Living in the United States as an international nursing student comes with an abundance of exciting perks, but there are also challenges to overcome. Adjusting to a new culture and educational system while dealing with the demands of nursing studies can result in stress. Having family and friends so far away can also have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. We’ve brought together our top tips to help you cope with stress, based on our experience as the top employer for international nursing students in the U.S.
Understand stress and its impact on student life
Stress is a common experience for many students and nurses alike. It is essential to acknowledge when you’re feeling under pressure. Recognize the impact of stress on your mental and physical health, and develop strategies to manage it effectively. Acknowledge that stress is a normal part of life, and practice self-compassion. You can read more about managing stress as an international healthcare professional here.
Prioritize time management and organization
Develop good time management skills to balance academic demands and personal life. Having a good work-life balance is important to create a healthy mindset, so try not to neglect it. Create a schedule that allocates time for studying, self-care, and leisure activities. Prioritize tasks and break them down into manageable steps to feel organized and in control.
Create a healthy lifestyle
Maintain a balanced diet, exercise as regularly as you can, and prioritize getting enough sleep. These practices are crucial for your overall well-being and can help with stress management. Engaging in physical activity can alleviate stress and improve mood, so consider joining a gym or participating in group exercise classes.
Don't hesitate to reach out for help when needed. Lean on the support systems available to nursing students, such as counseling services, academic advisors, and peer support groups. Connecting with fellow international students who might be experiencing similar challenges can be particularly beneficial.
Homesickness is a common feeling among international students. You can read our article about dealing with homesickness to help you, but in the meantime, here are some quick tips:
Develop a support network on campus through clubs, organizations, or cultural societies
Engage in hobbies and activities that remind you of home or bring you joy
Embrace new experiences and make friends from various backgrounds
Use technology to connect with family and friends back home regularly
Set up regular video calls with loved ones, and share updates via emails, photos, or videos
Plan visits when feasible
Use social media platforms to stay connected and engage in virtual gatherings
Free resources for stress management and mental wellbeing
The following resources can help you effectively manage stress level and enhance your mental well-being:
Headspace: A popular meditation and relaxation app offering free exercises for stress reduction and mindfulness
Breathe2Relax: An app designed to teach deep breathing techniques proven to reduce stress
Virtual Support Communities: Utilize online forums, social media groups, and blogs to connect with other nursing students and professionals for support and advice
Calm: An app offering a variety of meditation and relaxation exercises to reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance overall wellbeing
Mindshift: A free app specifically designed to help manage anxiety, with tools for reframing negative thoughts, relaxation techniques, and strategies for facing fears and worries head-on
7 Cups: An online platform that provides free emotional support and counseling services through anonymous chat rooms
TED Talks: TED Talks cover a wide range of topics, including stress management and mental health
Find more resources to help manage mental well-being here.
As an international nursing student in the U.S., managing stress and overcoming homesickness are vital for your academic success and overall well-being. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, staying connected with loved ones back home, and utilizing the mentioned free resources, you can navigate your journey with resilience and achieve your goals as a future registered nurse. Remember, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your patients.
Conexus MedStaff is a top employer for international student nurses on an F1 visa looking to start a U.S. career, with exciting opportunities to work in healthcare facilities throughout the country. Find out how we can help you start your career as a nurse in the United States.