While nurses work with patients to promote optimal health, most of them end up ignoring their own health and wellbeing. As a nurse, you need to take care of your health for two key reasons. One, the nursing job can be taxing, and thus you need to be healthy and fit to carry out your roles effectively.
Health Tips for Nurses
When you are healthy, you will serve your patients better. Two, as a nurse, patients, and other people look up to you as their role model. You can’t be pointing them in the right direction when you are going left. This article highlights some of the tips for the health and overall wellbeing of the nursing staff.
Eat Before Your Shift
Eating before your shift begins has two key advantages. One, you will get the energy you need to attend to clients. Working on an empty stomach means that you will have less energy and this can result in dizziness. It can also affect your concentration and productivity.
Two, when you eat before your shift, you reduce your chances of eating unhealthy snacks during the day or night. When hunger strikes in the middle of the shift, it’s easy to grab a high calorie zero nutrient snack to get some quick relief. Hunger also does increase your sugar cravings. Thus, to avoid that, ensure you feed well before your shift begins.
Keep Your Hands Clean
They probably told you this in school, and you tell your patients this every day, but do you do your best to keep your hands clean? When you fail to keep your hands clean, you are not only risking your health, but also the health of the patients and your co-workers. Thanks to advances in technology, hospitals can now invest in tracking devices that monitor hand washing in hospitals. If your hospital hasn’t invested in handwashing tracking devices, maybe you can make that suggestion to your supervisors.
Spend Time Outside
At least once a day, spend some time outside and get a dose of some sunshine. Instead of sitting in the office looking at your phone during your breaks, walk outside, stare at the green plants and get some fresh air. This is good both for your physical and mental health.
Bring Meals and Snacks from Home
Unless your employer offers you some healthy meals and snacks, consider bringing some from home. Buy groceries and prepare a healthy and balanced meal to bring to work every day. In addition to being healthy, preparing meals at home could help you in saving some extra cash every month.
Exercise is good for your bones, your heart health, and your brain among others. Exercise can help in easing stress and improving your mood. Thus, find an exercise plan that works for you and stick to it. You could work out at the gym, hire a personal trainer, buy some home workout equipment, join a dance class or even work out from home with the help of YouTube videos and other resources.
Just find what will work for you and a time that is most convenient. Also, note that you don’t have to work out every day. This Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans publication by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences recommends 2 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise spread throughout the week, or 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
Take a Vacation
Every once in a while, take a trip to relax and discover new things and places. Travel on some of your off days and during vacation time. You can do simple getaways on your off days and trips to other states or countries during your vacation time. Travel is good for both your physical and mental well-being. It can be a good way to alleviate stress and return to work more productive. Take special care to avoid some pitfalls associated with traveling to ensure you come back rested and restored.
Work on Your Goals
If you are unhappy at work, it could be because you have not achieved your goals. This can lead to job dissatisfaction, decreased productivity, and stress. Therefore, for the sake of your mental health, ensure you work on your professional goals. As you work your job, you could sign up for some online classes such as online BSN, work towards a promotion, work on your soft skills and move to a different work environment. The good thing about nursing is that you can work in so many environments and there are numerous opportunities for career advancement.
Be Mindful of Your Work/Life Balance
This is something else you should work on for optimal wellbeing. In addition to travel and exercise, find more time for other leisure activities and also get enough time to spend with your family and friends. Have time for all personal interests that are not work-related. Having a plan on how you spend your time after work and on your off days is essential when it comes to maintaining a good work-life balance.
Drink Enough Water
Most nurses never take enough water, not because they aren’t aware of the benefits, but simply because they forget to do so. Unlike other professionals, most nurses aren’t allowed to bring water bottles along with them while attending to patients. The result is inadequate water intake which can result in dehydration and other issues.
If the hospital doesn’t allow you to carry a water bottle around, it’s most likely for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of the patients. But this shouldn’t be an excuse not to drink enough water every day. You can take frequent breaks to get a glass of water during your shift. If you are the forgetful type, consider setting an alarm to remind you about water breaks. You could also make use of the water drinking apps.
Get Enough Sleep
Another way to stay healthy is to ensure you get the recommended amount of sleep – seven to nine hours – every day. Set aside the specific time you will be going to bed during both your day and night shifts. Keeping your bedroom clean, tidy and technology free can also help when it comes to getting quality sleep. Consider the benefits of getting a more comfortable, healthier mattress as well.
Some sleep experts recommend adopting some relaxation techniques such as breathing, meditation and use of essential oils for your bedtime. If you are having a hard time falling asleep, you could probably be stressed out or having a sleep disorder. Seek help from an expert as this can affect your productivity at work, relationships with other people, and your overall wellbeing in life. When you are working night shifts, avoid making plans to go places or meet people when you should be resting.
Establish good relationships with people in the nursing industry and other fields. Through networking you will have a support system, you will learn more, you will have a platform outside work where you can share more about your career and you get to hear other people’s stories. You could also get job opportunities through your network. Therefore, go to networking events and find opportunities to network online. Those relationships and interactions can be good for your mental health and career growth.
Use the Stairs
Unless you are rushing for an emergency, consider using the stairs more often instead of the elevator. This is great exercise for your body especially on days when you don’t get to work out after work. You can also consider walking to work on some days if you live close to your workplace.
Get a Massage
Your legs stand for long hours and your body can get fatigued for working long shifts. Treating yourself with a massage once in a while can promote relaxation, reduce muscle tension, promote better sleep, offer relief for pain, depression and anxiety, improve blood circulation and improve heart health.
Considering the benefits, the price you pay per session is totally worth it. And you don’t have to go to the spa every week; you can have monthly sessions. Find the best massage therapist in your area and they will advise you on the best frequency based on your needs.
Have Regular Check-ups
No matter how busy you are, don’t skip your check-ups. Also, make sure you have a check-up whenever you don’t feel okay. Don’t conclude that you are just tired, especially if the symptoms last for a long time.
Read Health Blogs and Watch Videos
In addition to what you learn from the hospital, you can get more health knowledge by subscribing to reputable health blogs and YouTube videos. Stay up-to-date with the current research and study findings that can be helpful in improving your health.
Take Advantage of Employee Wellness Programs
Employee wellness programs are created for your benefit and therefore you should use them to your advantage. Make sure you utilize them well to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Also, before you pay for a gym subscription or a counseling session, check if the employee wellness program in your organization caters to such things.
Staying healthy can be tough, even for the people in the health industry. However, it is something you can easily achieve with a solid plan and commitment. When you make an effort to stay healthy, you will enjoy your job and life more.