Long and tiring shifts, stress, work-life imbalance, and missing out on meals are some major daily problems nurses face. Nurses are often on their feet for much longer than a doctor and ensure that the patients get high-quality healthcare. This often leads to them overlooking their health and wellness.
As a nurse, you must ensure that you dedicate the same effort and care for the well-being that you commit to your patient’s health and well-being.
If you aren’t physically, mentally, and emotionally in your best state, there is less to no chance that you can provide the best care to your patients. Healthcare is incredibly demanding, and staying in good health is the only way to cope with its challenges.
Here are six smart tips for nurses to maintain their health and wellness and ensure a safe experience for their patients:
1. Learn Stress Management Techniques
It is natural for nurses to undergo stress due to the demanding nature of their work. Nursing can lead to anxiety, depression, and work-related stress, among other mental health problems, if they aren’t addressed well within time.
Many nurses also pursue a degree, like an MSN, to expand their role in healthcare. This can lead to added stress for them, and commuting to and from the educational institution and jumping into work as soon as they enter the hospital or clinic is bound to impact their health adversely.
Some universities offer online MSN programs so nurses can easily balance their education with their work commitments. For more information, visit https://degree.astate.edu/programs/msn-fnp.aspx.
Ensure you learn and utilize stress management techniques, such as deep breathing or yoga, to help cope with stress and maintain overall well-being.
We also encourage you to take a few breaks during your shift. Please don’t wait for all of it to be too much. Take five minutes out, sit in the locker room, or even step outside the medical facility for fresh air.
You need to monitor your mental health and avoid all triggers that might cause burnout. Moreover, you should seek professional help if needed.
2. Adopt A Physical Exertion Routine
Exercise is essential for preserving physical and mental health. Ensure that you find time in your schedule to integrate regular physical exertion, whether a couple of hours at the gym or a relaxing walk outdoors.
It is the best thing you can do for yourself and your well-being. When you indulge your body in healthy physical exertion, you will increase your energy reserves and have better mental health.
Doing so also helps you build up stamina and deal with the challenges of being a nurse. Physical exertion releases the secretion of the anti-stress hormone, i.e., cortisol.
3. Get Ample Sleep
Do not take your sleep for granted. A healthy sleep cycle is one of the critical determinants of good health. As a nurse, it is often hard to have uninterrupted eight-hour naps. However, it would help if you prioritized doing so whenever you find the time.
Nurses need to get enough sleep to function at their best. Don’t waste time on your phone or doing unnecessary things when you are off-duty. You need to ensure that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every day, especially between stressful shifts, to feel energized and rejuvenated.
Lack of sleep will eventually lead to mental and physical health issues.
4. Eat A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is crucial for everyone. However, it is slightly more important for a healthcare provider who is on their feet the entire day. It might sound annoying when everyone says that a healthy diet solves all your life problems, but it cannot be more accurate.
Eating a balanced diet rich in healthy fats, carbohydrates, fibers, fruits and vegetables, healthy sugars, and proteins provides you with the necessary nutrients and minerals for delivering the best healthcare services to your patients. It also ensures that you don’t encounter any health problems or deficiencies.
Many nurses experience chronic inflammation because of their daunting schedules. It leads to fatigue, stress, depression, and even body aches. Hence, eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory agents can reduce swelling. As a nurse, eating berries, green vegetables, nuts, and fish must be included in your daily diet to reduce inflammation.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is a brilliant way to start when it comes to maintaining and ensuring your overall wellness. Nurses often lose track of time when working long hours. They don’t only miss their meals but sometimes even forget to drink water. It is easy for them to become dehydrated due to the dynamic nature of their work.
However, it is essential that you at least follow the 8×8 rule, according to which you must drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces each every day. According to the Institute of Medicine, it is recommended that females drink 9 cups of water while males drink 13 cups daily for better hydration.
It isn’t easy sticking to this amount of water intake, but nurses should pay extra attention to this as they have physically intensive work requirements. If they aren’t sufficiently hydrated, they won’t be able to provide good healthcare services.
6. Build Healthy Relationships
Your relationships with others can significantly impact your overall health and well-being. Nurses, in particular, should strive to maintain positive relationships with their colleagues and make an effort to spend time with people who bring them joy and productivity rather than investing in toxic relationships.
It is also essential for nurses to have strong connections with their family and friends outside of work to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Spend your weekends with your family and unwind after a busy work week.
By following these smart tips, nurses can prioritize their health and wellness and be better equipped to provide their patients with the best healthcare services possible.
It is important to remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish – it is vital to preserving your well-being so you can ensure others’ well-being. So, take some time for yourself and prioritize your health and wellness.