Self-Care: The Secret to Every Great Nurse
Being a nurse often means long and exhausting hours at work and a rigid schedule. An others focused career, such as nursing, can be physically and emotionally draining. As a nurse, it’s important that you take care of yourself to ensure you are able to properly take care of your patients.
To help you take care of yourself, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure your healthiness and happiness.
Sleep is key for self-care.
Juggling patients, charts, family members, medications and more requires a certain level of energy. Make sure you are carving out enough time to rest each day to allow your body to recharge between long shifts.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the average adult, ages 26 to 64, should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.1
If you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, there are things you can do to build a better, healthier sleep routine. Try sticking to a sleep schedule, developing a calming bedtime ritual or turning off your electronics an hour before you go to bed.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Okay maybe “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t necessarily true for nurses who work side by side with doctors, but a healthy diet is important for self-care.
Scrubs Magazine points out that processed foods, while convenient, aren’t helping with your self-care efforts. “Fast food may feel like it’s saving you time, but it’s actually costing you years of your life. Put more natural food in your diet.”2
Avoid being tempted by fast food options by packing your meals the night before your shift. You could also pack your meals for the entire week all at once, so you can just grab them from the fridge on your way out the door.
Make sure you’re hitting all the major food groups, especially fruits and vegetables!
Exercise can be beneficial.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.3
But, we understand as a nurse it may be difficult to find time in your day to exercise. Elizabeth from The Nerdy Nurse recommends finding ways to incorporate activity into your workday. “Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further from the entrance. Or if you take public transportation, get off at the stop prior to yours and walk the rest of the way. Walk laps of your workplace on your lunch break.”4
Make time for fun.
Let’s face it – as a nurse you often have high-stress moments. Being constantly tired and stressed can really take a toll on your body. Make sure you make time for fun and relaxation. Whether it’s reading a good book, getting a manicure or going out with friends and colleagues, find a way to incorporate a little fun into your week.
As a nurse, you’re constantly taking care of others, but it’s important that you don’t forget about yourself in the process.
Keith from Digital Doorway reminds us “so, instead of trying to be a hero to others through sacrifice, be a hero to yourself through self-care and wellness. Your patients will benefit, your family will benefit, and your happiness, well-being and quality of life will improve astronomically.5
What do you do to take care of yourself as a nurse? Tell us in the comments below!