There are few careers as rewarding as the field of nursing because of the level of care given to others. Unfortunately, altogether too many nurses fail to give themselves the same kind and amount of care as they give to their patients, families, and friends, which often leaves them drained of energy with compromised immunity. If you are a nurse working in today’s fast-paced world, remember to take the time to work on the state of your own health. Here are 6 tips for nurses seeking to stay healthy while holding down a job where they are focused on the health of others.
It goes without saying that nurses know the importance of getting an ample amount of sleep each and every night. For most adults, that means 6 to 8 hours of sleep, but getting plenty of rest goes beyond sleep. Don’t forget to take breaks as needed throughout the day so that you can simply sit back and relax. Calm your mind and let go of the worries facing you on the floor or in the office. Whether you choose to use deep breathing or short meditations, it helps to clear your mind of all the stresses you will soon be facing once again.
While this is important for anyone in any profession, it is doubly important for nurses. Altogether too often nurses go from a high-stress job to a high-stress life, and that can quickly erode your health. For example, you are working as an RN but taking graduate classes to advance your career with an NP certificate. As a Nurse Practitioner, you will gain a greater amount of autonomy while earning a higher wage as well. Instead of taking classes at the local university, why not study online for that NP certificate from Carson-Newman University? With specially tailored online programs you can reduce the amount of travel time and take your classes at times when it is convenient for you. This goes a very long way toward simplifying your life.
One of the leading causes of illness in today’s fast-paced, hi-tech world is stress. It has been proven that stress leads to more than those stereotypical nervous breakdowns! Stress can be the underlying cause of a huge number of illnesses and diseases including, but not limited to:
As a nurse, you understand the physiology behind how stress can lead to these illnesses and conditions, and often advise your patients on these exact issues. Perhaps it would be wise to remember the time-honored proverb from biblical times, “physician, heal thyself.” No, you are not a physician, but the meaning is clear. Live as you advise others to live!
As mentioned above, obesity is often a stress-related condition. However, it isn’t just the stress itself that leads to obesity. Stress eating, especially of comfort foods, quickly leads to weight gain, and nurses are not immune to obesity. While you might want to eat a piece of that cherry cobbler the hospital cafeteria is famous for, why not eat a handful of cherries or some other naturally sweet fruit instead? Also, don’t forget to take time for lunch because this is how you can ensure you are getting the energy you need through the right foods filled with nutrients. Don’t forget to start your day with breakfast which will kickstart your metabolism, and just like you tell your patients, don’t eat a heavy meal right before bed. Isn’t it funny how we, as nurses, do the very things we advise our patients to avoid?
You might be tempted to consider those long hours on your feet as being plenty of exercise, but you know better, don’t you? Actually, those long hours standing or walking the unit might lead to other issues that can be remedied with exercise. Often standing for long hours can lead to muscle cramps and issues with your feet. Going for a fast-paced walk or joining a yoga class might be effective in working out the kinks while providing you the right kind of exercise. You can join a local gym, take dancercise classes or even go swimming a few times a week. The point is to focus on cardiovascular workouts with limbering stretches to keep that body in shape.
While taking time out of your busy life for entertainment means different things for different people, it’s something every nurse should do. You might want to spend time on your favorite hobby or you might want to get together with a group of friends for a night out at the movies or the mall. As the old proverb goes:
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Nothing leads to dissatisfaction with work and an unhealthy attitude quite like working a stressful job with no time for personal enjoyment. Whether it’s spending the day at the beach with the kids or working in the backyard garden, do take time out for activities you consider fun. Remember that proverb first mentioned in Proverbs in English, Italian, French, and Spanish compiled by James Howell in 1659. Find ways to have a bit of fun and you will be so much healthier for it.
As you can see from all that was said above, staying healthy means taking the time to finally think about you. You will be no good to your patients or yourself if you don’t do what it takes to stay healthy. Being a nurse may consume your every waking moment, but that isn’t good either. Yes, this is just as much a vocation as it is a paycheck, but it’s healthy to let go as much and as often as possible. Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest and exercise and by all means, take time out for you! You’ll be so much happier, healthier and fulfilled if you start taking better care of yourself.