Nursing can be remarkably exhausting, and if proper self-care is not maintained, it could lead nurses to burnout. Being a nurse is both physically and mentally challenging. Taking care of patients is hard if you are suffering through problems of your own.
There is an urgent need to improve nurses’ health by incorporating physical activities, good nutrition, proper rest, and safety precautions, into the nurses’ lives.
Therefore, nurses have to ensure their own personal self-care if they want to be able to serve their patients for long with good quality care. Nurses have to implement the following self-care tips to rid themselves of stress, burnout, and work-related tension.
Have balanced diet
Nurses need a nourishing diet that can provide strength and immunity against diseases. The diet must be balanced and rich in antioxidants. Nurses should keep themselves hydrated throughout the day. A nutritiously-filling breakfast will provide you with energy throughout the day. Adopting a healthy diet that promotes good health is the prerequisite step toward self-care that nurses have to take.
You may not be able to rest enough while working long shifts, but a good night’s sleep is irreplaceable when it comes to self-care. A good night’s sleep helps you concentrate better at work. So, to ensure that you hit your requisite target hours in sleep even while working long shifts, make sure you take frequent power naps during the day and go to sleep as soon as your shift ends.
Focus on long-term goals
Don’t just focus on getting to the end of your shifts. If you have long-term goals then you can easily escape the rigors of a thankless job by upskilling with a nursing degree. There are accredited online msn programs that can help you gain exposure and experience so that you can apply for more executive and leadership roles in nursing. Why be boxed in into a set career path when you can branch out and pursue your own goals. It’s not worth the mental pain to be stuck in a thankless, dead-end job.
Add movement to your daily routine.
It might seem that nurses would find themselves hard-pressed to make time for exercise, notwithstanding how crucial exercise is to our physical and mental health.
A brisk 15-minute walk or a quick cardio session squeezed into your schedule for three times a week is enough to provide you with mental and physical energy. Your mental health is boosted when you perform physical activities.
Other ways you can incorporate exercise into your routine are:
- Walking to work
- Using stairs instead of elevators or lifts
- Carrying groceries by yourself
Go for regular checkups
Nurses are constantly exposed to germs and infections that can make them sick. To maintain good health, nurses need to get regularly checked by doctors for any symptoms.
It’s always better to do a timely checkup for any asymptomatic issue before it’s too late. Due to their busy schedules, nurses often ignore instances of minor pains and irritations that can become troublesome later.
Mental and Spiritual Health
Mental health should form an important part of the nurses’ self-care routines. Nurses are surrounded by constant trauma and often have to provide emotional support to patients and their families. Such type of work can be emotionally draining and might lead to exhaustion and mental disorders.
It is vital then to cleanse and detox your mind every now and then.
Here are a few steps to ensure better mental health.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness meditation is one of those practices that can help ensure good mental health. Nurses who incorporate mindfulness-based meditation practices into their routines experience less stress and avoid ever feeling burnt out.
It helps them stay calm and positive in the face of a demanding job and long shifts. A morning or evening practice are both effective, and a nurse should choose whichever suits his/her needs.
Meditation creates an environment of self-compassion and leads to feeling satisfaction with oneself. Tension and anxiety can have physical and mental effects on our bodies, and nurses often have to cope with situations that can elevate both. But nurses that practice meditation regularly can withstand more stress than nurses who don’t.
Have Fun and Hobbies
Busy routines and long hospital shifts leave little or no time for fun and fun-filled outings with friends, but nurses have to take time out of their busy schedules to let off some steam.
At least once or twice a week, plan on spending time with friends and family, take up a hobby, like reading or listening to music, enjoy a spa day to relax, or go out on an adventure to rejuvenate your spirit.
Working regularly under stressful conditions can mentally exhaust you. Having a hobby where you can forget about work, or anything that’s causing you mental distress, at least for the duration that you are engaged in it, is the incomparably satisfying for your mental health.
Reach out to talk
If you are a nurse, you are supposed to talk to patients and their families in a calm, reassuring tone. Although keeping your emotions in check all the time can be extremely nerve-racking. Bottling up your emotions inside can only lead to mental health issues down the road. It’s better to talk to a friend or a family member when you are experiencing strong feelings. Keeping a journal where you write about how your day went is another coping strategy that helps you process emotions better.
Have a life outside work
There are countless clubs, hangouts, and gatherings dedicated to specific hobbies. If you are only tied to your job, then it is natural to feel overwhelmed when work gets tough. Meeting people outside of work will help you have a life that you can escape into after work, which will translate into a more balanced life.
Nurses should invest in their self-care more than the other professionals because their jobs can be exhausting, with physical and mental repercussions, that could lead to deterioration in health. As important as self-care is for nurses, few even have the time to maintain a proper sleep cycle. The tips mentioned above can go a long way toward ensuring that the nurses are taking their own due care when it comes to their own health.