It is ironic that nurses, who promote health in others, struggle to maintain their own sometimes. Nursing is a round-the-clock job with 12-hour long shifts and frequent overtimes.
Being on call means they are required to show up whenever needed. It becomes difficult for them to have a healthy lifestyle with such a demanding schedule.
It is safe to say that the nursing profession has changed drastically. With advanced training programs and a shift in expectations, the needs of nurses have evolved too.
Modern-day nurses do not wish to burn out and maintain a work-life balance to ensure their well-being too. To make this more achievable, let us look at these non-negotiable health tips for the modern nurse.
Create a work-life balance
12-hour long shifts are not uncommon when it comes to nursing. With such long and demanding working hours, it is easy for nurses to pay less attention to anything outside of work. This makes it difficult for them to draw a perfect line between work and personal life. The result of long shift hours is often burnout.
With no time for family or friends, nurses often experience a distance in their relationships. Your loved ones complain that you don’t take out the time for them. Above all, you won’t be able to find mental peace without a solid work-life balance.
Finding that balance becomes even more difficult after enrolling in an advanced nursing degree, like the ones offered at Online DNP FNP programs that teach you advanced clinical and leadership skills that will help you greatly in your nursing career. However, these programs are structured in such a way that you can easily adjust the classes to your working schedule.
For succeeding at striking that balance, make sure you have a calendar where you can mark off your family and work commitments. Do not bring your work home with you, since your time spent at home should be reserved for yourself and your loved ones.
Share your work experiences with your family but do not make it the only dinner table conversation. Make sure you have hobbies outside of work. Paint, read, or write in your free time. Even a long relaxing bath can be helpful for mindfulness and mental health. The work-life balance will improve your overall life satisfaction.
Proper food intake
An emergency case or a high inflow of patients may cause you to forget to even eat. Or even if you remember to do it, you might be able to manage only a few bites in a hurry.
It is widely known that nurses are exposed to many kinds of diseases and bacteria throughout their shifts. If they are low on nutrition, their body might not be able to protect itself against harmful externalities.
A proper food intake will reduce the impact of stressors on the body. No matter how busy you may be, make time to eat before your shift. A loaded breakfast is necessary for boosting your energy levels and increasing your alertness.
However, eating will not bring you the nutrition you need if it is just junk. You might be used to answering your hunger pangs during a shift with a take-out. It is the easiest way out when you have no time or resources to prepare a full meal.
However, doing this every day of the week might adversely affect your health. It is wise to prepare meals before your shifts and pack a snack in a situation like this. Invest in some good quality reusable storage containers and prepare a balanced meal for the entire week.
It seems like too much work, but it will save you the hassle of deciding what to eat every day. Having a ready meal at hand will discourage you from eating unhealthy junk too often.
You might think that running down the hospital hallways during your shift is a workout enough, but it is not. As a nurse, you provide a standard of healthcare, which means you have to be at least a little fit yourself, not only to be able to say that you do practice what you preach but to avoid getting yourself exhausted from staying on your feet all day.
Your schedule might not allow for a 2-hour gym class, but you can manage a quick workout every day before your shifts. Exercises that focus on your stamina can train you to be quick in your shifts.
Some examples may be squats, side planks, climbing, push-ups, and burpees. However, exercises are not meant for physical fitness only. A few like yoga, jogging, and swimming can help you reduce stress and promote mental well-being.
It is difficult to push yourself to physical activity after a long shift. Hence, it is wiser to squeeze in an exercise session before your shift. if you are unable to find the motivation to exercise at home, find a gym that is open when you are free. Look for a physical fitness facility near you that is open 24/7.
Sleep sometimes feels like a luxury to nurses. However, this should not be the case. No matter how busy your day might be, sleeping a few hours here and there could be all you need. Sleep-deprived nurses are not only inattentive and likelier to make mistakes but they are also prone to getting seriously ill.
They are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. There are also adverse effects of sleep deprivation on mental health. High irritability, anger, and lesser ability to cope with stress are some outcomes of lack of sleep. All of this shows how important it is to make time to rest.
If you are working night shifts and have trouble sleeping during the day, invest in thicker curtains to block out the light from outside. This will trick your brain into believing it to be nighttime.
You can try to apply lavender scents and oils to induce sleep. Meditation and yoga are also effective ways to relax your mind before sleeping. Surf the Internet for a plethora of ideas to help you sleep better.
Nursing is one of the most sought-after jobs. It is also one of the most needed jobs in the world given the pandemic we have all been through for the past few years. But the mental and physical effort that this role requires is unmatched by any other occupation. This is why nurses today need to take special measures to ensure their well-being. With newer diseases and illnesses, there is an added pressure on nurses. These tips can be helpful for long-term satisfaction and reduced burnout.
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