Being a nurse is hard work. The profession is highly demanding and requires nurses to work long hours while doing their shifts. This may cause an increase in fatigue and exhaustion and may lead to burnout. Therefore, it can interfere with your work. You may lose concentration, get irritated quickly, and need help to keep up with your workload.
When you get into the habit of investing time in staying active and becoming receptive to your body’s needs, it reflects on your well-being. Hence, if you’re looking for tips on how to look after yourself better, here’s what you need to know.
1. Take out time for yourself.
As a nurse, caring for your health and well-being is essential to providing the best patient care. And the first step in caring for yourself is taking time for self-care, personal pursuits, and hobbies. However, finding time to do that is very difficult with long hours and a demanding workload. And add advanced education to the mix – it almost feels impossible to manage your work, personal life, education, and your health. While pursuing higher education can be challenging, with long hours and a demanding workload, online learning opportunities make it much easier. If you want to pursue your master’s for career advancement, you can enroll in RN to MSN programs online and study at your own pace.
Enrolling in an online program allows you to balance your coursework with your work schedule, giving you more time for self-care and personal pursuits. Pursuing an MSN degree can also lead to career advancement and higher earning potential, making it a worthwhile investment in your future. As a nurse, when you’re able to do justice to your job, it can leave you feeling satisfied and happy about your job, which can be a great source of encouragement and motivation for you.
2. Grab A Meal Before You Work
You should get a quick food fix before your shift starts. Once you’re with patients and assisting doctors, you may need more time to have a meal and snack between checkups. You may also feel hunger pangs and dizziness. So, save yourself from getting sick and try to eat before your shift commences.
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To ensure you have a good meal plan, refer to your schedule; if you’re working early in the morning, you may want a light meal, but if your shift is through the night, you should go for a hearty dinner. Food gives you the necessary nutrition and vitamins to power through the day.
But don’t overeat. Overeating is also detrimental to your health; your body has to work overtime to digest a big meal. If you’re looking for the best way to balance your diet, ensure you eat enough, have a meal before your shift, and preferably from home. If you don’t have time to cook, stick to cafeteria options like fruits, salads, sandwiches, and soups.
3. Drink Enough Water
Being on your feet constantly can dehydrate you. 70% of your body is made up of water, so if you deprive yourself of it, the lack of hydration can take a toll on you. This may result in migraine attacks, dry mouth, and dizziness. You may also feel lightheaded, which can cause you to collapse. This is why you should always have a water bottle and drink anytime you feel thirsty. While it’s recommended that you have eight glasses of water daily, this number varies.
It’s best to listen to your body and drink anytime you feel thirsty. Forcing yourself to stay hydrated can also backfire on you. It would also help if you swapped caffeinated and sugary drinks for water, as it can freshen you up quickly and prevent you from gaining weight by consuming too many sugary beverages.
4. Find an Exercise Routine For Yourself
Exercising can help you tone your muscles, build your stamina, and improve your lung capacity and tolerance. But as a full-time nurse, it can be hard to decide yourself to a regime. So if you cannot go to the gym and work out, try different activities at work. You can walk around hospital grounds, do light aerobics at your station, or use applications like the 7 minutes workout application to squeeze in exercise.
Try to incorporate stretches to increase blood circulation in your muscles. While doing rounds, you can use a stress ball to flex and relax your hands and palms.
5. Get Help for Your Mental Health
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Nursing can be stressful. At a time, you may have too many responsibilities on your shoulder that can make it hard for you to relax. You may feel stressed and too wound up at work, which can severely impact your performance. Certain cases may be too traumatizing for you and can leave a lasting impression on you. Carrying all these doubts, worries, and sadness can start weighing on your mental health.
For this reason, you need to learn to manage your stress better. If you’re carrying far too much mental load, try speaking to a therapist or counselor to give structure to your thoughts and a safe space to discuss your anxieties. You may also look into journaling, meditation, or joining a support group if it helps you cope.
Managing stress is about letting go of everything holding you down by using various coping mechanisms to calm yourself. Your mental well-being will gradually improve when you get into the habit of doing this.
Also Read: Why Choose a Career in Nursing?
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Nursing is one of the most demanding careers in the healthcare sector. Hence, you must start looking after yourself better to ensure you can do your job well.
There are numerous ways to address your needs; this includes being more attentive about your meals and drinking plenty of water. Similarly, caring for yourself also involves working out and dedicating a small portion of your time to your fitness. Finally, remember also to get your mental health looked at. You’ll notice a significant difference in your overall health as soon as you get into the habit of minding these factors.