20 Ways Nurses Can Beat Depression

how to cope with depression as a nurse

Whether we like it or not, 9% of American adults suffer from depression, most of whom are health care professionals like nurses.

Nursing burnout may be caused by years of long work hours and extremely high levels of stress. If not properly managed, this may lead to depression, which then affects a nurse’s productivity at work.

If you are one of the nurses who suffer from depression, you should try to help yourself.  Remember that it is important for individuals to be appreciated and taken care of physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

Here are twenty ways that can help nurses overcome depression:



1. Know that you are not alone. Thinking that you are the only person who feels that way will only make you feel worse. There are hundreds of other nurses who feel what you are feeling right now.


2. Take breaks. Learn how to stop working when you feel tired. Do not overwork yourself as this could only make things worse.


3. Talk to people. Find a “venting buddy.” It could be a family member, a friend, or anyone who will actually listen to whatever you want to say—and understand it.


4. Learn some calming techniques. This will help you especially when you are at work. Try to be happy whilst working, even when you don’t feel like it. This will make you feel better in the long run.


5. Go outdoors. If you have time, go outside. The world is much more beautiful up close. Take pictures or go for a walk.


6. Exercise. Find time to exercise. A healthy body will not only make you look good, it will also make you feel better. READ: 10 Best Exercise Routines To Make You A Better Nurse. 


7. Avoid alcohol. It has been proven that alcohol can make depression worse. Put that glass down and think about how to improve your life.


8. Eat a balanced diet. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of junk foods. Chocolate will make you feel better, but make sure that you limit your intake of sweets. READ: Best Diet for Nurses – 8 Nutrition Tips For A Healthier You.


9. Get some rest. Enough rest will help you feel energized and ready for the next day. Avoid getting too tired or stressed from work.


10. Wear comfortable clothes that will boost your confidence. It’s really easy to just wear whatever scrubs you have available, even if you don’t feel too confident with them on. This is the time when you should go buy those scrubs you have been keeping your eyes on for the last couple of months. Feeling confident with what you are wearing will give you that sense of pride and happiness that will really make your day a good one.


11. Limit your time with negative people. By now, you already know who these people are. Although sometimes you do not have a choice but talk to them, set limits. Leave when you have to.


12. Face a window as often as you can. Anywhere would be fine, at work or at home. If you don’t have the time to go outside, face a window instead. Look at the outside world, observe and appreciate.


13. Avoid the drama. In line with limiting your time with negative people, remember to avoid anyone else’s drama as much as possible. You have your own drama to deal with. Don’t burden yourself with theirs.


14. Let go. If you are facing something difficult that you can’t change, learn how to accept it and let go. Feeling bad about it for a long time will not make things different for you. Just let go.


15. Do not isolate yourself. Never punish yourself by wanting to be alone. Self-isolation will only make you feel bad about yourself. Go out with friends. Find someone to talk to.


16. Cry. Let all the thoughts and feelings that are drowning your emotions go. Cry as much as you want to. Find a private place, and just cry your eyes out. You will not believe how amazing you’d feel after doing so.


17. Do the things you used to love doing. Even if you don’t feel like doing anything. Think of the things that used to make you feel happy. Grab a paintbrush and paint. Get a pen and write. Or better yet, take out your Play Station™ and have fun.


18. Seek help from a professional. See a doctor or find support groups that will help you speak your thoughts out. This is one of the best ways to help you cope with your symptoms and help you manage your life better.


19. Take care of yourself. Never take yourself for granted just because you feel lonely. Take time to take care of yourself and never ignore your symptoms.


20. Forgive yourself. If you tried doing these tips today and you failed, forgive yourself and try again tomorrow. Try again even the days after tomorrow.



These tips will not cure your depression, nor will it make you feel happy immediately.  If you try hard enough, they will definitely help you feel better. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us. We would love to hear from you!


About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Philippines. She is always happy to share her passion for writing and blogging. With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically battles each day, one article at a time.