Yoga: Most of us know what yoga is or have taken a yoga class. If you haven't encountered yoga, it is a series of postures and stretches that can help one to become more centered, breath better, and have better overall health. This exercise can be especially good for people who work in stressful environments such as nursing. The breathing techniques can help reduce stress, the stretching is good for the muscles and increases circulation and gives one a overall sense of well being. If you have never done yoga, look for free or low cost introductory classes in and around your community and try it out. I have no doubt you will find one!
Coloring and/or Painting: Remember as a kid when you had to take art classes? Weren't they fun?! Even if it wasn't your favorite class, art is a great way to express yourself and be creative! Painting classes are popping up all over the place. These classes are fun and you get to socialize with new people! You can go on Groupon or Living Social if your looking for a deal on classes. And did I say coloring? You bet I did. Many authors are now making adult coloring books with intricate designs and pictures. Coloring can be cathartic and relaxing, and at the end you will have a beautiful picture. Try a book like The Enchanted Forest by Joanna Basford. It might sound juvenile, but I promise you might find yourself having a blast and coloring your stress away.
Taking a walk: Yup. Sometimes it's that simple. Especially now that Summer is coming (at least it is here in the US) you will notice everyone is getting outside. I know it's hard for us nurses to do sometimes, especially with 12 hour shifts and then family responsibilities, but I dare you to just try, maybe for 2 times a week, to take a 30 minute walk. You could do this alone, with your significant other, or with a friend. It's a great stress reliever, you get time to either talk or be alone with no interruptions and its good exercise!
Meditation: Good ole meditation. Now I know sitting quite for 20 minutes doesn't make sense for a lot of people, but meditation has been proven to lower the heart rate, slow the release of cortisol, reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Try guided meditations or just listening to nature sounds while sitting quitely in your favorite chair (try not to fall asleep).
Try as many or as little of these as you want! I am a personal believer in self-care, especially when you work to serve others! There are many more ways but the most important thing is that you find the one that is right for you. Have fun with these and get centered!