If you’re in a nursing school, you know that there are many things to keep track of. You have deadlines to meet, assignments to complete, and exams to take. You need to balance all this with studying for tests and taking care of your own health needs. If you neglect yourself, the buildup of stress can lead to poor health, sleep deprivation, and lack of focus.
Nurses are sincere providers who seek to assist their patients to the best of their abilities. These professionals must take care of themselves physically and psychologically so they can provide quality care to patients.
As a nursing student, you should never neglect your health and consider it a part of your success. Looking after yourself from the chaos of campus life will teach you to keep track of everything and multitask. It’s not easy, but there are some tips and ways that you can incorporate into your routine to ensure you stay healthy during your studies.
1. Chose an Online Program
Studying at a university can be tough. You’re likely to end up exhausted with deadlines, tests, presentations, and projects. You can opt for an online nursing program to cope with the situation and balance other responsibilities and studies.
Online programs are a life-saver for students who want to save time and money on on-campus programs or are practicing in a facility.
Additionally, you can enroll in an online ABSN program if you wish to acquire a nursing degree sooner than the duration of an on-campus program without sacrificing curriculum quality. This online program saves you from the hassle of regular campus visits, allowing you to focus on your studies instead of sacrificing your health.
2. Set aside time for exercise
Whether a student or a professional, it’s important to set aside time for exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to decrease anxiety and stress. Exercising helps you relax, sleep better, focus more clearly, stay healthy, and lose weight.
According to CDC, physically active students had superior grades, attendance, cognitive ability (e.g., memorization), and classroom behavior (e.g., on-task behavior). Higher levels of physical activity and fitness are linked to better cognitive performance (e.g., focus, memory) among students. Therefore, as a nursing student, setting aside time for regular exercise can help improve your focus and chances of getting good grades. Take some time every day, even as little as 10 minutes, and exercise.
3. Drink water throughout the day
Water is essential to health and well-being. Like food, water can be an important part of your diet if you try to stay healthy in nursing school. Drinking water throughout the day will help you feel full, keep your brain functioning at its best and keep you energized the whole day. If you are hydrated, there won’t be any excuses about how tired or hungry you feel when it is time to study. Plus, drinking a lot of water reduces hunger by slowing digestion and limiting your intake of unhealthy snacks. Students should also avoid caffeine since it works as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluids.
4. Prevent and reduce stress
The stress build-up is very likely while pursuing a degree program. Nursing students are no exception and often feel stressed and frustrated during their studies. Your stress level can affect your immune system, causing you to get sick more often and requiring higher doses of medication. It’s also possible that stress may cause anxiety or depression, which will make it harder for you to study and perform well in class.
Stress can also cause insomnia. Research has shown that stress can lead to lost sleep and frequent awakenings, which make it hard to fall asleep at night or stay asleep during the day. Stress is a part of life, and it, in all honesty, cannot be avoided. A healthy lifestyle and certain habits can help you manage it very effectively.
Take a few minutes each day for self-care and try these tips if you’re experiencing stress:
- Take a warm bath as part of your relaxation routine
- Read an uplifting book
- Stream your favorite Netflix show until you feel sleepy
- Write it down in a journal
Having a healthy stress outlet such as taking therapy sessions, talking to a good listener (preferably a friend), and utilizing stress relieving toys (such as stress balls, coloring books for adults, etc.) can mitigate and manage stress.
5. Find a study buddy or join a study group
Study groups are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety as a student and keep yourself mentally healthy. Studying with others can help you stay focused, learn new information, and stay motivated. You’ll also be able to share tips, strategies, and tricks and offer encouragement when needed. A study group can help you grasp a subject better and gain team experience.
6. Healthy eating
Most students tend to have bad eating habits, especially when living in a campus dorm. From depriving themselves of food for hours to relying only on junk and instant food, they mess up their health many times.
Eating healthy at proper hours provides energy throughout the day, which is far superior to filling up on junk at the wrong time of day.
A balanced diet can help you stay focused, stress-free, and active and increases your immunity. And a healthy immune system prevents infections and improves overall health. On the other hand, a diet lacking in essential nutrients can lead to severe mood swings, dull skin and hair, a tired mind, and pale skin and eyes.
Think about not eating healthy and briefing your patients as a nurse to adopt healthy eating. That would be ironic as well as unfair to your own self.
7. Get outside during breaks between classes
Getting outside is one of the best ways to stay healthy and maintain a positive attitude during your nursing degree. It has numerous benefits!
- You can get physical activity, which will help your body function better physically and mentally.
- You can learn about plants, animals, and other aspects of nature that can inspire you later on in life.
- You can prevent frustration and annoyance that can happen with anyone studying continuously without a break.
The best way to get outside is by going on a walk around campus or walking through some nearby woods or fields. There are also plenty of parks near nursing schools where students can go for walks on their lunch breaks.
The importance of staying healthy cannot be overstated. It becomes even more important for nursing students to take care of themselves because they won’t be able to care for patients if they aren’t healthy.
A nursing student may experience stress, depression, weakness, and fatigue. Therefore, incorporating habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating, staying hydrated, managing stress, and taking frequent breaks are all effective ways to maintain good health.
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