While a nurse’s role sees you caring for others on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean that nurses shouldn’t neglect their own health, too. With around 4 million nurses in the US, that’s a high amount of people who need to care for their own health while working diligently in this much-needed profession.
If you’re working tirelessly as a nurse, here are some ways you can make sure that your own health doesn’t go uncared for:
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Tips for Caring for Your Health as a Nurse
1. Take Time Off
Just because you are responsible for the care of patients in need doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty about taking time off. It can be very difficult to take a step away from your job responsibilities when you are a compassionate person who might not want to leave their patients, but you’re entitled to time off in order to relax.
This is for the good of your patients, too, as any nurse who is overworked and exhausted from having no break can be less effective in their job position, through no fault of their own. In order to remain your best and brightest for yourself and your patients, don’t forget that caring for your health as a nurse is important for both your and your patient’s sake.
2. Create a Good Fitness Plan
You’ll undoubtedly spend plenty of time on your feet and moving around as a nurse, which is always a bonus when it comes to physical movement and exercise. However, this shouldn’t be counted as a good fitness routine as you’ll still need a dedicated exercise plan in order to look after your body — and your mind.
It can be a daunting prospect to fit exercise around an already hectic working schedule as a nurse, but do what works for you. You may even want to focus on relaxing exercises like yoga if you’ve had a busy and stressful day.
If you spend plenty of time walking around as a nurse, you may want to focus on other kinds of exercise for your dedicated fitness routines, such as full-body or stretches, in order to get a balanced workout. By doing that, caring for your health as a nurse has become easy.
3. Take Care with Your Studies
Studying can be just as grueling and stressful as job responsibilities, especially if you’re trying to achieve a qualification alongside your working schedule. You don’t want to be putting the focus on good health during your working hours only to lose this healthy routine when it comes to your studies.
Whether you’re studying to become a nurse for the first time or already a nurse and are undertaking further studies, a healthy routine is always key. Make sure that you find a schedule that works for you, and maintain a healthy eating and sleeping pattern to always feel your best.
You may also want to limit the amount of time you’re spending studying by opting for online accelerated BSN programs to get your studies over and done with much quicker, so they don’t affect your schedule for longer than is needed.
4. Try Not to Neglect Healthy Eating
Busy shift patterns may see you easily reaching for instant meals, fast-food, or even eating on the go without having a proper lunch break. Preparing healthy meals may be at the bottom of your priority list when you’re so busy with your working role as a nurse.
Preparation and planning are going to be key for sticking to good nutrition. You may want to set one day aside every week to plan out a week’s worth of healthy meals. Anything you can prepare in bulk ahead of time will be a big help so that you can grab and go for the healthy lunches you have prepared or have food waiting for you to cook when you arrive home after a long shift quickly.
Be sure to plan out a balanced diet that includes everything you need to stay energized at work, such as a healthy mix of fruit and vegetables.
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5. Focus on Self-Care
Nurses give so much back to other people, and this can take its toll on your emotions and mental health. Becoming run down and exhausted emotionally as well as physically can be easily done when you’re working in healthcare, so bringing a more mindful focus onto your own wellbeing is key.
Try to make time for a hobby you enjoy and that you can feel positive about, as well as making time in your routine for simple pleasures and relaxation.
Make sure you’re caring for your health as a nurse with the same outlook that you would provide for all of your patients.