How do you respond when you reach the point of “stressed out”? Do you ever feel a disconnect between your brain and your body during these moments?
As school nurses, you experience eustress (good stress), distress (bad stress), hypostress (low stress), and hyperstress (high stress). During the past few school years, you have likely experienced your fair share of distress and hyperstress. What has overstimulation and negative stressors done to you? Have you been experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression? Have you experienced changes in your body because of your stress response—increased headaches, muscle tension, brain fog, fatigue, nausea or intestinal issues? If you have, you are not alone.
Research is currently underway to examine how COVID-19 related stressors have impacted the wellbeing of school nurses. NASN looks forward to sharing results of such studies with you and working with you to design ways NASN can best support school nurses.
While we await these research findings, I want to address what I already know. School nurses experience a LOT of stress. I had the opportunity, during an incredibly stressful time in my school nursing career, to join a Mind Body Medicine Skills Group where I attended weekly Zoom meetings with a group of school employees throughout my state. Trained facilitators led a series of activities with us during each of our Zoom meetings:
- Introductory mindful breathing
- Sharing our current mental state with the group
- Learning more about the mind-body connection and a new mind-body skill each week
- Practicing the new mind-body skill
- Checking in about our experience with the skill
- Closing mindful breathing
During this month, I will be introducing you to several of the mind-body skills that I learned and enjoyed during these sessions. These skills take practice. I hope you will consider adding one or more of the skills you learn this month to your mindful practice and approach to dealing with school nursing and general life stressors.
Andrea Tanner, PhD, RN, NCSN
NASN Consulting Research Strategist