Nursing is one of the toughest professions – packed schedules, stress, and dealing with unexpected situations are all part of the job. It’s also no secret that nurses work long hours, often with little time to themselves. But that’s not even the worst part.
When on duty, you must know how it feels to be exhausted but also feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Understandably, it’s hard to imagine how you can maintain your wellness while working as a nurse, but it’s possible (and crucial). Follow on for 6 Tips How Nurses Can Maintain Their Wellness!
1. Take Breaks When Needed
You may feel you need to give 100% all the time, but spending a few minutes on yourself every day is equally important, if not more.
Keep your stress levels in check when on duty, and try scheduling 15-20 minute breaks throughout the day to take a walk around the block or do some yoga stretches when you don’t have any patients waiting on you. This will help keep your energy levels up while giving your body some much-needed downtime – and you can always return to what you love later on with a fresh mind.
2. Pursue Higher Education
You’re likely to get frustrated by the monotonous work routine in the absence of challenges. One way nurses can breathe new life into their careers is by embracing education.
Suppose you want to ignite your professional curiosity, learn more about your field, and acquire new skills to deliver superior patient care. In that case, an MSN FNP online program is a great option. It’s designed to be accessible and convenient for working professionals who want to learn flexibly.
3. Eat Healthy Meals
Nurses should plan their meals to ensure you don’t eat out too often or skip your breakfasts altogether. Think about what foods will keep you energized throughout the day, and stock them up in your fridge, so you don’t have to run out during lunchtime (or worse, miss a meal).
Ensure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep those endocrine hormones flowing smoothly through your system (and even help with digestion issues). Also, don’t overdo it when it comes to sugar and caffeine intake—these things can affect your mood and energy levels in unexpected ways. Stick with black coffee or tea instead of soda if possible.
Try keeping a food journal so that you can track what foods are making you feel more fatigued or more energetic—and also track how much salt and sugar are in those foods (you might be surprised by what’s going on in those!).
4. Stay Active
Staying active is critical for your health. Not only does it help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your body strong, but it also helps you feel better physically and mentally. Try some of these ideas below if you’re not sure where to start.
Go for a walk – It may seem overwhelming to get into the habit of working out daily, but you could always just go for a 10-minute walk during your break. You’ll feel more invigorated and energized after your walk than if you just sat at the desk and spent a few minutes scrolling on your mobile phone.
Exercise in your free time – Getting up and moving around will help increase blood flow throughout your body, which is great for reducing stress levels and improving overall health. Try working out at least three times-a-week. This can be as simple as doing some 3 sets of 12 bodyweight squats while watching TV.
Try yoga – Yoga gives you improved flexibility, balance, and coordination (key components of good physical fitness). It can also help reduce pain levels caused by stiffness or joint issues while making you feel more confident and capable in your professional life.
5. Get Enough Sleep
You don’t have to be an athlete or a marathoner to deserve 7-9 hours of sleep —get some deeply relaxing shut-eye after every shift! Here’s why: when you’re sleeping, your body repairs and recovers so that it can be ready for the next day when it’s time to wake up and go to work.
Lack of sleep may pose an increased risk of depression and heart disease. You won’t even be able to function optimally during the day when you wake up feeling tired, which will negatively impact your performance at work.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive, Supportive People
Being around supportive people can help keep you motivated when times get tough and make it easier for you to stay on track with your wellness goals. This can be as simple as having a family member come over and check in with you to ensure that you’re doing okay or having a group of friends who set up regular get-togethers to support each other.
You could also reach out online and make friends with people who understand what nursing (or working at a fast-paced job) is like daily. When feeling overwhelmed or overworked, it’s easy to lose sight of all the good things happening around you. Your support system can help you to negate all those negative thoughts of isolation and re-energize you.
As a nurse, you’re often at the center of care for your patients. But just because you’re the one who knows them best and provides them with life-saving care, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health to fulfill your responsibilities.
The tips above will help nurses maintain wellness by ensuring you take better care of yourself and get the most out of your workday. Even if you’re working long hours and taking care of sick patients all day, ensure you eat well and get enough sleep every day.
If things are getting stressful at work, you must talk about it with someone who understands what it’s like to be in your position. Enrolling in an MSN program may also help polish your skills and expand your horizons so you’re better equipped to handle daily challenges.
What do you think are the best ways for nurses to manage or channel stress? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!