One of my very favorite things about nursing senior year so far is our mental health nursing class. I took psych100 (like every other undergrad ever) freshman year and enjoyed it, however mental health nursing is geared more towards real-life applications of what psychologists/mental health experts have figured out I suppose. The lectures are basically giant therapy sessions themselves. Really interesting, but simultaneously disgruntling because as we nurslings sit there soaking up our teacher’s wisdom and calmness, we’re realizing that 95% of the symptoms for she’s listing we have experienced as a result of nursing school..
SO why am I telling you this? HOW will this help YOU? OK that’s fair. I am telling you this because some of you may be taking some very stressful tests in the next few weeks, commonly known as “finals”. You may be quite stressed out by now and possibly quarantined in one of these:
Or reaching the point of delusional behaviors?..
If that’s the case I’m surprised you resurfaced to read this, but wait!–Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered you’re here, I just think you should use your break moments to nap…or cry?) ANYWAYS: here are some things you can do that just might not induce crying/hallucinatory stress-induced behavior)
Our teacher has given us several techniques she uses in her practice and that we can use in clinicals, and I’m going to share some with you.
Ask: “When you go to sleep tonight, a miracle is going to occur. All the problems that brought you to _______(this place)_____ will be gone. What will your life be like? Where will you be? Who will you be with? I want you to write me a letter from you in that time describing to me what your life is like. (sounds a little pointless but give it a shot, what’s it going to do? eat you?)
To Go to Sleep/Relax:
–>Lay in bed (or wherever you are) and say 5 things you can see, 5 things you can hear, 5 things you can feel. Do it again with 4 things, then 3, 2, and 1. Repeat (back to 5 and down) until fully relaxed.
–>Close your eyes, breath and do a “full body scan”. Start at the bottom and relax/feel every single part. Start at your toes, feel your toes, calves, knees, the pressure of your chair… etc… all the way to the top of your head. Note areas that are tense. Tense those areas even more, more, then completely let them go. Repeat once or twice.
–>Find a picture of a place you feel safe. Keep that picture somewhere close by and when you feel overwhelmed, take 15 seconds to hold/look at that picture, and imagine being exactly in that place. What exactly does that place feel like? (go through details! down to the temperature, and how your face feels).
–>Try these. Normally I’d giggle at the whole meditation thing and probably not endorse it BUT here are some awesome 3-20 guided meditation and breathing exercises. *Link*
Want to know something? I’ve been trying these out for myself, and kid you not, they are gems. Some of them might seem cliche or obvious (well yes Rebecca, I know the whole “close your eyes and breath” deal) but if you really give it a shot it can’t hurt. Personally I really liked writing a letter from my future self, accepting that I certainly don’t need my life to go in that particular way but the act of allowing myself the freedom to imagine and “design” a life I want now was therapeutic itself.
If none of these work, try this video*
And of course a playlist of some of my personal favorite relaxation tunes!
“RELAX. Just Do It.” (– Mugantu)