As a nurse, you spend a majority of your time caring for others, but may often need a reminder to prioritize self-care as well. It’s not a matter of knowing that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important; it’s a matter of keeping consistent habits with personal well-being in mind.
Whether you’re looking to sustain your energy each day, get more sleep or carve out time for mindfulness throughout the week, here are five health and wellness tips for nurses you can begin immediately to achieve your personal health goals on and off the job.
Identify Areas of Focus
Before setting health and wellness goals, identify specific areas you would like to address. These may include eating healthier, exercising consistently, getting more/better sleep or creating time for mental refreshers. By setting specific goals, you will feel more easily encouraged to reach your objectives for a healthy and energized lifestyle.
Count Your Steps
Nurses can be on their feet for hours on end, so why not track your activity with a step counter? Consider investing in a step counter device. Remember: every 2,000 steps is approximately one mile in distance covered. You may not realize it, but you could be walking the equivalent of 30 miles or more a week while on the job! Set “step goals” for each day, week and month, and remember to celebrate your achievements.
Staying hydrated during a long shift is hard for a lot of nurses, especially when your busy schedule doesn’t guarantee set bathroom breaks. Still, drinking lots of water is the basis for a healthy body, and it’s even more important when you’re doing physically intensive work. Have a water bottle by your side every day if you can, or try adding in trips to different water fountains at work to increase both your water intake and daily steps. Set your beginning mark at eight glasses of water a day.
Sleep is often the best remedy for a stressful day and will do wonders to help you stay healthy and feel energized. While work schedules may determine how to fit in naps, only you can control your sleep environment at home. Strive to get a consistent number of hours each night and consult sleep resources (phone applications, sleep experts, etc.) to determine the best times for solid chunks of sleep based on factors like your age, diet, exercise plans and work schedule.
Make Time for Mental Breaks
Working in healthcare can be exhausting mentally and emotionally, which is why it’s important to be proactive about avoiding nurse burnout. Reading, yoga and other exercise methods are a few outlets that can act as mental refreshers. Mindfulness activities, ranging from breathing exercises to simply taking moments for reflection or positive visualization, can also help combat the stress of nursing. The goal of these intentional actions is to regroup and reset to a comfortable and calm mental state. PsychCentral has a brief list of 1-minute mindfulness exercises you can try out.
Want to read more stories like this?