed, making yourself get to the gym can be even more difficult. But exercising can really lift your mood and you will notice the difference once you start engaging in physical exercise more regularly.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is key if you want to have energy at work. Healthy brain function is very much down to what you put into your body at breakfast, lunch and dinner and there are plenty of serotonin-boosting foods that can help you better your mood.

Food that is rich in vitamin B, omega 3, L-Theanine and magnesium can all help to combat the problems of poor mood, anxiety or depression. Whether you make a simple morning smoothie or cook up a healthy, nutrient rich meal for dinner, choosing the right food can really make a difference.

Talk to Your Colleagues

Talking to friends and family can help to get some things off your chest from time to time. But sometimes, it’s only the people who work in nursing who can truly empathise with your issues.

Making friends at your hospital or clinic is crucial to having a happy working life so be sure to build relationships within your team. Take part in any nights out or team bonding events and you will be able to find great support around you.

Join a Support Group

Some hospitals have support groups which are designed to support nurses during times when things are most stressful. Some of these support groups (such as Peer Support Services) are also there to help injured, ill or disabled nurses who are looking for people to talk to.

If your hospital or local area doesn’t have a support group, you can try and start your own. Even if it’s just a few people meeting for coffee every so often, chatting to people who understand and care will really help.