Self-Care for Nurses Vital for Patient Care
Nurses and nursing students are constantly surrounded by patients with a variety of illnesses. They work long and often late hours and manage large workloads. When nurses dedicate their lives to tending to others’ health, they sometimes forget to take care of their own. Here are some health tips to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Break a Sweat
Working out is highly medicinal, physically and mentally. Nurses are on their feet all day, but a trip to the gym or an at-home workout recharges the body. Consistent exercise can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase brain functioning. Tip: Find a workout buddy and hold each other accountable!
Get Plenty of Sleep
Nurses rarely reach the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. However, sleep improves memory, sharpens attention and lowers stress. When nurses work long or late hours, it is important to preserve attention to detail, memory and gregariousness with patients even in the last minutes of a shift. Also, good, long-term sleep habits reduce risk of depression and inflammation. In turn, reduced inflammation prevents heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day … but somehow we still don’t always eat breakfast! According to Nurse.org, adults who eat breakfast have more energy, higher brain function, and more essential vitamins and minerals. For other meals and snacks throughout the day, meal prepping is a great way to plan exactly what you consume and lowers the chances of eating leftovers from previous shifts – which is likely to include donuts, chips and cookies.
Let Yourself Grieve
When a nurse loses a patient they have worked with for a while, it can feel like losing a friend. Rituals such as bringing the family food or flowers, attending the funeral, drawing strength from spiritual beliefs, exercising, and engaging in relaxation therapies can all help during a grieving period and get you back on your feet, ready to help more patients.
Find a Balance
Having hobbies and passions outside of work is a must. Whether it is scheduling plans with friends and family, reading a good book, planning a vacation, or taking a long bath – anything that calms, excites or takes the mind off work will help create a balanced mindset. By taking part in activities unrelated to work, nurses will be ready to jump into their next shift full of energy!