Nurses advise their patients about the benefits of staying healthy. But more often than not, nurses compromise their health for the service of others.
Unhealthy work schedules, overtime, lack of sleep, and work stress impact their health in all the wrong ways. This detrimental effect often becomes long-lasting and demonstrates itself through various diseases if nurses don’t take any remedial measures.
With time, their unhealthy habits lead to reduced job satisfaction, lack of interest in work, absenteeism, and lack of self-esteem— in short, “burnout.”
In the nursing profession, burnout is becoming a matter of concern. It is causing numerous nurses to leave this profession. According to a survey conducted by Incredible Health— a staffing firm— approximately one-third of nurses are planning to quit by the end of 2022. Therefore, measures must be taken to diminish this problem. Nurses can fight burnout and its effects on their job by staying healthy and fit— here is how they can do it.
Have the drive to excel in your profession
You might be thinking about how excelling in your career can help you stay fit and stress-free. You will excel in your career only when you desire to do so and have a curious mind inclined to learn more.
Curiosity has positive effects on your brain. It stimulates your reward centers, and your brain release stress-relieving and mood-lifting hormones that make you happy.
Greater curiosity is linked with improved problem-solving skills and analytic ability. The more you are curious about new things and breakthroughs in your field, the better you will feel about yourself and your career. So have the drive to know more about your field.
If you can’t enroll for full-time degrees, invest time to polish your non-clinical nursing skills through on-the-job and off-the-job training. Non-clinical skills include communication skills, critical thinking, cultural awareness, time management, and like. The more you use these skills, the better you become.
Don’t be afraid of engaging in hobbies
Being a nurse does not restrict you from having hobbies or engaging yourself in things you like to do. Having hobbies and practicing them is a great way to dissolve the feelings of stress. Additionally, engaging in leisure activities makes you feel fresh—therefore, make time for yourself.
Hobbies range from book reading, playing tennis, playing guitar, yoga, listening to songs, doing your makeup, making YouTube videos, and so on.
You work hard to earn the money you get; it is your right to spend that money to pamper yourself. Do whatever you like to do. Some things you can do are:
- Get your mani-pedi and facials done
- Get a massage
- Get a steam bath once in a while
- Do your nails
- Shop for yourself
- Participate in group yoga
- Plan vacations
In short, think of anything that makes you feel special and gives you joy and life satisfaction leading to a healthy lifestyle.
Keep yourself hydrated
Nurses do a lot of walking and running during their shifts. According to studies, during a 12-hours shift, nurses walk approximately five miles. And during a 12-hours night shift, nurses walk at least three miles.
Whether it is a day shift or night duty, you must keep yourself hydrated so your muscles are rejuvenated. Healthier muscles help you stay active, walk, run, and lift objects without feeling excessive fatigue.
The less your drink, the stiffer your muscles will be and the most tired you will feel. So, keep a water bottle with you all the time.
Aside from keeping themselves hydrated, nurses should also engage in a dedicated exercise routine to remain fit and healthy.
Eat healthy snacks
The most challenging thing is to get a break from work, sit down, and have a proper meal. As a result, most nurses resort to eating unhealthy food, such as burgers, pizzas, and other convenient food they can grab and go.
But this type of food does not give you anything except empty calories. You will realize that over-reliance on such food will make you feel less energetic as you will not get the essential nutrients your body requires.
Instead of relying on unhealthy food, bring some healthy snacks with you. Keep fruits you can eat on the go, bring salad if you can, and have some dried nuts, dates, etc. These snacks are easy to eat and nutritious too. So, when the food cravings kick in, let your fingers find these healthier snacks.
Focus on the positive aspects of being a nurse
Nursing is not entirely a bed of roses. You will have to face stress, witness your patients’ pain, death, etc. But simultaneously, you will see people getting cured, relieved of their pain, and feel the joy of new parents holding their baby for the first time.
So as much as this profession is stressful and challenging, this is just one side of the picture. And you cannot keep your focus on this aspect of this profession. If you do, you will feel dejected.
Focus on the positive aspects of your profession. Think about how your profession helps you bring smiles to others’ faces and help them live again. When you think this way, your job satisfaction and sense of fulfillment amplify, and you feel good about yourself. Optimistic thinking positively affects your health and fitness, and you stay away from stress-induced illnesses.
Get proper sleep
Unrealistic work hours, night shifts, and busy work schedules make nurses compromise their sleep. Nevertheless, getting ample sleep is as crucial for nurses as for people in other professions.
A sleep-deprived mind struggles to make quick and sound decisions under pressure situations. Critical thinking and decision-making are essential skills for people working in nursing. Lack of sleep affects these skills by impacting your mood, hormones, memory, etc.
Saying healthy and fit is essential for nurses. If you are not fit and healthy, you cannot properly care for your patients. Additionally, you are more likely to commit mistakes which reduces patient satisfaction. Your inattentive behavior impacts your profession too. The easiest way out of all this mess is to care for yourself by following the tips mentioned above as much as possible.