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A confident and smiling female nurse wearing blue scrubs is walking outside a hospital on her way to work. She is carrying a blue duffle bag with all the things she will need for a long shift at work.

Three Steps to Build Resilience

3 minFebruary, 27 2024

Nurses and other health care providers deserve the utmost appreciation for the tremendous sacrifices they make every day to care for their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic not only enormously increased demand for health care services, it also increased the physical, mental, and emotional stress placed on health care workers. Supporting the physical, mental and emotional well-being of nurses following one of the most prolific global pandemics in history is an essential component of recovering from this crisis. Health care organizations can support worker well-being by providing and sustaining a positive work environment.

In addition, nurse and other health care providers can promote their own well-being by enhancing their personal resilience. ANCC’s Pathway to Excellence® Program has some simple suggestions for things you can do every day to help mitigate stress and build your personal resilience.

What Is Resilience?

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, resilience “isn't about putting up with something tough or coping on your own. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key part of being resilient”. Proactively increasing your resilience and enhancing your well-being can help you adapt to difficult and challenging events and help prevent against burnout.


Here are 3 Simple Things You Can Do Every Day to Relieve Stress and Build Resilience

1. Recognize if you are feeling stress and take steps to manage it. Acknowledge that what you feel is normal.

  • Find someone trusted you can talk to. Verbalizing how you feel can lessen your anxiety.
  • Limit your exposure to news and social media.
  • Verbalize what you need and accept help from others (utilize your organization’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if needed).
  • Find additional tips to manage stress at Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation.

2. Practice self-care

  • Ensure you get breaks. Find a place where you can be alone and have some reflective time. Even a short step away to decompress can be helpful.
  • Keep nutritious snacks on hand you can easily pick up and eat anytime.
  • Maintain a healthy sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene, such as turning off screens before bed and going to bed around the same time every night (find tips for surviving the night shift here).
  • Keep a journal. Whether it is a gratitude journal, a simple recount of the day’s events or writing down your thoughts and worries, journaling can be an effective self-care strategy.
  • Find additional self-care information on the American Nurses Foundation Well-Being Initiative webpage.

3. Cultivate kindness and recognition

  • Everyone around you is most likely feeling the same stress and exhaustion. Perform one random act of kindness a day. The feeling you get knowing you’ve made someone’s day will help to energize you. And even if you’re not expecting it, you’re bound to get it back in return when you create a culture of kindness and recognition.

Learn more about the Pathway to Excellence program at

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