Nurses, try out these hobbies to relieve stress

Nurses combat a number of challenges on the job. Staffing shortages, overwhelming work loads and dauntingly long shifts are constant burdens for today’s health care heroes. There is one burden, perhaps above all, that modern nurses take home with them: stress.

According to a survey published by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, roughly 100,000 nurses left the U.S. workforce during the pandemic due to stress, burnout and retirement. By 2027, 900,000 nurses are expected to leave the workforce. That’s a fifth of all nurses right now, and it’s all because of unprecedented levels of work-related burnout.

With that in mind, here are some stress relieving hobbies that are perfect for nurses.

Get crafty

The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA reported the mental health benefits of knitting to be “remarkable.” According to the center, the activity can help calm both the body and the brain through soothing, repetitive motions. It’s a hobby that registered nurse Chanda Kim stands by.

“I actually knit and crochet to relax. I make anything from jewelry to prayer shawls,” she told Scrubs Magazine. “I never keep any of it for myself. It’s always given as a present or donated to charity. I make baby booties for the local hospital. I even made a shawl for a resident recently. She was going home on pass to a family reunion, and was concerned because she didn’t have anything ‘nice’ to wear in the picture that would have her eight great grandchildren in it. She was so happy when I gave it to her, she insisted on showing it off to everyone. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing people’s excitement when they get a handmade gift. Very relaxing after a day on the job where we don’t always get thanked!”

Get outdoors for some gardening

According to The American Institute of Stress, gardening is a great stress reliever. By encouraging creativity, engaging mental focus, Vitamin D exposure, healthy exposure to bacteria and promoting physical activity, gardening can reduce cortisol levels, improve your immune system and your overall health.

“When we spent time outside in our gardens, we regulate our emotions are more efficiently that we would if cooped up indoors,” the institute reported. “Part of that is down to the Vitamin D that we have previously described, partly down to the fact that we are engaging in mindfulness and thus not allowing our minds to wander to unwelcome thoughts, and partly because we are engaging in a physical workout – whether we’re conscious of this or not.”

Get coloring

Adult coloring books have exploded in popularity over the past few years, and there is a scientific explanation to the craze. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, adult coloring books are good for your health.

Adult coloring books promote mindfulness by allowing participants to meditatively stay in the moment. As a noncompetitive activity, they also allow participants to embrace the imperfect and promote their creativity. It also calms the brain and allows the body to relax, relieving stress.

“Although coloring isn’t the ultimate cure for stress and anxiety, sitting down for a long coloring session holds great value,” the health system reported. “As you color, pay attention to your breathing rhythm, ensuring steady, full breaths from your diaphragm, and tune into your heart rate periodically if you can.”