As a nurse, you spend your life providing the best health care to the public, which requires hard work and overtime. Constantly putting in late hours at work can affect your physical and mental health.
While working hard is important to keep up in the healthcare industry, taking care of yourself first is also important.
Why is Self-care important in Nursing?
Nursing is the largest occupational group in the healthcare industry. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), 60% of all healthcare workers are nurses.
Think about it; if more than half of the healthcare industry is overworked and burnt out, it would drastically affect the quality of healthcare.
To keep up with the challenges of the healthcare profession, you need to find alternative ways to lay off the heat. It does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. A few hours of your day every day can make an enormous difference.
Here are a few Self-care tips to replenish your energy and motivation.
1. Be Open to Learning
Getting stuck in the same loop at work can contribute to demotivation. You start feeling stuck and suffocated when you remain stagnant in your career.
Even if you are a nurse practitioner with a master’s degree, you can still keep learning.
This entails you considering higher education to learn new skills, polish existing ones, and even apply for higher positions offering more perks and higher salaries.
Even if you’ve completed a master’s, applying for post masters nursing certificate programs related to your field of interest would be an added qualification, which could make you a standout candidate when applying for higher roles.
Continuous learning not only keeps you interested and motivated, but it also helps to hone your existing professional skills and develop new skills on the way.
Working all day and interacting with coworkers and patients affects your mental health. It is especially true in highly stressful areas, like working in the ER or ICUs.
You see all types of patients who are suffering from different health issues of varying degrees.
Take a few minutes every day to decompress. It can involve any activity you feel most comfortable in. You can walk down your favorite path or sit on that comfy couch in your room.
Take deep breaths, untangle your emotions, and reconnect with your inner self. Once you figure out your perfect meditation routine, you will start feeling a positive difference in your mental health.
3. Take proper rest
As a nurse, managing your sleep schedule with long shift hours and a challenging work environment can be a tad difficult. Sometimes you have to be on duty for 24 hours straight.
Between managing your personal and professional life, you often forget to prioritize your rest.
Rest is important to keep your physical and mental health in check. Lack of sleep can cause sleep disorders that negatively affect your professional performance.
First and foremost, prioritize your sleep. It can help you gain mental clarity and combat physical exhaustion. Incorporate power naps into your routine on days that you are exceptionally busy. Take short breaks whenever you can during long shifts.
4. Invest in your Hobbies
Any activity that you do purely for the pleasure of it is a hobby. It does not necessarily have to be financial. Hobbies can include anything from solving an intricate puzzle piece to gardening.
Sparing time to indulge in your hobbies is a big step towards self-care. As a nurse, you spend most of your day in a fast-paced environment that can exhaust you physically and emotionally.
During your free time, find an activity that you enjoy. Try that new recipe you have been following, watch that new series, or read that book you have bought but never read.
5. Eat Healthy
“Let food be thy medicine.” We’ve heard this often, and in most cases, it is true. A healthy diet has a profound impact on your overall health.
Start your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast. Incorporate carbs and proteins in your meal alongside some fruits and vegetables.
If you’ve been working as a nurse for a long time, you know that on some particularly challenging days, you do not get enough time to eat until much later in the day.
In such cases, a big breakfast can be a lifesaver and give you enough energy to survive until your next meal.
Snack on fruits. Fruits are your ultimate source to keep you energetic and hydrated.
Speaking of hydrated, make sure your water intake is enough. You must avoid dehydration, as it can cause major setbacks in your health. Drink enough water and increase your intake of juices.
Treat yourself to an occasional pizza or cake as a reward. After all, what is life without giving in to an occasional indulgence?
6. Work out
Planning physical activities that are not related to your job is imperative. As a nurse, you might always walk around your healthcare facility, but how often do you get the stamina to train at the gym? Or practice running for cardio?
Working out does not necessarily mean joining a gym. You can also indulge in physical activities that help you unwind and relax. If you enjoy running, you can specify a time to run at a constant pace for a fixed amount of time.
Remember that sport you loved to play in high school? You can find a partner and practice that every day.
Indulging in physical activities can help you clear your mind and increase your stamina. Just make sure not to overdo it, set realistic goals, and stay consistent in your routine.
7. Talk to Someone
No matter what your work life involves, having someone you can talk to without inhibitions is extremely important.
Whether it is a friend, a relative, or a therapist, find someone you can talk to about your daily life without fear of judgment.
Being a nurse can be challenging, and burnout can make you feel like a pessimist. In such cases, talking to someone always helps.
Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. We have often heard this saying more times than we can count.
It applies to you if you forget to care for yourself while caring for others.
Be consistent in your self-care practices to ensure that you are ever-present to provide the best health care to others
We hope you learned something from this article. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.