I’m usually a pretty calm, level-headed, and easy going type of person. But within a few short months of starting nursing school, I was so stressed out that every muscle in my body was tense! I even started to unconsciously grind my teeth and clench my jaw. I was doing it so much that my mouth would “pop” every time I opened it! I was cranky towards my husband, my friends, even my cat and dog. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and I never felt like I had time to do anything fun because there was always more to study. I quickly became a miserable person, and I didn’t like it.
Does this sound familiar to you? I knew I had to figure something out quick, or else risk becoming certifiably insane. And trust me, I know insane…before I became a nurse, I was planning on becoming a psychologist! So I dusted off my clinical psychology materials, and researched some practical tips that can help you keep your sanity…even during nursing school.
What’s the Worse that Can Happen?
Most of the bad stuff we worry about never happens. And the bad stuff that does happen is rarely as bad as we thought it would be. So the next time you feel stressed about nursing school, ask yourself what you’re really so afraid of. Disappointing your family? Not achieving your dream of becoming a nurse? Chances are that even if your worst fear DID happen, circumstances wouldn’t be as bad as you thought. Your family and friends would still love you, and you could still find a way to do the things you love about nursing at another nursing school (or even in another career, if you choose!). So stop wasting your brainpower on worries that probably won’t even happen, and focus on what you can control right now!
Broaden Your Horizons
There’s a real temptation in nursing school to become a hermit until graduation. Fight the urge! Isolation leads to negative thoughts and sometimes depression…neither of which is good for your nursing school success. It’s important to unwind and add a couple non-nursing activities into your life. Whether it’s going for a walk with a friend, getting involved at your church, or just sitting at Starbucks with a good book, you need to have a few non-nursing activities in your life that make you feel great. Just be careful about balancing your time. It won’t help to over-schedule fun stuff and cause burn out; we want to prevent nursing school burn-out.
Get Real About Your Grades
Do you need straight “A’s” to become a good nurse? Some nurses (and people in general) will give you a hard time about this controversial idea. They ask, “Would you rather have a ‘C’ nurse taking care of you, or an ‘A’ nurse?” What a silly question. Here’s my answer…I would rather have a nurse who knows what they’re doing! So as long as you’re passing your classes, then give yourself permission to forget about your grades and focus on learning how to think like a nurse. After all, that’s your most important goal.
If you have a “nursing school makes me crazy” story that you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear it! Just leave a comment below telling me about your experience. Trust me, things can get better!