Nurses advocate healthy lifestyles to their patients. But when applying the same in their lives, they deviate from their own rules. Often the only thing hovering over their mind, at work or home, is their patients’ health, shift schedules, etc.
Investing yourself so deeply into work and ignoring self-care creates stress. A 2018 study shows that more than 70% of nurses feel mild and extreme stress at work. The build-up of tension, the pressure of the work, and physical fatigue are surefire components for burnout. Burnout makes you disinterested, impact your enthusiasm, and increases absenteeism. Ultimately you cannot perform your job to the fullest.
Taking measures to care for your health and designating some me-time is much better than experiencing burnout. Some ways to care for yourself are mentioned below.[lwptoc]
Nursing is an ever-growing career. As a result, continuous learning is an important part of nurses’ careers. They have to acquire new research and treatment methods and improve their ways of patient care to have better patient outcomes and more patient satisfaction.
Continuous learning is not without benefits for nurses. Nurses who continuously engage in learning endeavors have higher professional standards due to competency upgrades, which improve their performance.
Study says that work stress causes employees psychological agony and hamper their performance. In contrast, improved performance at work reduces stress. It makes you more satisfied with your job, implying that continuous learning benefits your mental health and job performance.
Many online programs are available for busy nurses who cannot take a break to study. There are online clinical nurse leader programs, Family nurse practitioner programs, and similar others available to nurses to upgrade skills, knowledge, and work in a specialized area. These programs are convenient, flexible, and somewhat less costly too.
Be mindful of your dietary choices
Your diet plays an important role in keeping you healthy. When you are on duty, you have the excuse that work keeps you busy, preventing you from being mindful of your diet. As a result, you tend to rely on junk and fast food such as packaged treats, cookies, donuts, burgers, etc. But such unhealthy food makes you feel full but does not give you any nutritional benefits. Instead, they provide you with empty calories that only make you obese.
The physical challenges of your job at the hospital dilapidate your body, and your mind battles with stress all day long when exposed to all kinds of risks. Both mental and physical challenges of your work as a nurse are unavoidable. Still, you can take measures to ensure their proper restoration with a healthy diet.
Your diet should include all the nutrients your body needs to live a happy and healthy life. You can develop a weekly diet plan, but it is better to consult a doctor. The best approach is to eat a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. Also, eat in moderation; overeating food can harm your health.
Develop a daily ritual
There is comfort in developing a daily routine. You feel more organized and in control of your life. Hence, you feel less stressed and more contented, leading to better mental health.
Routines like sleep time help improve your emotional well-being and mental sharpness. Similarly, when you know when and what to eat, you rely on a healthier diet plan and have a proper meal time, even at work.
Some people have a morning routine with a short physical activity session (walking, exercise, yoga, etc.) and a proper breakfast before leaving for work. In the evening, they take their pet for a walk, talk to their friends or spend time with the family, and so on. For weekends, there can be self-pampering sessions.
Your routine depends on what you like to do instead of imitating other’s life. It adds stress to your life, which you cannot afford to have as a nurse, on top of all the pressure you get from the workplace. Therefore, make a routine based on activities you enjoy doing.
Nurses have a tough job, which involves a considerable amount of walking and running throughout the shift. Assessments, admissions, rounds, discharges, and whatnot drains your mental and physical energy. This much physical activity throughout the day consumes your nutritional batteries and dehydrates you too.
Ideally, you work best when your body is properly hydrated. According to studies, dehydration can impact your cognition, cause changes in your mood, and hamper your ability to think clearly. All these changes happening in your body and brain affects your performance.
On the contrary, proper hydration prevents body aches, keeps joints lubricated, improves blood circulation and nutrient transport, and eases headaches. Hydration keeps your skin clearer and rejuvenated, making you feel more confident and happy.
Drinking water when you are busy at work might look like the last thing on your agenda. Therefore, you have to find ways that make it easier for you to drink more water. For instance, you can always keep a reusable water bottle with you and sip through it occasionally. Refill the bottle when it is about to finish. This way, you can stay hydrated all day. You can also monitor how much water you have drunk in a day.
Practice yoga every day
Yoga is a physical activity that involves stretching your body in certain positions. It offers many mental and physical health benefits. Therefore, even if you can’t find time for a full exercise session, practice yoga for at least 20 minutes daily. Some health benefits of performing yoga are:
- Doing yoga helps you recover from an illness faster, especially if you have been through surgery.
- It also Improves balance and boosts endurance and physical flexibility, reducing muscle pain.
- Yoga strengthens your spinal cord (the American College of Physicians lists yoga among the basic treatments for chronic back pain)
- Yoga also offers cardiovascular health by reducing body-wise inflammation and controlling weight and high blood pressure.
- Stretching your body during yoga also improves your mood by boosting energy and enthusiasm and quashing negative feelings.
Taking care of your patients and performing your job with the highest degree of efficiency is not without rewards. But you must realize that you cannot fulfill your job fully if you are mentally and physically unfit. Some ways to keep you mentally and physically healthy are mentioned above. You must make these ways a part of your routine to see their effects on your life.