Caring for those in need is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a nurse. You see patients when they are at their most vulnerable and you often help patients become stronger, healthier, and happier in your care. It's an awesome responsibility, but one that often leads you to neglect your own self care.
Luckily, there are lots of ways you can squeeze in some good habits that can make your life during and after work a little brighter and stress free - without being time or budget busters. The key is to incorporate small but significant changes into your everyday routine so that you may be the healthiest and happiest you.
Run, kick, or jump
Create an exercise plan that fits your schedule, with the type of exercise you prefer, that is near your home or hospital.
- If you love the outdoors, then make sure to get some nature time each day to feed your soul. Of course you would want to check out local trails and hiking clubs, but also find out if there is a walking path near your home or the facility where you work.
- During the work day, there are plenty of small exercises that can add up over time, like taking the stairs or walking on your breaks (see above).
- Not into the gym? Find a local dance, yoga, or kick-boxing studio. Mixing it up makes it more fun!
An apple a day
A healthy diet is a must if you want to maintain a consistent energy level when working in a fast-paced environment like a hospital. However, time is of the essence, so you may be tempted to rely on fast food. Resist! Instead, here are a few tips to keep your body and brain fueled.
- Eat breakfast every morning. Yes, this is one of those "duh" moments, but the real kicker here is to focus on healthier alternatives that won't lead to a mid-morning crash. We found some unique options, compliments of Greatist, that even include a savory oatmeal!
- Make sure to take a multivitamin every day with a meal. This will ensure that you're getting vitamins that you may not be getting from certain food or the sun.
- If you know you'll be on the run much of the day, pack healthy snacks for a quick bite to eat. Grazing throughout the day helps maintain appropriate energy levels.
- Spend part of one day off preppring healthy meals for the week. That way your less likely to just grab something on the fly.
Healthy mind, healthy life
Caring for others in need can be stressful. Find small ways throughout the day to safeguard your own emotional well being.
- It's important to maintain healthy relationships outside of work, so make time for friends and family.
- Maintain and foster all academic, professional, and personal goals.
- Have fun! Try that new Thai restaurant with a friend, go to a sporting event (even if you don't know the teams), explore a farmer's market, or book that cruise you've been dreaming of.
- Get a good night's sleep. More and more research shows the healthy benefits of sleep that include warding off high blood pressure, kidney disease, anxiety, and stroke.
The bottom line is that choosing healthier alternatives doesn't have to mean taking on huge lifestyle changes. Sometimes the most effective and long-term transformation comes from the adage, "Slow and steady wins the race."
Now, go out there and find that new trail or head to the grocery store with your meal prep list!