The healthcare industry necessitates a certain amount of grit and passion from its professionals. And nurses, in particular, are prime examples of such commitment and dedication. Nurses act as an integral part of healthcare by looking after the patient’s dietary, medical, and hygiene needs and several other tasks. And given their constantly on-go lifestyle, maintaining a work-life balance can become stressful.
Many of these caretakers often neglect taking care of their mental and physical health. Plus, nurses often struggle to manage the stress that’s draining their well-being. Yet, this struggle is more common than you think. As statistics reveal, most nurses have greater chances of being sleep-deprived, overweight, and suffering higher stress levels. To deliver quality healthcare, one must bear several mentally and physically taxing tasks. So, healthcare professionals must take charge of their well-being before all else and ensure they stay satisfied, content, healthy at their jobs.
Below are eight helpful tips to assist nurses in managing and boosting their overall health:
Indulge in hobbies
Venture outside your work life to include engaging hobbies that boost your mental health. Doing something you love can alleviate stress and help direct efforts into other aspects of your personality instead of just work. For instance, take music lessons, pick up painting, or return to school for an advanced degree, such as a doctorate. If the last option seems inviting, then reading about when will nurse practitioners need a doctorate might persuade you further. In fact, higher educastion can help nurses opt for more diverse and less physically and mentally taxing job roles within the system.
Although strict shift schedules may make participating in activities away from the hospital not-so-feasible, you can still find something enjoyable to do in the hospital.
Develop a routine
The biggest reason behind a lack of purpose and professional motivation is not setting a proper routine or schedule. But, how can someone possibly develop one while working 12-hour night shifts on alternate days? Indeed, it’s not easy. However, one can work around the problem by developing a more customized routine to suit their individual needs. For instance, create a schedule for only the working days of the week and then try incorporating some rituals and habits into it.
Start with the basics and create something that keeps your energy and spirits high on working days and allows for relaxation when it’s time off. By doing so, you’ll be less likely to feel drained or go off track.
Load up on nutrients
Keeping yourself nourished throughout the workweek and during shifts with balanced meals and healthy snacks is the surest way to guarantee a healthy body and mind. Consider meal prepping before the start of the week. Plus, you can extend your shifts so you can bring your snacks and meals to work. Consequently, you’ll have some healthy choices waiting when you’re done with another exhausting day.
Try including more whole foods, such as vegetables and whole grains, instead of reaching for the first processed food item you see on the shelf. For instance, some healthy snack substitutes include nuts, fruits, and energy bars. Also, keep a tab on your caffeine consumption. When going through a mid-day slump, opt for green tea or other organic alternatives.
Keep yourself hydrated
Any working individual will agree that sometimes even maintaining adequate hydration can seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, with a bit of care, dehydration is still largely avoidable. Nurses with busy schedules can carry a reusable water bottle to ensure they don’t go thirsty during shifts. Avoid putting the bottle in a corner and keep it somewhere visible, so it acts as a reminder to drink.
Moreover, if you’re behind on your water intake, you can set small drinking challenges throughout the day. For example, take a drink whenever someone compliments your work or says thank you.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
For at least ten to fifteen minutes daily, turn off your electronic gadgets, sit in a quiet space, and try to bring your mind and body at peace. It may seem like a chore at first. But, as you practice breathing and relaxing without distractions, you’ll instantly feel more refreshed. Take a few moments to manifest positive thoughts and gratitude to pull through any difficulties you might be facing because of work.
It’s common knowledge that nurturing relationships are as essential to your well-being as good sleep and diet. While chatting with new people isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, making new connections helps improve one’s self-value and confidence. Socializing with others in the hospital can help you feel less isolated during your stressful situations. To find like-minded individuals outside work, you can volunteer in community centers or join local clubs. Besides, the more you socialize, you’ll eventually be able to hone your communication skills and empathize with people more often. And we all know how valuable both these qualities are for nurses.
Get your rest
Yes, getting enough sleep is still crucial, even if your shift schedule seemingly doesn’t allow it. Not getting adequate sleep can be detrimental in the long term. For instance, one may feel irritated, anxious and may give in to bad food cravings more often.
A lazy, sleep-deprived nurse is also more likely to mess up at work. For a patient, this can be a matter of life and death. Consider sleeping during the day when you have a night shift. If you’re having trouble, you can try earplugs and eye masks for a more comfortable slumber.
Keep on moving
Unfortunately, night shift workers can’t squeeze in a full-blown workout with their depleted energies after a 12-hour shift. However, the goal here is to manage any form of exercise, no matter the duration or time of day.
Challenge yourself to at least 20 minutes of fast-paced activity every day. One of the most effective ways to increase sleep quality and refresh one’s mind is through movement and exercise, so move!
In a nutshell
Sometimes the unrelenting pressure of responsibilities on a nurse’s shoulder can take a toll on their overall well-being. As a counter-attack, this article offered some tips and advice for nurses to stay physically and mentally healthy at their jobs. These comprise getting adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, and socializing.
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