Seven self-care tips for nurses to ensure overall well-being

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What nurses do for their patients is not just because of their extensive knowledge of medical science. Due to their caring nature, they feel their patients’ pain. But in the end, it is not uncommon for nurses to feel exhausted and overwhelmed, at times not even getting a chance to sleep for a whole night.

Ignoring health and well-being often becomes second nature for nurses. But like people in other professions, nurses need self-care to ensure their health and well-being and continuously ensure good performance at work.

If you are a nurse trying to care for your health and well-being, this article will help you immensely. Below are tested and proven self-care strategies you can follow to stay healthy and fit.

1. Keep your curiosity alive

Research has shown the positive effects of having a curious mind on mental and physical health. Curiosity breeds positive emotions, life satisfaction, and a higher confidence level. Curiosity also enhances the desire to achieve more, participate, and improve performance at work. It may seem like common sense, but when you are more curious, you tend to play an active role in what you do and perform well.

In nursing, keeping your curiosity alive positively affects patient care too. The more curious you are, the higher your aspirations to know about your field.

Nurses can satisfy their curiosity by engaging in higher learning endeavors. Enrolling in an online higher education program, short courses, training, and certification is the best way to enhance your knowledge and performance at work.

Nurses can now enroll in short programs such as a 1 year DNP program online, bridged nursing programs, etc. This way, they can continue working and improve their leadership and clinical skills.

2. Exercise daily

Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health. Nurses witness the pain and trauma of their patients every day. They often get affected more than they should by the pain and stress of their patients. Therefore, feeling mentally and emotionally tired after a few months of practice at a healthcare facility is possible.

Apart from mental exertion, a nurse’s job is physically demanding too. According to the National Library of Medicine, on average, a nurse walks three miles during a ten-hour shift.

Besides walking, nurses lift objects, help patients walk, give them physical support, and so on. Therefore, body pains and fatigue are unavoidable.

Exercise is the solution to nurses’ mental and physical fatigue. Exercise strengthens muscles and bones, improves posture, immune system, body balance, and mood, and reduces stress.

Dedicating thirty minutes to exercise daily is enough for nurses to stay in shape, fight diseases, and have a positive demeanor.

3. Eat a balanced diet

While nurses dispense their duties in a hospital, it seems challenging to take some time to eat their meals. Therefore, many nurses munch on unhealthy fast food and snacks while running in the corridor.

Grabbing a sandwich and a can of soda may look like the most convenient option, but it is not something that will benefit you in the long run. Fast food is nothing more than empty calories. Therefore, you might frequently feel cramps and pains if you continue to depend on them.

Due to the challenging nature of a nurse’s job, they require precisely the opposite of fast and processed food; they need a healthy and balanced diet. Their diet should be such that it fulfills their nutritional needs by including all the essential ingredients such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, and so on.

Eating a balanced and healthy diet keeps you fit, reduces body pains, promotes mental focus, and helps you perform well at work.

4. Get ample sleep

Nurses overwork themselves due to late shifts and long working hours. Resultantly, they drain their emotional and mental energy, which often causes stress and burnout. Adequate sleep is the solution for many physical and psychological problems nurses face.

Even if getting some sleep seems like a challenge, squeezing in a small break for a quick nap can make a difference, even during the shift.

Sleep is essential for regulating your blood pressure, soothing your mind, relieving stress, and improving focus. Sleep also improves your immune system, making your body more robust in the face of disease attacks.

Sleep helps you process emotional information and enhances your concentration. If your mind is sleep-deprived, you cannot pay attention and focus on your tasks, which results in severe mistakes.

5. Include meditation in your routine

Meditation is an excellent psychological self-care remedy. Meditation helps improves your balance and concentration, improves your outlook on life, and encourages you to focus on positivity.

During meditation, you have to fix your focus on something positive and happy— a memory or a scenery. Maintaining your attention on a single point for some time calms your nerves and makes you feel peaceful.

Meditating for just twenty minutes throughout the day will give you plenty of mental health benefits. You will feel more satisfied with your job and life in general.

6. Practice gratitude

Gratitude means being thankful for what you have got in your life. Gratitude prevents you from complaining about what you don’t have in life. Instead, your focus shifts to what you can enjoy and others can’t.

Practicing gratitude has some profound positive effects on your mental health. You don’t feel anxious about attaining everything others have. Thus, it boosts your relationships with friends and family. Overall, your outlook on life becomes more positive.

7. Practice digital detox

We live in a fast-paced world where compelling and handy technologies are available at our disposal. But overuse of anything is harmful to our well-being. The same goes for smartphones in your hands or laptops on your desktop. When you aren’t working, it’s best to let these devices out of sight and out of mind.

Effective self-care demands a healthy balance in your life, which means nothing should be in excess, including the use of technology. Practice digital detox daily and stop using technology for an hour or two every day. Instead, devote some time to your family or nature. 

Conclusion

Self-care should be an inseparable part of nurses’ lives. If they want to perform well continuously, they must take time to care for their health by following the abovementioned methods. Besides better performance, prioritizing self-care also benefits mental and physical health. Eventually, a refreshed and sound physical and mental state is what you need to give your best and care for patients.