Previously, we asked our healthcare community how they like to unwind after a shift. Here, we share some of their great relaxation techniques and how they can help you chill out after work.
Spending time with family
Anca told us that spending time with her nephew provides the perfect way to unwind after a healthcare shift. Studies have linked spending time with family and friends to boosting your mood, lowering stress levels, making better decisions about health behaviours, and even improving cardiovascular health. This means that precious moments with loved ones aren’t just good for your mental health but can have a positive impact on your physical health too.
It has been found that those with strong social connections are less likely to be at risk of a whole number of health problems, such as depression and high blood pressure, so ensuring that you get quality time with your family and friends is very important. If you’d like to expand your social circle, we suggest taking up a group activity or class, getting to know your neighbours, or chatting with those you work with.
Going on a dog walk
Both Sharon and Ken opt for walking their dogs to unwind after a healthcare shift. This means that they’re not only spending time with their lovely pets but are gaining all of the great benefits associated with walking too. Having a brisk walk outside can help you clear your head while burning excess calories and improving your heart health, and just 10 minutes can be enough if you don’t have lots of time on your hands.
Walking is great for your mental health as it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue while improving your self-esteem and boosting your mood. You’ll also find that a walk in the fresh air will improve your sleep quality, and it can be great for your confidence too. If you don’t have a dog to walk, try asking a friend or family member to walk with you, make a walking playlist, or see if you can borrow a neighbour’s pup!
Whether you’re settling down in front of Netflix like Vince or tuning into the soaps like Julie, watching TV is a popular way to unwind after a healthcare shift. This pastime offers a way to switch off and escape from the world for a while, creating a distraction from thinking about what happened during your shift and anything else that you may need to do now you’re home. Having this kind of downtime is important and will help you recharge. Plus, it gets you off your feet for a bit too!
Being mindful about what you’re watching on TV is important, especially if you’re tuning in before bed. Try to avoid anything scary or anxiety-inducing that could stress you out, and stay clear of binge-worthy shows that you can’t turn off as watching “one more episode” could disrupt your sleeping pattern. Reruns of your favourite shows can be particularly calming and relaxing as you know what to expect!
Cuddling up with pets
Naomi likes to spend time with her adorable pet rabbits to unwind after a healthcare shift, and there are plenty of benefits that come with this. Playing with your pet, whether this is a dog, cat, bunny, or hamster, can boost serotonin and dopamine levels which will help you to relax, and stroking a pet can quickly ease stress and tension due to the combination of touch and movement. Plus, the unconditional love that a pet offers is guaranteed to lift your mood!
As with walking, spending time with a pet has been found to help lower blood pressure, and those with pets are less likely to experience depression than people living in pet-free households. Pet owners have also been flagged as having lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets – which could indicate a lesser chance of getting heart disease. With so many benefits associated with having a pet, it’s unsurprising that they’re man’s best friend!
Thank you to those who contributed their ways to unwind after a healthcare shift, and we hope that by reading this, you’ve found a new way to relax!