Stress kann viele verschiedene Formen annehmen.
Stress kann viele verschie­dene Formen anneh­men.Bild: Illus­tra­tion 131889245 © Yulia Ryabo­kon – Dreamstime.com

Causes of Overwork

Many nurses often feel exposed to high levels of strain, both physi­cal and mental. The most common symptoms are: back pain, insom­nia, and burn-out. In the field of nursing, the rate of people suffe­ring from this is extre­mely high. There are several reasons for this. The daily demand on the body and the mind eats away at nursing staff’s wellbeing. Back and neck pains are caused by frequently carry­ing and lifting people or objects. Many profes­sio­nal nurses frequently work under time pressure. As a result, the feeling arises for many that they have not cared for the residents well enough.

The suffe­ring of people with illnes­ses or impairments can also become trauma­tic for many nurses. After all, they have to watch every day as residents struggle with their situa­tion. Yet, even working outside the nursing home does not protect workers from mental diffi­cul­ties. On the contrary, the demands of relati­ves are a not infre­quent burden on nurses. Demen­tia in older genera­ti­ons can also be diffi­cult for relati­ves. Then there are also the perso­nal interests and the occup­a­tion of the nurses. Recon­ci­ling both with the person being cared for is parti­ally very diffi­cult and highly stress-inducing.

Tips for engaging with care and nursing in a healthy way

#1 – Balan­cing the workload with time off

Sounds easy, but of course it often isn’t that simple. Ideally, the workload and time off should roughly balance out. Where possi­ble, tasks should also be passed on to others every now and again. In addition to this, there should also be suffi­ci­ent breaks. To help reduce work strain, you should also know your bounda­ries and only do as much as is actually possi­ble. Tasks should be worked through one at a time, so that your mind doesn’t become too chaotic at work. Spend your free time pursuing your own interests or spending time with your loved ones.

#2 – Take care of your health

People who are healthy can cope with more strain. A healthy lifestyle is there­fore parti­cu­larly advis­able. This includes:

  • A healthy diet
  • Exercise (see #3)
  • Not smoking
  • Little to no alcohol
  • Suffi­ci­ent, restful sleep
  • Drinking enough water

#3 – Look after your back – exercise

Your back is what is affec­ted most by working in nursing. There­fore, it is very important to look after it as much as possi­ble. Ensure that you are lifting safely: when you lift, tense the muscles in your back and stomach, lift from a squat­ting position and use the power from your legs. Move slowly and with control. In addition, people in need of care should only be lifted with the help of another person. Beds can also be adjus­ted so that the resident lying there can be cared for by nursing staff who are standing. Equally, you can also someti­mes take a step back at work. Let the people being cared for try to accom­plish certain things, which are within their capabi­li­ties, themsel­ves and provide them with assis­tance as they do so.

Further­more, you should support your back muscles with enough exercise. Walks, running, and yoga can help, but targe­ted back training and exerci­ses are especially good.

#4 – Look out for the symptoms

Do not undere­sti­mate the first signs of overwork, and take them seriously. For example, you should look out for the following symptoms:

  • Muscle tension, neck and back pains
  • Restless­ness, heart palpi­ta­ti­ons, aggres­si­ve­ness and irritability
  • Insom­nia, heada­ches, and fatigue
  • Sadness, depres­sion, and anxiety

See your doctor regularly.

#5 – Make use of avail­able support

A (free)consultation targe­ted at nurses and care workers can be useful here. It offers support in the form of counsel­ling pertai­ning to resour­ces and facili­ties, as well as offering mental support and relief. You should also speak to other nursing staff and discuss possi­ble problems and solutions.