Nurse work in a challenging profession. Often their day goes by taking care of their patients and administering them medications—without taking time out for themselves.
Their dedication to work and selfless service towards their patients help them achieve peace of mind and find meaning in their work. But no one can deny that irregular work routines, long work hours, physical exertion, and emotional fatigue take a toll on their mental and physical health. Therefore, regardless of countless excuses, nurses find not to take care of their health; it must be their priority to care for themselves in any way possible.
They don’t need to make drastic changes in their life; even small steps taken with dedication can make a lot of difference.
Here is what nurses can do to ensure they live a healthy life.
- Make some time to do things you like
Doing what you like has a positive impact on your life. These activities can be of any kind. You might be someone who wants to spend some time reading your favorite book with a cup of coffee. Or you might like to enjoy de-stressing by listening to your favorite music, relaxing in the hot tub with some sea salts and body washes.
Some people also engage in more productive and education-oriented activities that help them with their careers. They often try to eliminate the monotony in their job.
Studies state that work-related monotony can impact your mental health, causing stress and burnout. Therefore, nurses must undertake activities that keep their interests alive.
One such activity is enrolling in higher education programs. Engaging in higher education programs keeps your curiosity alive. For convenience, you can enroll in online masters of science in nursing programs if you fulfill the admission requirement. Or you may enroll in a BSN program depending on your current education.
These programs prepare you for higher and more meaningful roles in the hospital. Seeing yourself progressing in your career can positively impact your health and well-being.
- Stay away from processed food
For nurses consuming processed food is very convenient as it is readily available, and you can munch them on the go too. However, processed food has unhealthy sugar, salt, and fat levels.
These ingredients make the food taste good, but their continuous consumption can lead to issues like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Even consuming them in higher quantities does not fulfill the nutritional needs of the nurses. Therefore, they feel exhaustion, cramps, and lack of energy in their body. It is recommended to stay away from processed food if you want to live a healthy life.
- Take home-made lunch with you
One of the ways to reduce the consumption of processed foods is to take your home-cooked lunch with you. You can pack your lunch to have most elements of a balanced diet. Make sure you have healthy portions of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat.
If planning your lunch box daily is a hassle, make a weekly meal plan. You can do the grocery over the weekend and buy everything to prepare your daily lunch.
Additionally, you can keep some healthy snacks like dried nuts and raisins with you at the workplace. Make sure to eat a fistful of nuts every day.
Planning your lunch this way gives you more control over what you eat.
- Exercise daily
Exercise is an essential aspect of keeping yourself healthy. Nurses’ job involves extensive physical activity.
A large part of their day consists of walking between the rooms and hospital floors. Hence, nurses need strong bodies and muscles to get through their day.
Exercise increases blood circulation, strengthens your muscles, and prepares you for the physically demanding work in the hospital.
A thirty-minutes physical activity is enough to keep you rejuvenated and move your muscles at right angles. It also improves your mood, reduces tension, and makes you feel good about yourself.
People who regularly exercise have positive perceptions about themselves and their abilities.
There can be many ways to add physical activity to your life. You can jog in the morning, spend some time in the gym or walk in the evening after your shift ends.
- Have ample sleep
Sleep deprivation not only impacts your performance at work but also impinges on your health. Lack of sleep is often the cause of occupational fatigue in nurses. Consistent sleep deprivation leads to obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, etc.
Other issues include depression, low concentration, attention span, mood swings, and low interest in work. Therefore, nurses must have seven to eight hours of sleep daily. It is still beneficial for nurses, even if it means sneaking up a few hours of sleep during your shifts.
Sleep deprivation makes nurses commit costly errors. On the contrary, taking sufficient rest daily makes you good at your work. It enhances your attention to detail and the ability to make critical decisions.
- Spend time in the with your friends
Spending time with your friends and family and laughing together positively impacts your mental health. It improves your emotional intelligence and optimizes your stress response.
Research suggests that laughing with your friends releases endorphin, the body’s natural feel-good hormone. It improves your mood and promotes a sense of well-being.
Laughing also alters serotonin and dopamine activity in the body. These hormones are natural stress busters. They play an important role in appetite, sleep regulation, depression, and mood.
Simply put, it is better to spend quality time with the people you like and feel close to, as it will help you relieve your work stress resulting in improved health and fitness.
Nurses need to stay healthy if they want to care for their patients. Neglecting your health can harm your body and your patient’s safety. Hence, plan your meals, eat healthy, keep your body physically active and do things that make you happy.
Hope you enjoyed the article and got a gist of reasons how as a nurse, you can improve your health and fitness.