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4 Ways to Relieve a Tension Headache

14 February 2018

Most nurses spend the majority of their shifts on their feet. By the end of the shift, your muscles can feel stiff and you can also suffer from tension headaches. They are called ‘tension’ headaches for a reason! Stress relief and relaxation can be an easy cure. Here are a few quick tips to help relieve your discomfort: 

Loosen up your muscles

Heating or cooling can really help with tension headaches, but you must be careful which one you choose. Sore neck muscles usually prefer heat, but in the case of headaches, heat can sometimes make the headache worse. Trust your instincts: what will work in the case of a headache is whatever feels soothing to you. It may vary from one time to the next. Sometimes alternating back and forth feels great. Don’t forget to include your neck, face and jaw muscles.  

And breathe…

Deep and slow breathing is a great way to relax muscles and put you in a better state of mind. Try this simple breathing technique and exhale away any discomfort: 

Imagine a point just below your belly button. Breathe into that spot, filling your stomach with air. Let the air fill you from the stomach up, then let it out like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow breath you breathe out, you should feel more relaxed. 

Slowing down your breathing will also help you relax. Do this by taking long, slow breaths. Count slowly to five as you breathe in and then count slowly to five as you breathe out. Your body will naturally relax as your breathing slows.  

Sneak in a neck stretch

The chin tuck is a great way to stretch your neck muscles: 

  • Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.  
  • Draw your shoulder blades together and keep your head facing forward.  
  • Gently move your head back, making sure to keep it level; you don’t want your chin to lift up or dip down.  
  • Hold this stretch for five seconds and repeat five to 10 times.       

Treat yourself to a massage

If other methods aren’t working for your headache, a good head, shoulders and back massage can alleviate tense muscles around the skull and therefore tension headaches. Massages also improve your posture and reduce the frequency of headaches. 

Need an excuse for a bit of pampering? This is definitely the best option! 

Do you have any top tips on how to help with tension headaches? Let us know on our Facebook page

6 Tips on Recovering from Night Shifts

05 February 2018

Nurses are no strangers to working shifts. To help you stay healthy, here are some great tips that could help you combat the effects working night shifts has on you.

1. Drinking coffee

At the start of your shift, drinking coffee will help keep you alert. However, don’t reach for the coffee later in your shift, or you may have trouble falling asleep when you get home.

2. Blackout blinds and heavy curtains

When you’re on the night shift and sleeping during the day, use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out the sunlight. Even if your eyes are closed, any bit of sunlight will tell your brain that it’s daytime and will disturb your sleep rhythm.

3. Eat meals that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat

Weight gain can be an unfortunate effect of working night shifts. When you finish your shift, eat meals that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat – they will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Some of your best options are toast, orange juice, and cereal.

4. Don’t drive home alone

A risk that comes with working on night shifts is physical safety. When you’re tired, make sure you’re not driving home alone – try sharing a lift with a colleague. Otherwise, choose public transport if possible and never leave without a co-worker or friend.

5. Talk to your loved ones

Night shifts can make you feel isolated, especially if you miss family celebrations. Your work schedule can also make family members feel neglected. To help address these issues, it’s always a good idea to talk to your loved ones and explain how your working schedule is different.

6. Keep yourself hydrated

To avoid fatigue and headaches after your shift, keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You should avoid drinking tea because of its diuretic effect on the body, and limit your consumption of carbonated drinks. Bring your own bottle to the station so you can drink lots of water when you are thirsty.

Do you have any top tips on how to survive night shifts? Let us know on our Facebook page!

The NHS ban on agency workers has been paused

03 April 2017

We are pleased to announce that NHS Improvement are pausing the instruction ‘that trusts should ensure staff employed through an agency are not substantively employed elsewhere in the NHS.’ These rules were due to come into force on 1 April, but after a significant amount of negative feedback, the decision has been made to not go ahead with this change for now.
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