Nurses never listen to their own health advice. Nurses spend their shifts caring for people in a stressful work environment full of illness. Staying healthy is about more than wearing gloves and masks. Staying healthy as a nurse requires a lifestyle shift that embraces exercise and better nutrition; two things nurses often struggle to embrace, especially after a long, grueling shift.
Let’s look at some advice specifically for nurses that will help you feel better and balance your life and work in the healthcare field.
Tips for Nurses – Mental Health
While nurses are in the healing profession, many times they do not take the time to heal from the emotional toll that nursing can take on their psyches. Nurses have to deal with sad events during the course of their shifts. Taking the time to grieve the death of a patient you’ve cared for is just as important as the work itself. Sharing the emotion with your friends and family, or even talking quietly with the patient’s family may be helpful.
Taking time to get away from work could be crucially important to your mental health. Even a short vacation in a different venue could help your emotional outlook. The memories you make on a beach or in an exotic venue could sustain you during a difficult nursing shift. Vacations are like the reset button on a computer; they can shift your stressed mental outlook and give you a fresh perspective when you’re back on the job.
Tips for Nurses – Physical Health
If you’re on your feet for a 12-hour nursing shift, the last thing you want to consider is going to the gym. But swimming or yoga is a relaxing way to stretch muscles you don’t use at work. Try taking a good long walk in a park or the woods even for a half hour on your days off. We know it’s going to be challenging if you work the night shift or for extended periods. But it’s exactly what you probably tell your patients; if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Chances are sleep, like exercise, is in short supply in your life. The National Sleep Foundation says that only 10 percent of Americans say they prioritize getting enough sleep over other areas of their life. But the study showed that people getting enough sleep are more effective during the day. Yet 35 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep each night.
Granted, it’s more difficult for nurses; long shifts can take a toll on sleep patterns. But patients depend on them to be sharp on the job, and a lack of sleep could contribute to medical errors. So, for nurses working the night shift, invest in a good set of blackout curtains. When going to sleep, practice turning off the phone and eating only a small amount before going to bed, as well as easing up on the caffeine during your shift.
All of these tips can help nurses improve their health. You have a lot of people depending on you, but without your health, you simply won’t be able to do the job. Talk to MAS Medical Staffing about ways to improve your work life balance. We’re here to help.